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How to Host a Stylish Dinner Party

Updated on September 11, 2013

When holding a dinner party, any host wants the night to be special and memorable. A dinner party can be anything you want it to be - formal or fashionable, structured, or relaxed, a meeting of old friends or an introduction to new ones. Here are my tips to ensure every dinner party is a stylish success that runs smoothly.

Food is Everything

The first thing that will come to mind is of course the food! This is the key component to any dinner party, as it is the whole reason you and your guests are coming together.

The food should suit the atmosphere. If you are going for a relaxed party, choose dishes that can be brought to the table in pretty serving plates so your guests can help themselves.

Think curries, stews, and pasta dishes. Served with the appropriate style of bread and grain on the side, these make for a lovely meal with close friends. Dessert should follow the same style, with cakes and pies being a good choice for an informal gathering.

For a more formal affair, a three-course menu is suitable. Starters should be things like soup or salads, with a hearty main of meat and vegetables. For dessert, go for the classics - tiramisu, individual chocolate puddings or if you are adventurous, soufflé!


Be sure to choose suitable wine pairings for your food. For instance, white wine goes well with fish, chicken, or pasta dishes while red wine is more suited to heavier, red meat dishes. Remember to keep a delicious non-alcoholic drink on hand for anyone who will not be partaking in alcohol. This is a thoughtful gesture shows your guests you care.


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Guest Seating

Now to the guests - whom should you invite? The people at your party should be able to mesh. Try to avoid making anyone feel like an outsider by, for example, holding a dinner for work colleagues, and inviting only one friend from outside of your place of employment.

If you want to hold a general mixer for your various friends, make that clear when you invite them so that they know to expect an evening of introductions. If this is the case then you need to make a strategic seating plan.

Consider your friends' hobbies and try to sit them next to like-minded people that they might get along with. As for family dinner parties, they are easier to plan as you know exactly who to invite and who they prefer to sit next to.

Easy Conversation

Conversation should flow well at a dinner party. If you have thought through your seating arrangements then this won't be a problem but as a general rule, avoid awkward topics such as politics, in-depth talk of personal relationships or employment unless you know all of your guests very well.

Stick to lighter subjects if everyone is just getting to know each other, and keep the political debates for when the table has been cleared and the party has moved to the living room.

The key to a successful and stylish dinner party is to ensure that all your guests feel comfortable and happy in your home. Good food, friendly conversation, timeless furniture and a great mix of people will all help to achieve this.

Create Atmosphere

Your guests should be eager to return to your home repeatedly if you hold a truly stylish dinner party. The best way to achieve this is to have a home that is warm and welcoming, yet impressively well decorated.

Dining room furniture should be sleek and timeless. A dated look can be avoided by going for modern pieces like glass dining tables and chairs. A glass dining table is edgy but classic, and can really add that wow factor to a dining room.

They are lighter than old-fashioned wooden furniture and give a room an airy feel of space. Lit with simple tea-light candles, a glass dining table turns into a beautiful setting with a soft and shimmering surface.


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