How Do You Plan A Dinner Party?

How do you plan a dinner party? Planning a dinner party is a combination of a couple of things. Number one: where are you going to be serving the dinner party at? Planning a dinner party requires you to...

Planning a dinner party requires you to sit down and think about the "who, what, where, when, how, and why" of your party. Is the dinner for a wedding? A birthday? A theme party just because you want to have one? First answer the "why," and then you can move onto the "what" - this means the type of party you want to have. Will it be large or small? Will it be formal or casual? Are you going with a theme and if so, what is it? Once you have the "why" and "what," you can move on to the "who" and make up your invitation list. Next you will chose your "when" and "where".


Brian Hay, a chef and culinary instructor at Austin Community College and a sommelier who also teaches for the International Sommelier Guild, says to consider: "Where are you going to be serving the dinner party at? It could be at your house or someone else's house or an outside location or at a location you need to rent. You need to know exactly what equipment you have and how much space you are going to have because that's crucial for your planning."


Once you have all of these components organized, you will be able to send out your invitations.

Throughout your planning stage, you need to make sure you write everything down and keep it organized. Hay says, "Plan it out and spend a lot of time planning. Make sure that you have everything listed; what you are going to need equipment-wise, plus all the foods that you are going to need. When you keep it organized, it just makes you more efficient. You don't want to be running around at the last minute."

Planning your menu can be the most difficult part of planning a dinner party. If you are having it catered you will want to ask for samples of dishes to know if you want to include them or not. A caterer will also be able recommend different ideas for you that you may not have thought of on your own.

If you are doing the cooking yourself, look for cook books and recipes that are relevant to the type of dinner party you are throwing. There are many themed party books on the market, or use the internet to help you find more ideas.

Informal dinner parties will take almost as much planning as a formal dinner. Some things may seem easier, such as planning a potluck dinner where everyone brings a dish, but you still need to remember things like how to keep all of the food warm. If people are bringing a dish that has to be kept warm, suggest they put it into a crock pot if possible or use hot plates.

Hay says, "I tell everyone, 'When you are doing a dinner party, keep it as simple as possible and make the simple items elegant.' In other words, instead of trying to do an entrée with four different sauces, do it with one sauce. Make the sauce and the entrée perfect so that people will remember the quality of the food and what you are trying to do, instead of trying to do something incredibly fancy."

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