Hosting a dinner party can be a lot of work, but there’s also something magical about orchestrating a successful gathering. Party etiquette can often get lost in the shuffle when scrambling to get every detail ready for your social event. While focusing on all the elements of a memorable soiree, don’t get so hung up on the details that your hospitality runs dry.
Making sure your guests are comfortable is just as important as making sure the flower displays are on point and the meal is presentable and delicious. Here are nine ways to ensure your guests leave wanting to come back.
1. Greet Them Right away
Have you ever entered the front door at a party and felt a little awkward because you didn’t know which direction to go or where to put your coat? Avoid putting your guests in this situation. To create a positive impression from the get-go, greet your guests at the door, possibly handing them a drink or appetizer and help them know where to go next (dining area, open bar, etc.)
2. Ask About Food Allergies Ahead of Time
Food allergies are on the rise, and it’s important to be sensitive to them. Not only does this show an extra measure of care, it can also head off dangerous reactions. Ask your guests about their food sensitivities ahead of time so their meal can be prepared at the same time as the rest of food and attention is not drawn to them when they have to turn down a certain menu item that is being served.
3. Introduce Your Guests to Each Other
It can often feel a little uncomfortable for guests to be in a room of people they don’t know. As the host, take it upon yourself to break the ice and introduce your guests to each other. Not only will this get the party going, it will help your guests break out of their shells and make connections with new friends.
4. Adjust the Lighting and Temperature
It doesn’t matter how beautiful the decorations are, nobody is going to enjoy themselves if they are sweating or shivering. Pay attention to the weather outside and the temperature in the room. Likewise, make sure the lighting is appropriate for the occasion. Proper ambience is important as well as being able to see each other and possibly snap pictures to remember the occasion.
5. Have the Meal Ready to Go
Food is arguably one of the most stressful parts of entertaining, and last minute snafus are common. Make sure that all arrangements have been made for the meal so that you’re not in the kitchen troubleshooting last minute problems rather than mingling with your guests. If you’re doing the cooking, make a schedule and prepare as much as possible in advance. Veggies can be chopped the day before, desserts can be made and frozen several days in advance, sauces can be prepared ahead of time, etc. You can also try a “trial run” well in advance so that things will go smoothly on the big night. Hiring a caterer or chef is also a great idea and can free you up to enjoy the evening rather than stressing over 11th hours kitchen challenges.
6. Set an End Time on the Invitation
Invitations always have a start time but sometimes the host forgets to add an end time or doesn’t include one on purpose. Setting an end time can help your friends plan accordingly, feel comfortable when it’s time to leave and ensure that your guests don’t overstay their welcome. This can also encourage your typically late-showers to come on time. The end time doesn’t have to be set in stone. Things are going well? Extend the party. You make the rules!
7. Set the Tone with Music
Choose music based on your audience. People naturally set memories to certain songs. Choose a playlist of crowd favorites and be willing to read the room and make changes according to body language and facial expressions. Music can really enhance a dinner party, just be strategic about it.
8. Make an Impression with Your Dessert
If conversation is waning, it’s time to break out the dessert. It may be smart to have a few different options as everyone has different flavor preferences. An unforgettable dessert can end the evening on a high note.
9. If Guests Offer to Help, Take it
If guests offer to help pass out drinks or clean up, take them up on it. This gives guests an opportunity to show their gratitude and feel like they contributed in some way. They wouldn’t offer to help if they didn’t want to. Plus, the more help with cleaning at the end of the night, the faster it gets done.
Putting on a social event can be a lot of work. The last thing you want after all your planning is for your guests to feel uncomfortable. Put party etiquette and hospitality at the top of your priority list and your guests will notice.
When it comes to party planning, our team at Andrew Roby Events has your back. Whether you are looking for a corporate event planner, micro wedding planner, or someone to help you rock your next dinner party with friends, we shoulder the stress of every detail so you don’t have to. Reach out to us for help with your next event.