Hosting a dinner party in your apartment doesn’t have to be stressful. With a little creativity and DIY flair, you’ll have a great night with close friends.
Gather a list of guests and use our tips to help throw a glamorous dinner party in your apartment.
Look at your space and figure out how many guests you can seat comfortably. You want to create a cozy, intimate atmosphere – not a space where your guests can barely move and are bumping into one another.
If you don’t have room for a dining table in your apartment, take advantage of furniture you already have in your space. Use a dresser, desk and other available tables in your apartment to create one large surface. Heights may vary, but knowing that things don’t have to be perfect will take a lot of the pressure off of the host/ess. If you’re inviting neighbors, don’t be shy and ask to borrow a few chairs for the night – and you can even ask very close friends attending to bring their own chairs.
Another important aspect to hosting a party is the seating arrangement. If you are having assigned seats, arrange it so your guests can be near someone new. Split couples up, and don’t sit your work colleagues next to one another. This will force your guests to mingle and break out of their comfort zones.
Keep your decor simple. Add bold-colored, low-profile floral arrangements to the dining table and throughout your apartment. Dim the lights and add a few candles to create an intimate atmosphere.
Food and Drink
Make sure you’re aware of dietary preferences and requirements in advance. You don’t want to prepare a large meal that only a select few of your guests can enjoy. If a guest has dietary restrictions that are unusual, feel free to ask for suggestions on what will work for them.
For your dinner menu, keep it simple and delicious. Choose dishes that can be mostly prepared ahead of time so you can spend more time with your guests and out of the kitchen. A sample menu could include a green salad, crusty bread and lasagna. Remember to not cook anything you’ve never tried before, and avoid potentially messy foods like spaghetti or lobster. If it’s easier, set up a buffet-style area so your guests can serve themselves. This frees up space on the dining table.
For drinks, provide bottled waters, sodas and beer to keep possible spills to a minimum. For adult beverages, you don’t have to get the most expensive bottle, but provide something that your guests will enjoy. Consider making a punch, like a champagne punch, that becomes your “signature cocktail.” When your guests offer to bring something, it’s okay to encourage them to bring a bottle of wine they like.
Be a Good Host
Prepare everything ahead of time in order to spend quality time with your party guests. Make an effort to connect with every guest, and be sure to introduce your guests to one another. Instead of just introducing your guests by name, add an interesting fact that could help jump-start a conversation. For example, “Joe, this is Jennifer. She just got back from a trip to Spain.” If you’ve invited a mix of work colleagues and personal friends, avoid talking only about work. Create conversations in which everyone can participate.
Photo credit: iStockphoto/arsenik