15 December

How to host a great dinner party

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Summer is the perfect time for a laid-back dinner party, and there are few things more enjoyable than hanging out with your friends over good food and drink. The best part of the warmer weather is that you can eat under the stars in the warm evening air. Here are some tips on how to host the perfect summer dinner party.

Pick a date

Summer time means holiday time, and while people aren’t as busy running around as they usually are, getting a group of people together between their holiday activities can still be a challenge. Check a date far in advance so people can put it in their diaries, then send out reminders closer to the time. Bare in mind that things do come up, and some guests might cancel – don’t ask for explanations.

Choose your friends

We often have different groups of friends, and you might be tempted to invite everybody so they can meet one another and hang out. But you want everyone to be as comfortable as possible, so try not to invite too many new faces.

Fussy eaters

When sending out invites, ask your guests for their dietary preferences so you can plan your menu around it, especially if it’s due to allergies, cultural or moral reasons.

Compile a playlist

Music is an essential ingredient of any party, as it plays a big part in setting the right mood. People have different tastes in music, even within a group of friends, and while it’s your party and you can play what you want to, try to stick to something that you think will appeal to everyone.

Simple starters

Starters are great for keeping hunger pangs at bay while your guests mingle before the main meal is served. The emphasis of the evening is on the main meal, so keep these simple and not too fancy. This will not only keep the emphasis on the main meal, but also save you a lot of hassle.

Cook what you know

The one important food rule when hosting a dinner party is to cook something simple and delicious that you know and love. This will ensure that the meal is tasty and that you’re not frantically running around in the kitchen. After all, a dinner party is about hanging out with friends, not slaving away in the kitchen.

Decadent dessert

Always serve dessert, but as with the starters, keep it simple, and ideally something you can prepare beforehand that your guests can dish up themselves. This will save you a lot of effort and stress.

Prep like a cooking show

When you watch cooking shows, they always have everything prepared and ready to cook, as this cuts the cooking time down considerably. In fact, preparing food for cooking most often takes longer than actually cooking the meal. Do what these TV cooks do and prepare the ingredients in the right amounts beforehand – cut herbs and vegetables, marinate meat. Everything that will be served cold can be prepared the night before. This will save you a lot of time and stress, and enable you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time hanging out.

Clean up your act

As tempting as it is to avoid the mountain of dishes and just fall into bed after all the guests have gone, cleaning up straight away will make you a whole lot less grumpy when you wake up in the morning. Better yet, try to clean up as the evening goes on without making too much of a fuss. This will make cleaning quicker and easier, so you can hit the pillow sooner.

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*images courtesy Pinterest

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