Life and Work
Host A Dinner Party Like A Boss – If You Use Our Party Hacks
It’s not the easiest job to host a dinner party. But if you don’t let the stress get to you and follow our party tips, everyone will have a great time!
Host a dinner party – you got this!
Whether your party style is Martha Stewart or Chrissy Teigan, there is one way to successfully host a dinner party – ensure your guests have fun! And that starts with you. Our party-hosting hacks will ensure your friends have a great time, so that you have a great time, too.
Outsource some tasks – hire someone to clean up!
To host a dinner party truly set to impress, outsource some of the less glamorous but super-helpful tasks. “Get some help with keeping the kitchen clean and tidy,” says Debra Lykkemark, founder and CEO of Culinary Capers Catering and Special Events in Vancouver. “You could hire a couple of students with some restaurant experience to bus, load the dishwasher and assist with service.” You can also opt to order your plates, glassware and cutlery from a party rental company (note: they take them all back dirty!).
Getting all the food ready and hot is key
Prep is crucial for staying out and about with guests, too. “Consider serving items that can be precooked, then simply warmed and set out for your guests to help themselves at food stations,” says Lykkemark. Think wintery comfort foods such as a mac-and-cheese station. Offer guests a variety of toppings, like caramelized onions, crispy pancetta, sautéed mushrooms and other items your guests can add to personalize their dishes, she suggests. Other precooked options might include chicken cacciatore, beef bourguignon, turkey à la king, lasagna, pulled pork or beef sliders.
Serve your dinner family style
Skip the formality of plating by bringing the pots and platters of food right to the table to dish out. “When you serve it family-style, the food looks so beautiful,” says Trish Magwood, a cookbook author and senior vice-president of food experience at the on-demand Toronto food company Feast. “It’s also more interactive because it lets your guests pick what they want and ask for seconds, so it creates dialogue and interaction at the table.”
Ask outgoing gal pals to help with introductions
Set the tone first by turning up the music and dimming the lights, suggests Magwood. Try doing a themed event, giving even your shyest guests something to wrap an icebreaking conversation around. “Perhaps give them a fun fact or two about the guests they are introducing.” (Think “Janet, this is Don. I thought you should meet since Don lived in China for a few years and you’re planning a trip to China next year.”)
Use these clever tactics to host a dinner party
Selfie photo booths are one way to get guests to loosen up and be more social. Or, you could force your guests into some serious socializing by throwing in trivia. “I was at a party in the summer where the hostess handed out trivia questions about Canada for Canada Day and gave out prizes as an icebreaker,” says Lykkemark. She suggests pairing up people who don’t already know each other, of course.
And if you sense a lull in the party, you could try the cheesy corporate game of having every third guest around the table pick up and move two seats over, welcoming some new dinner neighbours and equally new conversations. Hey, sometimes it works!