10 Secrets That Every Good Dinner Host Should Know
Here at Kitchn, we believe in the dinner party with all our hearts. Whether it’s a small impromptu gathering that you barely have time to clean up for or a more lavish celebration that requires nameplates and more than two forks at a place setting, we’ve got you covered. Remember: A happy, relaxed host means happy, relaxed guests! Let us show you how it’s done.
The “tell-tale signs” in this post are also good guidelines for hosting a great party. Sure, a tablecloth might be optional, but beautiful flowers, a decent bar, and delicious appetizers are sure signs that you’re taking care of your guests.
Is email an OK way to invite your guests to your party these days? What about if you’d like them to remove their shoes or not post pictures on social media? Party etiquette is always a fraught situation, but this post will help you navigate its more choppy waters with grace and aplomb.
Do you get into a mad dither before a party, rushing around trying to make everything (and everybody) absolutely perfect? Give yourself (and your spouse) a break and focus on the things that really matter. This post will help you sort through what’s most pressing so you can be calm and totally available for the most important thing: your guests.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that all dinner parties are fancy, multi-course events. Lauren’s experience with living and hosting parties in the south of France as a recent college graduate taught her how to create parties that are low-key but still warm and generous. Learn from her!
Having children changes everything, including how you define the term “dinner party.” Anna recommends super-casual suppers that can be thrown together in a few hours with simplified menus and even more simplified expectations. And to remember the core purpose of dinner parties: connecting with friends over the table.
The worst reason for never having people over is our mistaken notion that everything has to be perfect first. It’s not easy to give up perfectionism, but this post will help encourage and support the budding host to drop the myth that your life needs to be white-glove clean and all the food made from scratch. So go on and have a crappy dinner party! You and your guests will be glad that you did.
The charm and grace of a Southern host is legendary, so it’s no wonder that we look to them for dinner party wisdom. This collection of 10 commandments from the editors of Garden & Gun magazine will help you achieve that Southern charm, no matter where you live, And remember: Thou shalt make a lasting first impression with iconic Southern finger foods.
“I don’t have any room to throw a party” is a common excuse, especially from those of us who live in large, expensive cities or are just starting out in the world. Ariel has both the experience (from throwing a lot of parties in her 500-square-foot apartment) and the smarts to figure out how to make it work.
While this post is geared towards the holidays, its wisdom really applies to any dinner party or gathering at any time of the year. Bottom line: The earlier you can get some of the cleaning and maintenance tasks out of the way, the better.
Knowing how to end your party is just as important as getting it started and keeping it going. Anne has some clever strategies for encouraging people to leave, from the subtle to the blunt. Best to have these in your back pocket for those lingering, clueless guests who are having just too good of a time.