Hosting people is an essential aspect of an elegant lifestyle. It is a great way to build relationships and can make you more personable. I don’t think it matters that it’s your first-time hosting, just remember to keep things elegant, simple and classy.
Your overall responsibility as a host is to bring people together and make sure that you are making your guests feel welcome in your home. It is a very intimate thing to invite people into your home. It is best to decide early on if you can handle hosting others in the privacy of your own home. If this makes you uneasy, then I would consider renting a space. Whether it is at one of your favorite restaurants with a private dining room, or in a nice hotel where you can rent a ballroom.
The only downfall is there might be limitations as to how you can prepare the room. Always inquire ahead of time about any restrictions as to what you can do with the rented space or how many people you are allowed to have in said space.
Guest list & Invites:
Before sending invitations, review your guest list multiple times. Do not invite anybody and everybody. Consider how many people you can comfortably entertain to prepare drinks and food. You don’t want to be overwhelmed. Make sure you provide all the necessary information on your invitations like date, time, place, contact information and when they need to RSVP by.
Don’t forget to add the RSVP return slip with an envelope already labeled with the return address. I always keep a stock of labels with my address ready to go, it looks neat and clean that way.
Make sure you are considerate of your guests and provide them with enough time to respond.
When hosting others, it is a nice touch to add a dietary restriction card that can be sent back with the RSVP card, so guests can inform you of any food allergies which will help you and your guest avoid any detrimental reactions at the dinner table.
Food & Drink
Besides making sure there is a great deal of conversation flowing, food and drink is an absolute essential aspect of hosting. Therefore, make sure there is plenty of it. Ideally, you would limit the number of mixed drinks that you serve. It is easier on you as the hostess to keep a few wine selections and it never hurts to keep champagne and/or prosecco. I only suggest this because you’ll be busy hosting and it’s not your job to play bartender all night. If you insist on having mixed drinks, keep the ingredients simple and limit it to one or two options.
If you are hosting a large number of people, I would suggest hiring a bartending service to provide drinks. When selecting wine, make sure that your selection pairs well with what is being served.
In terms of food, you need to decide early on what your menu is going to look like. When serving hors-d’oeuvres, consider a bite size portion. As for dinner, consider hiring a chef or putting in an order with a caterer. Don’t forget to discuss food allergies with your chef or caterer beforehand.
Ambiance & Décor
Ambiance can make all the difference when hosting a party. Fresh flowers, scent, music, and lovely tableware are great essentials to keep in mind.
If you don’t know how to make your own arrangements, go to your local florist and order flower arrangements. Make sure that your floral arrangements are made according to the scale of your table. If you are going to be dining at a smaller table, then make sure they aren’t towering over your guest. If your dinner table is larger make sure they aren’t too small. You want the arrangements to have substance.
For tableware make sure you provide your guests with the proper flatware necessary to enjoy their meal. Consider finding nice table linens, glassware, and plates with a design element that dresses up the table.
In terms of scent, it may be nice to have a subtle room fragrance. I personally enjoy Jo Malone! Favorite scents include Lime Basil & Mandarin, and English Pear & Freesia.
Music is something that should be playing in the background as soon as your guests start to arrive. If you are hosting a formal dinner, play classical music to provide a relaxed environment. Make sure that you are mindful of the volume, too. If you are having a casual get together, play music that you think your guests will enjoy, I don’t think it hurts to go with the TOP 40.
If you’re having a formal dinner, I think it is an excellent option to provide menus and place them at each table. Another item to have made up is place setting cards. Place setting cards will help with making sure that you don’t have conflicting personalities sitting next to each other. Once again, the staple of a great dinner party is fantastic conversation. Think about seating your guest next to someone who they have something in common with.
By no means do you have to send your guest home with a gift. However, I think it is a nice gesture. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. A small box of chocolates is just fine. I personally enjoy L.A. Burdick chocolates.
Have you hosted a dinner party before? What are some special touches that you like to add to make the party special?