Originally posted 11/8/13 – transplanted from previous website
Inspiration photos can be viewed on our Pinterest dinner parties board.
Most people at some point host a dinner party – whether it’s to commemorate a birthday, a promotion at work or for the holidays. I want to provide you with a few tips to enhance your dinner parties and make them more personal and memorable.
Invitations are your initial contact with your guests about the event. They truly set the tone for your party whether it’s a casual get-together or a more formal gathering. Living in the digital age we are in, there’s something nostalgic and special about receiving a paper invitation. For a dinner party, a simple flatcard listing the event details is perfect. You can customize it further by incorporating a symbol or some type of icon to represent the event, you can create a family crest, maybe an abstract design of your favorite flower or even a chic design of the numerals 40 for a 40th birthday party. If the party has a theme, design a symbol to express it. We’ve pinned a couple of invitation examples on our Pinterest dinner parties board. Take a look!
When guests arrive, you want to have everything set and prepared but you also want to welcome them into your home and you can do this by enhancing your space.
Create a customized music playlist in your iTunes or Spotify accounts. It will further enhance the mood you’re going for with the event. If there’s a certain theme such as The Great Gatsby or Boardwalk Empire, choose some great big band music from the time period.
I’m a huge fan of flowers! If you have an in-house bar or will have a table designated as the bar, have a couple of smaller arrangements flanking it. If you’re serving dinner buffet-style, have 1-2 larger arrangements placed there. I absolutely recommend having either one large centerpiece on the dining table or a collection of smaller centerpieces sprinkled throughout. The collection of flowers can be monochromatic in scheme or all the same type of flower. And if you decide to use a collection of flowers, create varying heights to add visual interest. We’ve pinned a few examples to demonstrate the diversity in design and spark your imagination: visit our Pinterest dinner parties board.
Along with flowers, candles also set a warm, beautiful environment. There are so many options for candles – you can choose textured candles to eclectic and striking candle holders. For a more bold, dramatic effect, use large pillar candles within glass hurricanes. Place smaller votive candles within interesting holders throughout the middle of the table. If you want more of an elegant look, you can never go wrong with tall, slender candlesticks. HomeGoods and Z Gallerie are two of my favorite places to shop for these types of items (among many others).
Table Seating Cards
Whether you’re going for a more casual or more formal atmosphere, make use of table seating cards. They’re a great way to mix the seating up to spur conversation but also add that extra touch to your table. So many creative things can be done with table cards. You can go with a more classic approach by using a tented card with your guests’ names written in calligraphy using a nice pen (you may have to brush up on your calligraphy skills) or you can have your table cards pre-printed in your choice of font by working with a paper goods store such as Paper Source. For that extra touch, include a personal message on the card such as “happy you could come” or “another memory for us to add to the collection.” If you want something a little more modern, print a small photo of either you and your guest or just your guest to indicate their seat. Check out our Pinterest dinner parties board for examples.
For the final touch to your dinner party, consider giving your guests favors at the end of the evening. I know the word “favor” makes you think of the mini photo frame keychains you might receive at a wedding but there’s no need to go that far. If you decided to go with the collection of flowers for your centerpieces, you can let each of your guests take one of those. Or if you’re good in the kitchen, make mini desserts to go such as a trio of cookies or a mini apple hand pie placed in a decorative, disposable box tied with a ribbon. The options are endless. We’ve pinned some yummy options, check them out on our Pinterest dinner parties board.
I hope these tips are helpful for you and have provided some additional ideas to use for your next event at your home. All in all, as a party host you want to make sure you provide your guests with a warm, welcoming and entertaining environment. You want to make sure the food is delicious and conversation is plentiful but also focus on the guest experience when you plan you’re next dinner party.