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Love to entertain? Here's how to throw your next crowd-pleasing dinner party

Whether you’re the host or a guest, these tips will make your next dinner party a success

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By House & Garden South Africa | August 25, 2023 | Diy

It’s safe to say that 2023 is the year of the dinner party with more folk hosting curated and casual gatherings at home. If you scroll through Instagram, you are bound to see an inspirational post or two from someone’s kitchen table surrounded by guests and food.

But a lot more goes into hosting a dinner party than meets the eye. If you are hosting a dinner party, consider what kind of mood you want to set by virtue of your menu, music, and guests. Even if hosting doesn’t come naturally to you, there are ways to ensure your dinner party runs smooth and is fun for all!

These are a few things we’ve learned from hosting and attending some really great dinner parties.

The perfect playlist sets the mood

Music is a major factor in setting the current mood of your dinner party, and the tone of what the night turn into it. Spotify has a great selection of different themed dinner party playlists like “Feel Good Dinner” or “Dinner with Friends”.

What really makes a party is when the place feels like home. If you’re curating your own playlist, select music that is upbeat, but not distracting. If you’re going for something jazzy, playing music by Brazillian Jazz duo João Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto will bring a sophisticated and smooth mood to the table. It’s an added bonus if you have a record player.

Selecting the perfect music for the soundtrack to the evening can create a memorable atmosphere. Image via pexels.

Let candles set the mood

Lighting plays an important role at the dinner party. A bright lighting set up can feel a bit clinical, whereas a softer candle-light creates a more intimate atmosphere. A dinner party is also a great time to pull out your favourite candelabras or you can use alternative candlestick holders like wine bottles or hard fruit.

Yes the food on the table also sets the mood, especially when snacks are offered on arrival. But, the atmosphere can exist independently of the dinner served to your guests. So, what mood do you want for your next dinner party?

Ask guests to bring their own drinks

Outsourcing the beverages takes a lot stress off the host to try and accommodate for everyone. The trick is to keep the party smooth and not play the role of a bar-tender all night.

If you are a guest to a dinner party, bring a bottle of wine. But, the last thing you want is your wine to be brushed off to the side and sits with the hosts wine collection. To avoid this, ask the host for a wine bottle opener as you arrive. Open your bottle of wine and leave it on the table for other guests to enjoy as well.

Ask guests to bring a bottle of wine, sparkling water, or anything they want to sip. Image via Pexels

Add an end time to the invitation

If you send an arrival time for your dinner party, guests are more likely to show up on time, and not one hour late. But, adding an end time suggests a loose timeline for the evening. Plus, early dinner parties are the best! You get to both enjoy an evening with your favourite guests and everyone gets a good night’s rest. However, the end time doesn’t have to be the official close to the evening.

You can have all of the fun and get a wonderful night’s sleep by having an end time in mind. Image via pexels