You know what? It’s really not that hard.
As Rachel can attest to, I started throwing Dinner Parties in high school, and they were awesome. We’d limit the guests to about 8 or 10 people, everyone would dress up, bring hostess gifts, we’d serve sweet food, and it was awesome. It was fun to act like grown-ups and talk about stocks and bonds in fake British accents all night, which is definitely what we thought grown-ups did at parties.
Now that I’m in my mid (okay, late) twenties, I still totally throw Dinner Parties, and they’re still totally awesome.
Step One: Invite some people. I find it works best when you invite people who might know of each other, but aren’t super close friends. It means conversations don’t get stuck on inside jokes and the same thing you talk about every time you see them, and it means people can make new friends.
Step Two: Pick your food. Something that doesn’t take a lot of work to prepare is best, as well as something that you can fluctuate on the cooking time. The first Dinner Party I ever hosted, we had pasta with chicken, and it was bone cold. Not the greatest. This time, we had shiskabob’s from the St. Lawrence Market, and roasted sweet potatoes. Super delicious, easy to make, and we could do all the prep in advance, which is definitely key.
Step Three: Tell people what to bring. Don’t bother pretending they don’t have to bring something; it’s a waste of your time, and people typically like bringing something to a party – I know I do. This time we assigned our guests with booze and dessert, and it worked out great. Plus, our dessert guests brought Dufflet cakes, which were insanely delicious, and something Liam and I never would have thought of, so we got to try something new.
Step Four: Create a theme. This isn’t necessary by any means, but I like to have an activity, or a little something special to set each Dinner Party apart. One of them I had a Slip N’ Slide at and we played croquet, another one was black-tie themed. A little theme never hurt anyone, and adds a fun extra. I received a sweet-ass cocktail book for Christmas, so we had welcome drinks of White Russians and Whiskey Sours (with homemade sugar syrup!) for everyone. We also had a Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection tasting, and had some Prosecco as we toasted a friend’s grant approval. Safe to say, our theme was booze.
That’s pretty much all there is. You can add little details, like nametags, or thank-you gifts (which we forgot to give our guests, so… put those by the front door or something), and make sure there’s great music, but beyond food and booze, people don’t need much to have a good time.
Liam and I are planning on getting back into throwing more Dinner Parties, now that we’re really grown-up and mature. The only thing we’ll do different is perhaps drink less whiskey sours, ‘cus this girl is definitely hungover.