The other night when we were going out to one of my favorite restaurants in town, we all agreed, although the food and service is superb, we should have friends coming over for dinner more often.
Now you are probably thinking, “Oh no, I cannot manage that as I am working all day”, or “I am a bad cook and on top my home does not look impressive and all in order and I’d rather not invite friends over as I think my home is something rather personal.” I could go on and on but actually there are even more reasons to invite friends to your home.
IRMA made a list of points and tips for hosting a great dinner at home with your friends.
Make a guest list and mix and match the people you think make an evening interesting and bold. People with different ambitions should be seated together, always put an active talker next to a shy person. Place people apart who always meet up, otherwise they will stay amongst themselves, and make sure that you move around all the time so you can have an entertaining time even with a large number of guests.
Make it easy for yourself and prepare a buffet-style of dinner in your kitchen where everyone can help themselves. This is especially helpful when you do not have service around. But make sure that people move on to the dining area, otherwise everyone will stay around the buffet in the kitchen which people tend to do as a kitchen is most of the time a cozy place.
Place plenty of fresh flowers everywhere in your house, also at the buffet table and in your guest bathroom, the more the better. Use scented candles in areas that are free of food as they will interfere with the flavor of the food.
Freshly cut tree branches in decorative Murano glass vases also make a great impression on dining tables, especially during the summer when you do not have a large enough terrace to entertain your friends outside.
A lovely table setting makes a great first impression. As soon as the guests enter, you will have a wow effect. Use different plates and glasses if you do not have enough from one set but find something that binds everything together, maybe a similar color, a type of flower or your placemats or table linen.
You, the host, should be dressed cool and comfortable. Do not overdress in your own house, but don’t underdress either, so you look like you didn’t know that friends were coming. Wear comfortable shoes, because you might have to run around and wear something you feel truly glamorous without any effort, like for example a cool printed blouse, a pair of dashing earrings or a cool skirt combined with a simple t-shirt.
You should have music all the time. Use Soundcloud or Spotify and choose the playlists of your favorite DJ, so you do not have to take care of this yourself.
Sometimes it’s nice when you have live music, like a guitar player or someone looking very French playing the accordion. If you are lucky one of your friends has musical ambitions and plays for you until all guests have arrived. Music sets the mood for the evening and gives every house a personal vibe, whether it’s jazz, classic or house music. Choose one style or mix all the time.
There should be a house bar where people can just help themselves, so you do not have to worry too much. Just make sure that there is enough ice and drinks are always ice-cold.
Seating should be either for everyone or make it a stand-up dinner party kind of situation. Otherwise you form the party into two groups – the comfy ones who lounge in their seats and the active talkers who are socially around from one guest to the other.
Your dinner party should have a natural flow which is easy when you are relaxed and joyful. The order is drinks, food & drinks, drinks, more drinks and if you are all in the mood for it drinks and dance.