How to Host a Dinner Party

Planning a Dinner Party

The first important decision when it comes to hosting a dinner party is what kind of atmosphere you'd like to create. Would you like a low-key event, where jeans and sneakers are the norm, or will this be an elegant affair, giving guests a chance to dress up and wear their fine jewelry? Before you decide on a casual or formal party, consider the following: Are the guests neighbors and friends, or are they co-workers? Will children be invited?

All of these factors will play a role in determining what the appropriate atmosphere for the party should be. After all, it's silly to invite your formal co-workers over for Buffalo wings and beer, and it's even more ridiculous to serve filet mignon to young children.

Are you able to pull off a fancy multiple course meal? If this is your first dinner party, it can be difficult to properly schedule too many courses and fancy foods. Start simple, with a party that's focused on the casual side, and try something more formal once you're more comfortable.

If you expect that your friends would enjoy a chance to dress up, plan to hold a more formal event. On the other hand, if your friends and family wouldn't know a salad fork from a steak knife, keep it simple. Nothing is more miserable than a group of people who are so busy worrying about the proper way to do things that they forget to have fun. And isn't that the point of a party?