Hosting people is an essential aspect of the jet set lifestyle. It is a great way to build relationships and can make you more personable. In my opinion I don’t think it matters if it’s your first-time hosting, it never fails to keep things elegant, simple and most of all classy.
Your overall responsibility as a host is to bring people together and make sure that you are making your guest 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 in which you can rent out 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, drinks will be flowing, food of some sort should be served and you have to be able to make your rounds and engage in conversation. You don’t want to be overwhelmed. Make sure you provide all the necessary information on your invitations, date, time, place, contact information, also what time 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 guest 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 guest can inform you of any food allergies (this 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 to hosting others. 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 your job is hosting, you are not to play bartender for the 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 variety, and consider hiring a bartending service to provide drinks. When selecting wine make sure that your selection pairs well with what is being served. Once again you want to be considerate of your guest and make them feel welcome. Therefore, if you are not incredibly close with all your guest, it is best to provide non-alcoholic options.
With regards to food, you need to decide early on what your menu is going to look like. When serving hors-d’oeuvres consider keeping them bite size, don’t make your guest fight with their food. As for dinner if you don’t like to cook, consider hiring a chef, or putting in an order with a caterer. Don’t forget to discuss food allergies with your chef or caterer.
Ambiance & Décor
Ambiance can make all the difference when hosting a dinner party, you want everything to look visually pleasing. Fresh flowers, scent, music, and lovely tableware are great essentials to keep in mind.
If you don’t know how or care to make your own arrangements, go to your local florist and order 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 guest with the proper flatware necessary to enjoy their meal. Consider finding nice table linens, glassware, and plates with a design element which will help dress up the table.
With regards to scent, it may be nice to have, but you don’t want to offend your guest. I personally enjoy Jo Malone, the company makes candles, reed diffusers and room sprays. Favorite scents include Lime Basil & Mandarin, and English Pear & Freesia.
Music is something that should be playing in the background as soon as your guest 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, not to low and definitely not too loud. If you are having a casual get together (girls night), play music that you think your guest will enjoy, I don’t think it hurts to go with TOP 40.
If you’re going to have a formal dining experience, I think it is an excellent option to provide menus and place them at each table setting. Another item to have made up is place setting cards. Place setting cards will help with regards to making sure that you don’t have potentially conflicting personalities sitting next to each other. Once again, the greatest staple of a great dinner party is the art of conversation. Think about seating your guest next to others who can enjoy each other’s company.
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 would do 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? Share in the comment section below.