When it comes to home cooking, there are still a lot of guys who can’t prepare much that doesn’t come out of a box or can. If you are one of these guys, hosting a dinner party may seem like your idea of a personal nightmare. However, there comes a time in every man’s life when a cooler of cheap beer and some burnt hotdogs from the grill just isn’t enough.
How To Host an Epic Dinner Party
Hosting a killer party takes some work, but it is a task you can totally accomplish. Breaking it down into a series of manageable steps can help.
1. Be a Man With a Plan
Even world-class chefs don’t try to whip up a party on the fly. They carefully plan everything from start to finish to ensure their guests have a great time. A good place to start is to make a list of questions:
- Where will the party be?
- When will the party take place?
- What’s the occasion?
- Who are you going to invite?
- What is the theme?
The answers to these questions will help guide your choices for the rest of the dinner party planning process. When choosing a date, keep your guests’ schedules in mind. Friday or Saturday nights are popular choices because most people don’t have to get up and go to work the next day.
2. Create Your Dinner Party Guest List
If you’re used to just throwing a post on your social media page to invite everyone you know or telling your friends to spread the word, that may not be the best tactic for this gathering. Part of a successful party is making sure you have the right mix of people. Try inviting both people who know each other and people you think would enjoy meeting. It’s fun to hang with your same old friend group, but there is more opportunity for interesting conversation if your guests have a chance to meet someone new.
It’s also important to keep in mind how many people you can reasonably accommodate in your space and how much food you are going to make. Your party isn’t likely to be a success if your guests can’t find a place to sit down or you run out of appetizers before everyone arrives.
3. Design the Menu
It’s a dinner party, so of course, the food is one of the most important aspects. The occasion, the theme and your guest list should guide your choices. If your gathering is for a birthday, anniversary, celebration or holiday, include some typical foods and drinks for the occasion. For example, if you’re celebrating a birthday, you probably want to include a birthday cake.
If you’re partying for the sake of partying, then your theme will be your primary guide. For example, if you are doing a sports-themed party, you might include a selection of your favorite tailgating foods. Include some appetizers for your guests to nibble on while they wait for the main event. A cocktail that fits the theme of your gathering is a nice touch, but be sure to have something the non-drinkers can enjoy too. A thoughtful host should also take into account any food allergies or dietary restrictions the guests have.
4. Don’t Try To Cook To Order
Even fine dining restaurants don’t try to make everything while their guests are sitting at the table waiting. Start cooking and prepping well before your dinner party is scheduled to start. You can roast meats, chop vegetables and make dishes, such as soups, that reheat well ahead of time. Prep the ingredients for anything you plan to cook on the day of the event the night before so that you can get straight to cooking.
5. Set the Scene
Picking your dirty underwear up off the floor, while certainly a good start, isn’t sufficient when it comes to getting your place ready to entertain. Do some decorating. Choose decor that matches your theme. Consider adding some mood lighting, such as candles or strings of twinkly lights. Create a playlist that includes a variety of music so that there’s something everyone can enjoy, but keep the volume at a level where people don’t have to shout over the music to have a conversation.
6. Put on a Happy Face
Even if hosting doesn’t come to you naturally, you can take some steps to get yourself psyched up for the event. Pick out an outfit that is appropriate for the type of dinner party you are hosting. You want to look nice, but also be comfortable. Don’t show up your guests by dressing to the nines for a casual event, but also don’t look like a slob who can’t be bothered by wearing a ratty t-shirt to an upscale party.
Keep in mind that being a good host is about making sure your guests are comfortable and having fun, not about being the center of attention or putting on a show. Pay attention to your guests’ needs. Make sure drinks are topped off. If someone is looking confused, pop by to see if they need directions to the bathroom or the place where they are supposed to put their coat. Keep an eye out for anyone who seems like they aren’t having a good time. Don’t be pushy, but see if there’s something you can do to make the night more fun for them. If you are serving alcoholic beverages, be aware of anyone who might need to be cut off or have a cab called.
Check Out the Rugged Standard for More Great Tips
You probably aren’t going to go from hosting novice to the host with the most in one dinner party. However, the more gatherings you host, the better you will get at it. Don’t sweat whatever didn’t go right. Put it in your pocket of experience and use it to make your next attempt truly epic. Be sure to stop by The Rugged Standard for more advice on how to be an all-around awesome dude.