When was the last time you hosted a DC dinner party at your home? Think about it. Really do. Now when I say dinner party, I don’t mean having a get together where you so happen to have food there. I’m talking about an actual sit down at a table and eat together.

Most people when you mention a dinner party immediately think of a lavish event with hundreds of people. Words like reception, gala and soirée comes to mind.

Even you may think of a large budget at a popular DC event venue. Am I right?

This does not have to be the case. In fact, I encourage you to start hosting your own intimate dinner parties once a quarter. As fall and winter approach, dinner parties will begin to spike.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are a given. However, for friends you want to catch up with before they get busy, a dinner party is just the thing. Now Andrew, why not just go to a nice restaurant and have dinner there? Certainly we can all catch up without the fuss, right?

While that may be true, I will say the experience held at home cannot be beat. You’re in a more comfortable and safe setting. You can really have good audible conversations and not worry about who is listening. You can also make things more engaging by adding certain activities that no restaurant can.

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How do you host the perfect dinner party?

Dinner Party Preparation

When I plan dinner parties for clients, my first mission is to gather all of the details. Aside from eating, what else would you like to do? What are the things you don’t want to do?

I also take a scan of my client’s homes to make sure it isn’t cluttered and is ready to host guests. While this is at your home, cleanliness and having the right equipment should not be an exception.

Hire a house cleaner service if you must. Make sure that you have plenty of plates, stemware and flatware. In fact, make sure you have at least two extra set. If something is broken or someone drops a fork, you want to quickly get the replacement and not have to worry about finding another glass to replace what was broken. This just helps to make the dinner run smoothly.

Identify Your Dinner Party Menu

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I don’t know about you, but I never want to be in the kitchen the entire time serving a multiple course meal. While I love to cook, on a night like this, if I am the host, I also want to enjoy myself.

For this particular dinner party, I hired Main Event Caterers to prepare all of the courses. This allows for a more elevated experience for the guests. Chef Max Barbour was on site to help with preparation and explain each of the courses to the guests.

Main Event provided a few options for each of the courses and we selected the following:

Plated First Course: Jumbo Lump Crab Cake

Plated Second Course: Roasted Beet Salad

Dual Plated Dinner Entrée: Bistro Filet with Dijon + Kumquat Glazed Chicken. Accompanied by creamy garlic mashed potatoes and roasted broccolini.

Plated Dessert: White Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

DC Dinner Party Table Decor

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I highly recommend that you use what china, stemware and flatware you already have at home. In the event you may not have enough for the people attending, then purchase what you need.

Your goal is to ensure a cohesive look and that you still give the level of elegance that your in-home dinner party needs.

Determine how you want your table to look. I recommend that you look at the colors of your home and create a color palate based on that. Not everything has to match. Please feel free to use textures like velvet napkins or napkin rings with groves. Add a wicker charger like I did.

I always recommend a subtle yet elegant centerpiece. I asked Violet Gardens Floral Designs to create several mini centerpieces since the chandelier already commanded its own attention. Just remember to  not block guests from seeing each other.

Things To Splurge On For A Dinner Party

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 Having good china simply cannot be beat. You always want to consider purchasing something that will work well in any season and is timeless.

Cheep wine and other alcohol is not the way to go for a dinner party. Pick out a good bottle of rosé, white and red wine. Not a true splurge, but I tried the Chateau d’Esclans The Palm Rose Wine at Target and it was delicious.

If I had to pick one thing to splurge on it would be good wine glasses. I love hearing how good wine glasses sound when making a toast. Yes there is a huge different between plastic, glass and crystal.

Create a Timeline

While this might sound silly, a timeline is essential to keep things on track. Do your best to get friends to arrive on time. If you have a Chef cooking the meal, time is very important. In addition, those guests who do arrive on time shouldn’t have to wait for those who do not.

I like to start any dinner party off with cocktails. This is an easy icebreaker and way to buy time until everyone arrives.

Once dinner is over, keep the party going with games or change up the type of discussion.

Enjoy Your Party

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As the host it is essential that you leave your dinner party feeling energetic and not worn out. The purpose of this party is not to test your hosting skills or to see how much you can do between bites.

You want to catch up with your friends. Enjoy delicious food. Discover new activities and recommendations. So many benefits come from a good DC dinner party. Don’t be the one trying to play catch up to figure out what news you missed. Sit back and enjoy the fun the same way your guests will.

Need help hosting your intimate DC dinner party? It’s not as expensive as you would think. Contact us for the details.