How To Hold the Perfect Dinner Party

4 min read
How To Hold the Perfect Dinner Party

Entertaining at home is much easier and cheaper than making all the effort to go somewhere only to be called back after an hour because one of the kids is melting down/has toy soldier up nose/or ‘won’t settle’. Also, I don’t like to take my children out in public. Next best thing? Throwing a fabulous dinner party!

Dinner parties can be a lot of fun – the key to a doozy dinner party that will have all your guests talking is meticulous planning.  Follow our planning guide to pull off a night to remember!

If you’re not a list person – you are now. Meticulous planning cannot be done ‘off the top of your head’ nor can it be achieved ‘by the seat of your pants’.

How to Hold the Perfect Dinner Party

First things first

Decide when the party will be (the date), guest list, and theme. Invite guests to your party early, preferably two or more weeks ahead of time. A Facebook event is technically an invite but thoughtful pretty posted invites are better. This will give them time to RSVP and will give you more time to plan.

The goal of a fabulous dinner party is to entertain and provide comfort to your guests. Think about compatibility, tastes, ages, and the ambience you want to create.

Decide on the Menu

Be realistic about your ‘skills’. If you normally only make beans on toast for tea you’re going to be hopeless attempting anything too flash. Make things easier take away and deli foods are totally acceptable.

Think about your guests and any allergies they may have.

Plan your menu. Tie it to the theme if you can or make it the theme Tapas night or fondue party for example. Try to plan a mix of make-ahead recipes and those that require last minute baking or preparation so you don’t miss all the fun.


Take inventory of your supplies: table and chairs, cutlery, glasses, plates, candlesticks, serving areas, and of course your kitchen. Think about borrowing items you don’t have. Make sure the things you use are sparkling clean and not damaged.

Decorations for a party can be as simple as candles on the table, or a more elaborate flower arrangement, tablecloth, and even chair slipcovers.  Using food or flowers is a cheap way to decorate. Get inspired by looking through home magazines for ideas.

Get Set for the Party

Make time for house cleaning, shopping, decorating, and setting the table. Make sure to save some time before the party so you can get ready and relax before your guests arrive a red-faced tizz answering the door is not the look of a relaxed host.

Write down a timetable (a sort-of list) for the day of the party, working backwards from party time. Leave plenty of time for food preparation, baking, cooling and decorating, setting the table, arranging flowers, planning music or games, and getting yourself and family ready!

Clean, clean, and clean again! A clean house is welcoming, the kitchen and bathroom will need special attention.

How to Hold the Perfect Dinner Party

Tips for a fabulous dinner party

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help when planning your party. Butchers, delicatessens, even the florist will be happy to give advice.
  • Shop first. If you buy as much as possible well ahead of party time, you will be assured of best quality as well as a well-stocked pantry.
  • Plan activities for kids to keep them out of your hair if they’re invited.
  • Try to plan so you have very little to do on the actual day of the party.
  • Relax! A relaxed hostess is a key to a great party. If you’re enjoying yourself, the guests will too.

About Author

Jody Allen

Jody is the founder and essence of Stay at Home Mum. An insatiable appetite for reading from a very young age had Jody harbouring dreams of being a pu...Read Moreblished author since primary school. That deep-seeded need to write found its way to the public eye in 2011 with the launch of SAHM. Fast forward 4 years and a few thousand articles Jody has fulfilled her dream of being published in print. With the 2014 launch of Once a Month Cooking and 2015's Live Well on Less, thanks to Penguin Random House, Jody shows no signs of slowing down. The master of true native content, Jody lives and experiences first hand every word of advertorial she pens. Mum to two magnificent boys and wife to her beloved Brendan; Jody's voice is a sure fire winner when you need to talk to Mums. Read Less

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