Tips for Hosting a Dinner Party – Party Rockin’ Series

Hosting a dinner party is an excellent way to facilitate relationships in a more intimate setting. These tips will help ensure your next dinner party is a success!

I’ve decided to make this series a Monday/Wednesday deal over the next few weeks and today I want to talk about hosting a dinner party. This is something that Jesse and I have been doing since the days of our little townhouse.

Our small table limits us to only having one couple over at a time, but once we upgrade we’d love to have larger groups of people over for dinner. Dinner parties are great because they are more intimate gatherings that usually facilitate a lot of good conversation and bonding. If you have friends that you’d like to spend more quality time with, invite them over for dinner! Maybe even make it a tradition that you involve your friends in, we celebrate Passover every year and usually invite a few friends to join us.

Make sure you give people advanced notice before a dinner party. We usually send out an invite text about a week in advance. Planning also comes into play when you first decide to invite people over. We do all of our grocery shopping on Sunday afternoons, so we have a list of ingredients when we head to the store. You also need to know of any allergies your guests may have, so make sure you ask! 

Something we love to do when we invite people over for dinner is to show off a bit. I’ve shown you Jesse’s souffles and pork pot stickers, which are dinner party favorites. He’s also been known to make lamb and chicken lettuce wraps to show off a bit, but make sure you try recipes before testing them out on your friends, no one wants to be your guinea pig. 😉 

Then of course there is the question of how much food to make! A good rule we follow is enough for everyone to have 2 full servings. Some people will get less on their second round and others will get more, it’s good to not have leftovers BUT you dont want people leaving hungry! And if dessert is your showpiece then cook something that you know wont fill people to the point they can’t eat it 😉

While Jesse is in the kitchen cooking, I’m usually busy tidying the house and doing any last minute staging. In the warmer seasons I love to stake out the discount flowers section of Kroger the day before a dinner party. They make gorgeous centerpieces and it’s always a nice touch to have fresh flowers in the bathroom or around the house. In the colder seasons my staging go to is definitely candles! Nothing can beat the warmth of firelight burning around the house and the smells filling the house swoon most of our friends.

We don’t usually leave the table during a dinner party, everyone gets caught up talking and hanging out, but if we do the living room set up needs to be conducive to conversation. This isn’t just furniture but also decorating pieces that can inspire conversation. I like to switch out my photos or coffee table books seasonally, so they can help keep conversation flowing. I’ll definitely be adding the Young House Love book to the mix soon!

I mentioned this on Monday, but it’s worth reiterating, LET PEOPLE BRING SOMETHING! Since we’re paying for the food we usually ask our guests to bring a bottle of wine. I usually try to let people know what we’re making so they know what kind of wine to bring. For meat heavy dishes, like lamb, or Italian dishes suggest a bottle of red. For lighter dishes, white usually goes best. Or just tell them to bring wine, you know you’ll drink it regardless 😉

And last but not least, have fun! The point of hosting a dinner party is not just to show off, or impress people, it’s to have fun and strengthen relationships!

When was the last time you had a dinner party? Do you have any tips to add? How about favorite “showoff” recipes?

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  1. We don’t usually have dinner parties (just parties, haha) but those are great tips. Asking people to bring something is good for both the guest and the host, since the host doesn’t have to think about wine/dessert (not to mention the money saved) and I always feel bad when I arrive empty handed as a guest!

  2. I love dinner parties. We have atleast one a month and love trying out new recipes. As we have them so often we definitely tell people to bring some wine, but to be honest I would feel so rude turning up without.

    We quite often play a board game after dinner, articulate is my favourite but there are quite a few fun ones that get energetic after a few glasses of wine 🙂


    1. I’d love to do that too! I also can’t wait to host holidays! That may seem weird but I’ve always wanted to fill my house with family and food haha. I think I’m a stress-glutton!

  3. Sorry to hear about Jonny. 16 is so young to have to deal with so much tragedy. May a miracle occur.

    Thanks for your tips on hosting a dinner party. You are one lucky lady to have such a talented culinary husband. I am sure your parties are fantastic.

  4. It has been a LONG time since we’ve had a dinner party. Now that I think about it, I want to plan one!
    I love fresh flowers; it’s such a nice touch!

  5. We haven’t hosted a real dinner party like this since we moved to our new place. I have one of those tendencies to want everything to look perfect before we have people over…but I know I can’t wait around forever before having family over! This post makes me want to host ASAP!

    1. I kind of felt the same way at first, but that will take WAY too long! Just go with the flow, plus I love re-giving my house tour when people come over because things are always changing. 🙂

  6. I love, love, love having people over! I’m really bad about letting people bring something though… I tend to over plan everything!

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