Nothing comes more quickly to mind when the holidays come around than gathering with friends, sharing a few laughs, and sharing a drink or two or over fantastic creations from the kitchen, but who needs a holiday to have a dinner party? This new two week series will focus on how you can host a simple, yet luxurious affair for all of your invited guests. With help from House Beautiful’s November 2010 issue, I’ve gathered together the best tips for an evening that will be full of laughter, ease and success.
The Perfect Number
A memorable dinner party is one that allows your guests to be relaxed and involved in engaging conversation, and a bit of surprise topic or event isn’t a bad idea either. Since you will all be sitting down for dinner, try to keep your numbers between 6 to 10 guests. By remaining within this range, you are allowing for the conversation you seek to occur naturally without leaving anyone out of the conversation.
A Prepared Bar
Be sure to have your bar prepared whether you are sticking to one alcoholic drink and one specialty non-alcoholic drink, or are giving your guests an array of choices. Make sure that the moment they walk in the door you can supply them with something to hold in their hand while the appetizers are still in the oven. Just having something in their hand provides them with something to do, as well as helps them to relax a bit if they wish.
A Music List
No matter what song list you play or what CDs you pull out, make sure they set the tone you had envisioned for your party. Sometimes the background music should be just that – in the background, but sometimes it serves as a wonderful conversation starter. I tend to gravitate toward classic crooners – Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and little classic jazz with Miles Davis, but during the holidays, Bette Midler’s Cool Yule would most likely be my cd of choice. Be sure to keep the volume in check, and eliminate your stress by making sure you don’t have to keep checking your player whichever you may be using.
A few days before, or possibly a week or more, depending on whether or not you are sending out invitations, sit down and plan out exactly what you would like to serve (more on that next week), how much prep time you will need to ensure that you aren’t rushed, but instead able to relax and enjoy the evening, and also what beauty maintenance you’d like to attend to in order to make sure you look fantastic. After all, you are the host. Nothing will ease your mind more than knowing everything has been tending to.
Take A Few Sips
The house is ready, the music is whispering throughout the house, the food is either prepared or almost ready to be served, you look fabulous . . . one more thing must be done to help you relax – sit down and enjoy a half a glass of wine thirty minutes before your guests are expected to arrive. Not only will this help you relax, but it will serve as a quick reward and moment for reflection on a job well done. I recently began this ritual about two years ago, and I can’t tell you how it helps me to let the little details that may have been missed roll off my back with ease and savor the beautiful evening I have arranged. Do yourself a favor and give it a try.
While now you should be well on your way to coming up with the type of party you want to create, click here to read the second part in the series for more tips on what food to serve and most importantly, what to do to make sure the party goes off without a hitch.
Have a lovely Wednesday!