Whether you’re just hanging out and playing games or watching a movie while you chill, getting together with friends is always a good time. Sometimes it’s nice to step away from the more casual get-togethers and indulge in a fancier evening, especially those involving food. Fine dining in a more intimate, home-based setting can be special in a way that eating out at a fancy restaurant can’t quite manage. So how do you plan a fancy dinner party that’s sure to be a hit with your friends?
Drinks are a must for fancy dinner parties. You can get pretty elaborate with this if you want. An aperitif is a drink that is served before dinner to whet the appetite. Then you have the drinks that go with your meal. Depending on how fancy you get, you could be serving multiple drinks during the course of the meal. Formal place settings have separate glasses for water, champagne, red wine, white wine, and sherry. If you aren’t going for a strictly formal event, both sparkling and plain water, as well as a collection of alcoholic beverages can be good options. Otherwise, if you intend to avoid serving alcohol at your party, you can still keep things plenty interesting with a few favorite mocktail recipes.
It’s nice to have something small to snack on before you get going with the full meal. Appetizers can be the perfect thing to serve guests who might be feeling a bit peckish before it’s time to serve the meal. Appetizers can be hot, cold, or somewhere in between. Which option works best will depend on what the timing for your party looks like. You don’t want things that are supposed to be kept hot or cold sitting out for hours. You’ll need to take into account how much time you have between the time when you’ve finished making them and when it’s time to serve them. It’s also important to consider what your available options are for keeping food at safe temperatures and how much space you have available if you need to do so.
Plan the Main Course
The main course is the main event of your dinner, so it’s going to be important to get it right. If you’re not sure how to plan your main course, start by picking a protein. Beef, poultry, fish, and lamb are all viable options, though they are certainly far from the only options. If you’re the one doing the cooking, it’s best to choose a protein that you are familiar with and comfortable with cooking. From there, decide how you want to cook it and the sort of flavors you want to bring out. That will help you decide what side dishes will go best with your protein and you’ll be well on your way to planning out a delicious menu for your guests.
Master the Presentation
Humans eat with their eyes. That may sound a bit strange, but there have been studies done that suggest that when food is presented in a beautiful, sophisticated manner, those eating it tend to perceive it as tasting better. If you really want to make a good impression at your dinner party, mastering the presentation of your dinner is a must. Start with your appetizers and work your way through the rest of the meal. Colorful toothpicks add a level of detail to your presentation that will impress your guests. Carefully arranging each dish will help it look its best. Don’t forget to wipe off any spills around your plate that might mar an otherwise flawless presentation.
Choose Your Dessert
Dessert is your last chance to make an impression on your guests in regards to the actual meal itself (after-dinner drinks being excluded from this). For a truly cohesive meal, pair your dessert with the main. Consider how full your guests are likely to be after finishing the main course. If they’re likely to be very full, opt for a lighter dessert. If the dinner itself was on the lighter side, you can feel free to go with a richer dessert. Knowing how to finish off your meal is one of the keys to planning the ultimate menu.
Pick a Date
There’s more to planning a successful fancy dinner party than just the menu though. The first thing you need to do is choose the date for your party. Pick your date carefully. You want to choose a day that will work for your guests. In many instances, weekend nights can be ideal since guests are less likely to need to call it a night earlier. You’ll also need to be careful when planning around holidays. How close your party is to a holiday will absolutely impact who will be able to attend.
Write Your Guest List
Speaking of the attendees, your guest list is the next thing on the list of decisions to make. The company you host at your dinner party can make all the difference in how well your evening goes. To keep things interesting for everyone, make sure that everyone you invite knows at least one other person on the guest list aside from you. You might consider making sure that you as the host are the only one who actually knows everyone though. That can help keep conversations interesting for everyone.
Decide How Formal You Want to Get
One of the other crucial decisions you must make is how formal you want the evening to be. The level of formality will determine both how your dinner is served and how everyone should dress. A fancy dinner party can cover anything from cocktail attire to white tie. Remember to include this information on the invitations so everyone knows how to dress for the occasion. No one wants to show up to a party either underdressed or overdressed.
Planning a fancy dinner party can be a lot of fun – sometimes even more fun than the event itself. Proper planning is a crucial part of hosting a successful dinner party with any degree of formality or fanciness. The more fancy, the more important it is to have a good plan. If this is your first time hosting a fancy dinner party, consider asking one or two of your friends to help. Otherwise, if you’re an experienced host or hostess, dust off your hosting skills and get to planning. The night of your party will be here before you know it.
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