A Stress-free Guide on How to Host a Dinner Party

how to host a stress-free dinner party

To help you host a stress-free dinner party, we’ve put together a simple seven step guide so you can be the perfect host.

Throwing a dinner party should be fun. And when you have the right tips and tricks up your sleeve to create a great night in, entertaining at home can be the perfect way to celebrate life with friends and family.  

Unsure how to throw a dinner party after not being able to host one for so long? Or are short on time to prep and cook?

No matter the season; Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, a bIrthday. There are so many interesting ways you can host a dinner party at home.

For Christmas, you can hire festive decorations to boost your party vibes, like real Christmas trees, which come delivered to your door in a pot, and you then return them after Christmas.

If you are planning an Easter dinner party, creating a beautifully themed feast with matching decor will help create ambience to be enjoyed by everyone. This can include Inflatable Easter decorations, like giant eggs or bunnies, which can provide a unique and fun option (especially for the kids) when decorating your Easter space.

Dressing the table with white linen, and bright colours from flowers to napkins, is a nice way to create some cheerful and happy Easter vibes. Make serve to include special Easter-themed food like deviled eggs and hot cross buns to round out the celebration.

Hiring a dinner party catering service might be the ultimate solution for you as it will reduce stress levels and assist with pre-preparation, so you can simply entertain and just have fun. But if you want to make it happen yourself, read on.

Decide on your guests:

Dinner parties date back as far as the Romans and Greeks. These parties hosted hundreds of guests and were a means of signifying class, wealth and a sophisticated lifestyle.

In recent times, this has shifted to more intimate dinner parties, with less guests and more meaningful celebrations.

how to host a dinner party
Depending on the number of guests, the dinner party may be more intimate.

You will need to begin by determining whether you want to throw a small dinner party that is more intimate and personal, or one that is a bit bigger and will host more guests.

Groups under 10 people would generally be considered small and simple, while anything over 10 would need more planning.

Sending out invitations:

Depending on the size and dynamic of your group, different ways of sending out invites may work.

Consider whether you want to send a more intimate and personal invitation in the mail that is handwritten, or simply email or give your guests a call.

Take note of how your guests are already receiving their daily communications. Prepare your invitations in a way where they won’t be missed, accidentally deleted or thrown away.

host a dinner party

For example, consider sending a letter to those who tend to receive a lot of emails or call them. This will make sure they don’t miss your invite amongst all of their other emails.

Choose a fun theme:

Pick a theme that will flow with the atmosphere, the season and aesthetic you want to achieve. This will vary depending on who you invite, the season and what the occasion is.

how to host a dinner party
Little details such as centrepieces and cutlery should all align with the theme.

All the details of the dinner party should match this theme such as the décor, cutlery and menu choices.

Examples of themes can be based around a certain time period, like the 1920s for example, a cuisine from around the world, or even a simple colour theme.

host a dinner party
Choose a theme and keep it consistent.

Decide on the food:

Pair your food choices up with your theme. This will make the dinner party consistent and seamless.

If you want to cook, choose dishes that can be prepared in advance. Ideally make sure you are not still cooking when the guests start arriving.

Or, with the help of a dinner party catering service, you can have one or two of the courses pre-prepared and catered. This can ease stress.

host a dinner party

If you have no idea what you want to serve, catering services often have pre-set menus specifically designed for occasions such as dinner parties.

Remember to take into consideration what your guests like and dislike, as well as any dietary notes, vegans, vegetarians or allergies they may have.


Make sure you have enough alcohol, as this can make or break a dinner party. It is not impolite to ask guests to bring a bottle but be prepared in case they forget. The general rule is one bottle per guest – this is the minimum.

An arrival cocktail at the beginning of the night is a great way to start the dinner party and creates the feeling of a special night out. 

host a dinner party
The choice and amount of alcohol can make or break a dinner party.

Put together the perfect table:

The table is arguably the centrepiece of any dinner party, where guests will be spending a large portion of their time.

Consider adding a centrepiece to your table, but make sure it is not too big and overpowering, and not small to the point that nobody will notice it.

Some good ideas for centrepieces can include a vase of fresh flowers, potted plants, or candle pillars.  

Adding personal touches along the table such as place cards or table runners will make it cosier. This will also make it less awkward when guests choose where to sit. Being strategic about where people sit is anther factor that can make or break a dinner party.

host a dinner party
Place cards can give a more personalised feel.

Take note of the lighting around the dinner table. Opt for dimmer lighting and consider lighting a few candles to place along the table. This will give a more relaxed feel and add a sparkle to the glassware.

How to begin the dinner party:

When guests start to arrive, ensure there are drinks and snacks available (or a cocktail – see above). This will give them the opportunity to have a light snack and drink before sitting down for food.

A charcuterie or cheese board is perfect. Make sure there is enough for everyone, but don’t over-do it with choices as you don’t want your guests getting full before the main course. 

how to plan a dinner party

Creating ambiance for the dinner party:

Dinner parties that are more intimate and have less guests should have dimmer lighting, while dinners and drinks with more guests should have brighter lights that will adequately light the room.

Ambiance and lighting are crucial to set the tone of the dinner party.

Having a playlist going for the dinner party is crucial to make your guests feel comfortable and at home.

If you’re unsure what type of music would be suitable for your guests, apps like Spotify and Pandora have ready-made playlists for every mood.

Phoebe Tran

Phoebe is an early riser who always starts her day with a cup of coffee, waiting for the postman to deliver her latest online purchase. She is very passionate when it comes to shopping, writing and social media. During her spare time she is searching for the latest online trends in beauty and fashion to try, which adds to her online shopping addiction. When not surfing the internet, you will find her head in a novel (either crime, thriller and even classics), or doing puzzles that take hours on end.

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