A Beginner’s Guide to Hosting a Dinner Party

A Beginner’s Guide to Hosting a Dinner Party

A Beginner’s Guide to Hosting a Dinner Party

Dinner parties are one of the best ways to spend quality time with your guests.

It’s all about eating good food, having a few drinks, and enjoying some great conversation. 

But there’s so much involved that it can often become pretty overwhelming. So, if this is your first time as a host or hostess, check out our beginner's guide below for a stress-free dinner party.

Always Plan Ahead


Planning everything will always make it much more accessible. Creating an accurate plan with lists of everything and allowing time for each task will minimize stress so you can handle any little glitches at night. 

Starting with basic details such as the date, the guests, the budget, the theme, and the location. Even a rough idea of what you need will make the entire evening much smoother and increase the chance of a successful dinner party your friends will be talking about for months.

Create Your Guest List

Hosting a dinner party is a great way to bring together people from different social circles and backgrounds. But don’t make the mistake of inviting all strangers, especially if it’s your first time hosting. 

While it’s tempting to use this as an opportunity to introduce all your friends to each other, it puts even more stress on you if you’re the only thing they all have in common. Also, Friday or Saturday nights are best for hosting. And it’s best if you invite your guests 3 to 4 weeks in advance so you can make sure your chosen date works for everyone.

Add a Theme

For example, choosing an Italian theme with pleated lamps, and spritz cocktails can help create a memorable experience for your dinner guests. A theme also tells you what type of dinner it will be, which helps create some structure on the back end. You might go for a wine and cheese night, a winter wonderland, or a tropical luau. 

Or maybe your theme will be based on a specific event such as a birthday, the Oscars, or over the Easter break. You can see how choosing a theme will provide you with the framework for the whole evening, from menu selection to beverages and decor options such as art and music styles. 

A theme can even give you a few ideas for dinner party entertainment for some laughter and to help keep the conversation going all night long.

Choose the Menu

Once you’ve determined your party's who, when, and why, it’s time to decide what food you’ll enjoy. Hiring your chef is the best way to ensure you feel relaxed at night. Ordering in is an option too. You can choose from a wide variety of ready-made menus, from everyday staples to out-of-the-ordinary dishes and culinary treats from different cultures. 

Remember, it’s the company that counts at any dinner party, so outsourcing the cooking is critical if you want to enjoy yourself. Otherwise, if you’re going to attempt cooking something yourself, it’s a good idea to serve food you’re familiar with. Keeping the evening simple is crucial.


Aside from researching the right wines to pair with the food, a dinner party is a perfect reason to serve a few cocktails. A well-stocked bar will always go far. Beer or cider on deck is a good idea, and maybe a couple of different liquors. 

Otherwise, if guests ask if they should bring something, tell them to grab something to drink. That way, they’ll bring something they like, which is one less thing for you to worry about. Don’t forget to include some non-alcoholic mixers to drink so there’s something for everyone, even those who can’t or don’t want to drink alcohol.

Set the Mood


No matter how formal or casual you’ve planned your dinner party, it’s always important to set the tone for the evening with the aesthetic and atmosphere. Be sure to light some candles and dim the lights comfortably for a warm and inviting glow. 

As for the music, choose a Spotify playlist that suits the mood, and set the volume for a relaxing background so your dinner guests can concentrate on conversations easily. And don’t forget to clean your home, especially the dining room, lounge, bathrooms, and other areas where your guests will be. Oh, and empty the dishwasher and the trash, ready for tomorrow.

Dinner is served. All that’s left to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the food while creating beautiful memories with your friends around the dinner table. Bon appetit.

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Luke Fitzpatrick

Tech Expert

Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo! News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.


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