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Food & Wine: How to Throw an Outstanding Dinner Party

by Jasmine Anderson

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Though it is certainly lots of fun, throwing a great dinner party is not an easy task. It may seem like a simple case of bringing food and wine together, but it isn't so. It involves a lot of preparations and planning ahead. 

That said, if you would like to throw an unforgettable dinner party with great food & wine that your friends and family won’t soon forget, these tips may just be for you!



Planning ahead


planning a dinner party


In my opinion, this step is the most important. Once you decide to throw a dinner party, it’s time to jot down everything that you have to prepare in advance.

This includes (but not limited to) choosing the food you will serve –  appetizers, main courses, desserts, the wine to compliment the food, and even the theme for your party (if any).

You also want to make sure that you are actually present and able to enjoy the party along with your guests instead of being ‘stuck’ in your kitchen away from your gues when the day comes. After all, you are the person everyone came to see so planning ahead would definitely help you ensure that you’ll have a good time.


Choosing the menu


dinner party spread


When you are choosing the menu for your dinner party you should pay attention to several things:

  • How many people you’re planning to entertain.
  • Where will the dinner take place?
  • Will it be formal or informal dinner?
  • Also, you should always ask your guests upfront if they have certain allergies or food intolerance as well as their food preferences. That way, you reduce last minute ‘surprises’.

Also, you would definitely avoid added stress if you keep these in mind: 

  • Opt to prepare for dishes you are already familiar with. This means it’s best to whip up recipes you know by heart as well as those that you can get ingredients for fairly easily. 
  • Do your shopping several days prior to the party – not the day prior or the day of the party. 
  • Prepare any dishes that can be made in advance the day before – such as the dessert.
  • Leave the day of the dinner party for last minute preparations only.
  • When it comes to bread, choose to get or make them the day of the dinner. Fresh bread will help bring out the best of every dish you serve with it.


Choosing the wine

full bottles of wine


Wine is one of those crucial ingredients that can make a dinner party exceptional. Wine can uplift every dish you made, but also, a bad choice of wine may potentially spoil the whole (food) menu.

There are lots of useful tips out there in selecting the right wine for each meal. So if you’re not exactly a wine connoisseur, no need to fret. Do your research and maybe even ask for recommendations from your favorite wine store or cellar.

Alternatively, there are also many companies that sell wine online such as  Aussie Wine Export that offers insights as to what wine would best go with what dish. This certainly will take the guessing work out of it.


Selecting decoration & creating a great ambiance


If you are throwing a formal dinner party your decoration should be appropriate for the occasion. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to keep the decoration simple but sophisticated.

Candles are always the best choice for lightning if you’d like to set a more romantic and warm ambiance. You can use ones without scent or you can use scented ones. If you opt for scented ones, make sure the fragrant complements the scent your dishes. 

Whether you are throwing a formal or an informal dinner, it’s always a nice occasion to use your best dishware and silverware out. There’s no reason for it to be reserved just for formal parties.

Do set your table the night before so you will have time to make some last minute changes if necessary.

Your choice of music is very important too. Make playlist several days upfront and play it during the party as an excellent background for conversation while enjoying the delicious food & wine.


Welcoming your guests


dinner party guests welcome drinks


Before you seat your guests at the table, you can offer them champagne or a signature cocktail as a welcome drink. Nothing says “welcome” better than to enjoy a great tasting drink over a light conversation that will help your guests to be in a good mood. 

You can serve two or three different finger foods or appetizers along with the drinks, but keep it simple and light. You don't want your guests to stuff themselves silly on appetizers before dinner is served. 


Final Thoughts


Though it’s true that throwing a dinner party can be stressful and tiring – it doesn’t have to be. If you plan ahead and prepare as much as you can in advance, it will help you to ensure a smooth sailing event. Plus, you will get to catch up with your guests and thoroughly enjoy the party instead of being occupied in the kitchen.

So, why not give the tips I shared above a try? I hope that it will help to make your dinner party one to remember!


Want to ‘wow’ your friends and family with your culinary skills at your next dinner party? Why not sign yourself up for a professional culinary course? They’re sure to be impressed!

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