This time-honored activity has been around since we lived in caves. Although it seems dinner parties have waned in popularity the truth is we are eating together just like we used to, we're just doing it in restaurants these days.
The last couple of years, however, have seen a resurgence in the popularity of the At Home Dinner Party.
Experts say the shift is thanks to the plethora of cooking shows that have turned Americans into foodies who like to show off what they've learned in the kitchen. Couple that with the desire for more intimate experiences in this crazy busy world we live in and it's no wonder we're seeing a comeback.
No matter the reason, we're all for it. There's no better way to bond with important people in your life than to invite them into your home for a meal. You just can't make connections like that in a crowded restaurant.
There are 3 main stars at any dinner party: The guests, the food, and the table. We've gathered information on all 3 here to help you get started.
Themes seem fun, but they can often cross the line quickly from fun to cheesy. They also require more work, creativity, and money. If it's what you want, go for it. Get on Pinterest and get to work.
Take the time to clean the house and set the table the day before the party. It relieves stress on party day. Make a list of things to do on he day of the event - in the heat of the moment it's easy to forget important details.
It sets the mood. Start off with something relaxed and easy and move to more upbeat tunes as the night goes on. Assign a friend to help you play DJ or jam out to Pandora or Slacker Radio.
Remove clutter, stock the bathroom with essentials, and remember, everything looks better in candlelight.
Don't' leave this to chance. Give the personalities of your guest some thought and make place cards. Repeat: do not leave seating to chance.
You always need more than you have. Better to have a backup supply than resort to warm cocktails.
Do the work before your guests arrive so you can have fun and enjoy the evening. A stressed out host ruins a dinner party. If the unexpected happens and your souffle falls, laugh and keep moving. If the dog eats the roast, pull out some frozen pizzas. Be ready to roll with the evening and enjoy the company. No one is going to starve to death, no matter what happens.
Many of us have written college essays on who we'd invite to a dinner party. But since Abraham Lincoln, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan may be busy on the night of your event, here are few other places to find guests.
A dinner party at your home is a great way to bond with the people you spend all day with. Feed someone a home cooked meal and the next time you need help changing the toner in the copier we predict there will be offers of help.
These are people you share a corner of the world with. Many of us don't even know their names. Go old school and put invitations in mailboxes and see what happens. Before you know it you'll be waving to people you know when you get the mail.
Who your children spend time with helps determine what kind of people they will become. Get to know their parents. Hire a sitter to keep the kiddos busy and feed them pigs-in-a-blanket. Let the grown-ups have a play date of their own. It'll help net time you need a carpool.
Invite your friends and ask them to bring a friend. Instant pre-approved new people.
Sure you see your siblings all the time. How about Aunt Frannie's 2nd cousin that you haven't seen in 5 years but that lives in your town? It may be time to reconnect. You have more in common with extended family than you may realize.
Rule of thumb: Plan on 4-6 appetizers per guest per hour while waiting for dinner to be served.
Be sensitive to those with special dietary needs such as gluten-free or vegetarians, but do not let it dictate the entire menu. Do ask your guest to let you know of any allergies. If something sneaks by and you serve shrimp to someone with a shellfish allergy they'll just have to eat double appetizers. Trust us, they are used to having to make accommodations.
Google it. There are numerous party planning websites these days that will help you coordinate the right appetizers with side dishes and entrees for your guests. Some sites have printable grocery lists included with recipes. Spend an hour or 3 and find the perfect combinations. A confident host makes the party.
More Dining Collections