Entertaining has become a favourite pastime for nearly anyone with a kitchen and an affinity for weekly visits to their neighbourhood home design store. Aside from featuring your culinary skills – or lack thereof – dinner parties are an opportunity to show off your new home store buys, and finally give you a reason to sip from those new stemless wine glasses.
We all know the staples of a good dinner party: a happy host, fun guests, great food and good drinks. But what can you do to set your dinner party apart? Here are a few tips modern-minded hosts, both established and aspiring, can follow to truly impress with their next dinner party.
Create An Inviting Atmosphere
Far too often, hosts are obsessed with their need for perfection. “Heaven forbid anyone displace the throw from its casual draping over the armchair,” or “why is no one eating the artisan bread I drove to Stittsville for?”
Relax and give people what they want.
An inviting atmosphere is one with light music playing, and beverages easily accessible to incoming guests. If there’s room in your space, why not create a small bar where guests are lounging? Heck, they can even serve themselves!
While you’re at it, a dessert bar is a great way to encourage mingling and break up the “formalities” of your dinner party.
If your atmosphere is too “perfect”, guests risk feeling uncomfortable. Nothing breaks the ice – or awkward silences – like good music and a stiff drink.
Personalize Your Party…Just A Little
While personal touches can definitely set your dinner party apart, no one wants to sit through a slideshow from your latest trip to Greece.
Try creating place cards for your guests. More often than not, your local print shop can design these for you – for very little cost. While some may find it to be a little too formal, place cards will make your guests feel welcomed and important. With this in mind, nametags are not acceptable, under any circumstance. Because nothing screams “style” like a neon dollar-store label.
You can also personalize your dinner party with signature cocktails, and choosing music to fit your guests’ personal tastes.
We’re not talking about dressing up as your favourite Star Wars character, but a subtle theme could add a nice touch to your evening. Beyond colours and table settings, try serving exclusively “Canadian” fare – smoked salmon from British Columbia, Elk from Ontario, or cheeses from Quebec. You may also opt to introduce a new form of cuisine to your guests. Our suggestion, however, is to try your hand at these recipes a few times before preparing them for your guests!
Trying, and hopefully enjoying, something new will most certainly spark your guests’ attention.
Subtle themes may also carry through table décor, place card colours, and your drink menu.
Perhaps most importantly, once the party starts, if something does not go as planned, try your very best to shrug – or even laugh – it off! If you’re stressing out, it will resonate with your guests. Dinner parties are an opportunity to escape the daily grind, not add to it.
Barring an unfortunate house fire, there is very little worth fretting at your next dinner party!
BLACKBOOK Lifestyle is a full-suite event planning and creative marketing firm. Esteemed as the National Capital Region’s leading lifestyle and fashion agency, BLACKBOOK is led by Daniel Mackinnon and James Jefferson, two of Canada’s most sought-after creative marketing professionals.
An energetic and dynamic media professional with over 14 years of industry experience, Daniel Mackinnon has owned and operated three Canadian lifestyle magazines, and hosted some of the country’s leading social and lifestyle events. For over 15 years, James Jefferson has managed his own prestige lifestyle brand, encompassing fashion lines, lookbooks and runway shows, while catering to a select audience to Canada’s elite.
The BLACKBOOK portfolio boasts a number of modern-minded clients, including the Canadian Tourism Commission, the Fashion Design Council of Canada (FDCC), Bayshore Shopping Centre, the 2012 JUNO Awards, the 2011 Genie Awards, Ashbury College, GUSTO-TV, Corus Entertainment, Giant Tiger and the Ottawa International Airport Authority, among many others.