How to Host a Dinner Party: Part I
In this 4 week series, we will outline the steps to hosting a successful dinner party. First up: creating a guest list and theme. A good guest list can inform the theme or aesthetic for the night and vice versa. It’s a classic chicken or egg case, and while the answer to the riddle is very situationally specific, generally having a working theme is a great way to inform all the following decisions about your gathering.
Defining a theme may sound daunting, realistically it’s the easiest way to keep yourself on track during the planning process. Theme doesn’t mean “tiki torch luau” or “winter wonderland” (unless you want it to, more power to ya) rather it’s more the aesthetic you’d like to work within. Now is the time to decide whether your party will be casual or formal, a family style pot luck or a coursed dinner. Whichever you decide, the theme should strongly set the tone for the evening.
After the “we should all get together!” conversation has solidified the decision to gather a group, begin by putting together a list of all those you’d like to invite. Keep in mind the crowd you’re assembling. Temperaments, hobbies, interests, personalities will all either add to or take away from the experience of your dinner. Making sure that conversation flows freely between your attendees is a huge factor for success, and the guest list is where the magic begins.