|be the perfect host/ess||.||
dinner is served tips
for fab dinner party hosting
by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2
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3 On the table. Set the table ahead of time. What you actually set should, of course, factor in what you’re serving for your meal. For instance, f you’re planning on individually plating your food rather than bringing out a shared dish to divvy up or let folks dig into at the table, there is no need to set out the plates. You will, however, want to have tablecloth in place (assuming you’re using one), cutlery properly laid out, and glassware provided (for both water and, if you’re serving it, wine). If you’re using a flower centerpiece, make sure it’s low enough that people will be able to see over it well enough to converse. You can also pop on some candles for added ambience.
Meanwhile, pretty up the napkins. If at all possible, invest in some attractive cloth napkins. They’re so much nicer than paper ones, and better for the environment too. Fold them neatly into a rectangle, or if you’re so inclined, roll them up and secure with napkin rings or a little ribbon.
4 Lights please. Adjust the lighting. Glaring overhead lights do not make for soothing dining ambience; do as your favorite swanky restaurants do and turn down the lights, low enough that the room has a cozy glow, but not so low that guests won’t be able to make out the food on their plates.
5 Be chill. Chill a pitcher of water in the fridge, jazzed up with a few slices of lemon or lime. Have the pitcher on or near the table come dinnertime, so you can easily refill guests' glasses without vanishing back into the kitchen.
6 A toast! Have a bottle of wine open and wine glasses ready for when the guests arrive, so you can get everyone comfortably settled with drinks, or if you’re up for a smidge more work on the bartending front, mix up a pitcher of your favorite tasty cocktail. If any of your guests bring over a bottle of wine, however, do make sure to open up those bottles to share at some point during the evening.
7 A little something to begin… Offer pre-dinner nibbles to whet folks’ appetites and to ensure your guests aren’t excruciatingly hungry while they wait for dinner to be served. No need to go all out with painstakingly prepared finger foods – offer some bowls of good olives or spiced nuts, a small plate of salami or prosciutto and cheese, or even just good, fresh crusty bread served with olive oil or softened butter.
8 Sweet endings. As the evening winds down, offer coffee and tea with dessert. Sweet liqueurs like Bailey’s and Kahlua also make a fine post-meal quaff; serve them straight or splash a bit into coffee. Alternatively, try a nice dessert wine or port. Meanwhile, if your dining area isn’t the most comfortable spot in the world for a long evening of lounging around, consider moving the party over to the living room, where folks can hang on the sofa to enjoy drinks and sweets.