Tis the season of celebration and champagne! Festive season is in full swing, and with the holiday break commencing and Christmas only a few days a way, it’s time to pop a bottle of our finest champagne and start planning for the many soirees (and feasts) we’ll be enjoying.
Hosting a dinner party can be overwhelming, especially around this time. If you are a little stressed out, you needn’t be, I’m here to help.
Sit back with your bubbles and take a moment to read through my tips on how to create a stylish dinner party.
Yours will be the one to remember, believe me.
1. Theme It
Working out your theme is the first, and probably most important, step for organising your dinner party. It will be the base for everything – your decorations, food, drink, flowers, music, dress code, the list goes on.
The theme doesn’t have to be anything too crazy or specific, such as a James Bond theme for example (well it can be if that’s the kind of party you would like). It can simply be as open ended as a buzz word or phrase like, smart glamour, rustic, elegant or casual. Just something to give you the grounding to help you visualise and plan your party.
Once you have the theme sorted, create a Pinterest board and start collating inspiration images. Pin everything, from food and drink recipes and presentations, flower displays, table settings and dining room decor.
2. Nibble the Nibbles
Yes, nibbles can be dangerous, but my gosh they are delicious!
Nibble boards are fantastic for guests to graze on while they sip on their arrival drinks, and while they wait for you to serve the main event. If you’re planning on having a long-haul dinner party (one which goes on for quite the number of hours), nibble boards will also ensure your guests won’t go hungry as the night goes on.
There is the worry guests may end up filling up on the nibbles before you serve up the courses, but just give them a kind warning not to go too OTT as there will be plenty of scrumptious things to come (easier said than done!).
I like to create a grazing platter with an array of cheeses (normally a blue, a soft/creamy cheese and a cheddar), crackers, nuts, berries, homemade dips, olives, antipasti and dark chocolate.
3. Tipple Variety
Having a variety of drinks is a sure-fire way to make your guests happy, but a variety can also mean you may veer off from your original theme, which is why you have to plan.
Think about the courses you’ll be serving and pair the tipples accordingly. For example, will red or white wine suit your meals better? Or, could you perhaps do a certain white for one course and a certain red for the next?
For cocktails, I would only choose one or two different types. One could be served as a pre-dinner drink (Negroni is my choice), and the other could be for dessert (I like espresso martinis). A sweet port is also a fantastic option for a dessert wine, especially around the festive period.
Now for the one tipple you must have at every dinner party you host, fine French champagne. No one will ever say no to a good champagne, simply because they’re too delicious to say no to. The bottles always look so gorgeous too, so as soon as your guests spot them, you know they’ll be impressed. Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé is my choice of champagne for dinner parties, no matter the theme. I believe you can drink it whenever you fancy, pre-dinner, at-dinner and after-dinner. Life’s too short not to enjoy good champagne, non?!
4. Ambiance and Atmosphere
Creating a good ambiance is extremely important at your dinner party. They say it’s all about the vibe, and it’s true.
You can serve the most delicious food, but if your guests don’t feel comfortable, they’re not going to have a fun time. By having great lighting (I’d say dimmed lighting) and good music (depends on your theme, but lounge or smooth jazz are always calming), creating an enjoyable atmosphere is easy.
Lighting candles and creating beautiful flower displays are also great ideas. They not only make your space look pretty and feel relaxing, they’ll make it smell amazing too.
5. Personalise the Old-Fashioned Way
Personalisation is a fantastic way to give your dinner party that extra bit of pizzazz.
Think vintage and send guests actual invitations to your dinner party. Don’t just create an event on Facebook or send them a text message. Get your creative hat on and make invitations yourself, either on the computer (websites such as Canva or Paperless Post can help), or by hand (or just purchase invites at the shops). The extra bit of effort will be a lovely surprise for your guests and they’ll be even more excited to attend your upcoming soiree.
The personalisation doesn’t stop there. Work out where each of your guests will sit before they arrive to minimise any seating arrangement confusion/drama come dinner time. Obviously ensure each guest will get on with one another when creating your seating plan, and pop name cards at each place so everyone will know where to go.
If you would like to blow your guests out of the water, why not place little gifts next to their name cards. Something like a small box of fine chocolates, or how about a mini bottle of Laurent-Perrier? The gift will not only surprise them, it will be a great ice breaker too, especially if your guests don’t know each other all that well.
6. Best Dressed
You’ve put in all this effort to create the most magical evening for you guests, but don’t forget to make yourself look magical too. As the host, you obviously need to be the best dressed. Your mission is to find an outfit which is both fabulously statement-making and super comfortable. Good luck!
What are your tips for hosting stylish dinner parties? Xx
Shop dinner party must-haves:
This article was originally published on Laurent-Perrier’s #LPFestiveTree