You’ve decided to throw a dinner party. Now what? Here are some dinner party ideas and tips to get you started:
Begin by plotting out your guest list. What group of people will complement one another best? Think about profession, personality, outside interests – if your group catches on like a house on fire, a great time will be had no matter what.
Next, think about your menu. Are you having a formal sit down dinner? A casual buffet? The more you can plan out what you’re doing and have all of the pieces set up in advance, the more relaxed you’ll be and able to enjoy your party. I’m a big fan of getting my parties catered. There’s nothing worse than a disastrous main course and a sweaty, red-faced hostess. You’ll be running around enough as it is making sure your guests have what they need. My sister on the other hand, cringes when I say this. She loves cooking and all things epicurean and makes the preparation of her food part of the dinner party. Whatever you choose, make sure that when the doorbell rings, you’re calm, prepared, and ready to party.
Okay, now it’s time to send out the invitations. Mixbook can help with that. Our clearly designed cards make it easy to include important information like date, time, place and occasion. Extra details like when to RSVP or that your affair is a wig party and everyone needs to have on her best, fake hair are also incorporated. No matter when or what your dinner party looks like, Mixbook’s plethora of invitations can be customized to reflect your evening.
Whatever you design, be sure to give your guests plenty of advance notice. Anywhere from one month to three (during the busy holiday times) is customary.
From the minute your guests walk in the door, show them how hosting a party is done. Take their coats, fill their glasses and make interesting connections that only you might know. “Bob, did you know that Candy is an Elvis impersonator?” “Candy, Bob is the director of the hit documentary Elvis Lives.” Guests will love talking about their shared interests. To help your dinner party be a smashing success, circulate between friends and help keep the conversation flowing.
It’s your job to lead the way as well, so when it’s time to transition to dessert in the library or charades in the basement, be clear. Magnanimous is also a must for any good host. John spilled red wine on your white sofa? Dab some salt and tell him you can sort it out after the party. Becky brought an unexpected date? Grab an extra chair and make it work. No matter what your guests throw at you, never lose your cool.
It’s always fun to have a little something that your guests don’t expect. A game, a dinner table topic or maybe an accessory they didn’t know they’d be wearing – you know your guests best so plan something you think might tickle their funny bones. Some interesting dinner party ideas include:
• When your guests walk in, give them a hat with a card on the front that says an alter ego like Marilyn Monroe or Batman. Guests ask one another for hints to their identity, but can’t remove their hats until they guess who they are.
• The Phrase Game. Guests receive a phrase that they must use within 5 minutes of arriving to the party and no less than 10 times before they leave. The stranger the phase the better.
• “I’m taking a class on how to clap and it’s a game changer.” • “Yesterday was my twin’s birthday.” • “Ants in your pants?” • “The police don’t know it was me.” • “Do you like the fungus beetle as much as I do?”
• A provocative dinner question is also a great way to get the conversation going. Have an assortment of questions written in advance. (What’s the best day you ever had? Who’s your nemesis? Who did you never kiss, but wish you did?) Choose one and then go around the table and have everyone answer. You can do as many or as few of these as you like.
Thank you is not just the magic word for kids. Remember to say thank you to each of your guests as they leave. Let them know how much you appreciate that they came to your dinner party. If someone brings a gift, a thank you note afterward would not be remiss. Mixbook has plenty for you to choose from no matter what you’re giving thanks for or to whom you’re giving the thanks. Like these:
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