As the nights draw in and the chill of the evenings starts to get at your extremities, you can begin to feel more inclined to stay indoors and snuggle up. There’s no bad thing about staying in, it’s way cheaper, besides you control the atmosphere, music and company.
One way to keep the social life alive is to host dinner parties or small gatherings at home. There is a certain art to ensuring your guests feel special and welcome, whilst you’re able to relax and fully enjoy their company.
Based on experience of hosting and being invited to social occasions I’ve come up with some tips on how to be the perfect host.
My main aim when inviting friends over is to catch up properly with them in a comfortable, relaxed and happy environment with everything we might need on tap.
1.Organise your menu
and buy all of the ingredients the night before, if there is any cooking preperaiton you can do the night before too, do it. Make sure you’ve prepared sufficiently, noone wants to talk to you as you sweat over a stove and feel as though they have to ask if you need any help. You want your guests to feel like “I got this”.
2. Chill the drinks (and your boots)
and make sure you’ve got plenty of different glasses for water, wine and maybe even spirits. Sort up a mini area for cocktails with fresh limes etc. and a few beautiful bottles, Lots of ice too.
Always have a bottle of champagne on chill, there will inevitably be something to toast, even just the fact you’ve finally made it around the table together. Always have water on the table with freshly sliced cucumber and ice.
3. Make sure your dishwasher is empty
or that you have a space in your kitchen to stack the dirty dishes tidily. Never, EVER do the washing up when your guests are still there! Unless you are some dishwasher loading ninja and you can secretly press the on button without anyone noticing.
4. Prepare the “powder room”
with a couple of candles, posh tissues, fresh hand towels and even some classical music, which can make even going to the loo a delightful experience.
5. Create a playlist
that will last the entire night, choose soft music that’s light, maybe even jazz….smoooooooth.
6. Check people’s food preferences
some people may have allergies or just really not like mushrooms (hello!) and may be too polite to say something. Invite a small group between 4-6 is ideal, you want the evening to still feel intimate.
7. Layer the lighting
with lots of candles on the table and all around your home, they will give a gorgeous flattering glow to the faces of your guests. Ensure the rest of your home is very tidy and the lighting is low and relaxed. (a few more tips on delightful dining)
8. On arrival the golden rule is
to ensure that your guest has a drink in their hand and their coats taken from them. Let them snoop around your home as you overload them with pure whit and charm.
9. Light nibbles on arrival
I’m talking homemade dips where possible and some posh breadsticks, arrange them on interesting plates to brighten up your overall scheme and add a bit of fun.
10. Warm the plates
this will avoid that cold end to a meal and allow your guests to take their time enjoying the food, without fear of it getting cold. Quite simple really.
11. For dessert allow for sweet and savoury
you know what I’m talking about, cheese, oodles of the creamy, crumbly, all forms of cheesy goodness. A sweet dessert isn’t always the ideal for everyone, so give people choice. Ensure your coffee station is set up too.
12. At the end of the meal leave nibbles out
as completely clearing the table can ruin the atmosphere, even a few bowls of nuts can be nice.
If you follow these guidelines I can assure you will have a brilliant, relaxed evening. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
All images can be found on Pinterest