You can see it now--a handful of your closest friends seated around the table, engaged in lively conversation over a well put together dinner, complete with candles and wine. That vision is really one of the reasons you moved into this place to begin with. But there's a couple of problems with making this vision a reality. You lack cooking skills, have a simple home with little for guests to do, and don't even know where to begin to effectively pull off an organized gathering.
Don't let these perceptions of what a dinner party should look like stop you! A successful dinner party focuses on four simple components: the food, the conversation, the music, and the ambiance. Read on to learn more about what to do (or not do) to set the tone for an unforgettable dinner party.
The number one rule with food at a dinner party is: keep it simple. No one is coming over to watch you stand over a stove, so make sure everything on your menu can be made the day before or quickly the day of.
There are kitchen gadgets that will take out most of the work. To name a few worthwhile to invest in: food bowl choppers, cheese slicera, and a classic glass drink dispenser.
If you literally have zero cooking skills, premium store bought items is perfectly fine. The point is to make it easy on yourself so you can interact with your guests.
The Conversation and Entertainment
If you've invited the right people, conversation should flow naturally. But for those awkward lulls, be prepared with a few fun conversation starter questions to get people engaging. Remember to avoid any topics that are personal or that may lead to controversy. Philosophical is totally okay, especially if you're a pretty tight knit group where everybody knows everybody.
A home doesn't need to have a lot to do in order to entertain guests. Most people come for the conversation, not to play pool or shuffle board. Setting out a few board games or deck of cards may entice a few guests, but the conversation should be the center of the entertainment.
Music is a must throughout dinner. Mix it up by having one playlist when guests are arriving, one for cocktails and appetizers, one for dinner, and a more upbeat one for socializing afterwards. Music apps have made it easy by creating a variety of dinner music, including some fun options like yacht rock.
Turn off any fluorescent lights and use lamps, candles, or overhead fixtures with dimmers to create a warm glow over the room. Soft lights will make people feel calm and more comfortable while fluorescent lighting is harsh on eyes and may make people feel like they're on the spot. Stray far, far away from strobe lights.
Ensure there is adequate standing room, but also an area with enough seating for everyone to gather and be included in one conversation. It can feel awkward to be standing on the edge of a group. Enough seats on comfy couches and chairs for after dinner coffee and dessert in an inclusive circle is ideal. Especially if there's good lighting.
So there you go! You don't need a fancy home or expert culinary skills to pull off a successful dinner party. Everything will naturally come together with the right people, cozy atmosphere, and delightful tunes.