4 Ways to Entertain for a Dinner Party
Getting friends and family together around food is one of life’s great joys. It can be expensive to dine at a restaurant, so entertaining at home is a great alternative. Follow these four useful tips to help you pull off a stress-free dinner party, in the comfort of your own home!
1. Planning is Key
Planning in advance for a dinner party will prevent any last-minute stress, ensure you get the most out of your money, prevent waste and keep your guests satisfied. Good news all round!
First, you need to decide what type of food service to do (buffet, sit down dinner, canapes etc.), the length of your event, and most importantly, how many people you are hosting.
A few basic calculations before you begin shopping for food will avoid the embarrassing situation of running out of food, or just as bad, throwing out plenty of edible food.
As a general rule, plan for:
- 4-6 canapes per guest (if a starter)
- 2-3 mains and 3-4 small sides for 10 people
- 100g cheese and 4-5 crackers per person
- 1 x 750ml bottle of bubbly for 6 people
- 1 x 12-inch cake for 8 people
2. Think about Balanced Menus
Everyone loves a mini quiche, sausage roll or pork pie at a party, but this limited selection can be overly heavy, a bit boring and lead to sleepy guests!
Think about designing a menu with a balance of flavours and textures. This will ensure your event is memorable for the right reasons. Put some thought into having a balance of both satisfying and filling types of meat, good quality bread and pastries, along with lighter and fresher vegetables, fish and soups. Consider serving food at different temperatures – this will also help you with advance preparation.
Having two different dessert options – one based on chocolate or cream, another around fresh fruit – will also offer balance and variety.
3. Include Personal Touches
It’s nice to put in a little bit of extra effort to add finishing touches to dishes. This doesn’t have to be fiddly or fancy. Simple ideas include:
- Colour contrasts – adding a sprinkling of fresh green herbs or rocket, a dollop of crème fraiche to soups, or gently dusting over snowy icing sugar onto a chocolate tart.
- Presenting food in unusual serving dishes – mini Kilner jars and dinky pots are perfect for pates or dipping sauces.
- A last-second drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or balsamic glaze.
4. Encourage Sharing
Entertaining for family and friends is not just about sharing good food amongst good company. It is also an opportunity to share cooking responsibilities!
Kindly ask each guest to bring along a dish. This will lighten the load off you as the host and is a great way to have a truly unique buffet-style experience. Plan an outline of a basic menu and request for your guests to bring a dish that balances and compliments the others and provides variety. A good way to start is to plan your ideal selection of dishes, confirm the final number of guests, and then allocate a dish to each guest.
Just be sure to clean and return everyone’s serving dishes at the end!
Check out our recipes for some dinner party inspiration! If planning a dinner party is still stressing you out, 4Lunch offers a healthy and vibrant catering menu. We concentrate on the food, you concentrate on having fun!