Dinner Party Do’s and Don’ts

Dinner Party Do’s and Don’ts


Its all well and good cooking something that you would like to eat, but consider the tastes and preferences of your fellow diners. There’s bound to be someone who hates mushrooms, has an allergy to garlic, or cannot stomach shellfish. Your menu should be subtle and should appease those who are coming over to eat. Don’t be too adventurous, try dishes that are classic, enjoyable and not too time consuming in the kitchen (there’s nothing worse than an absent host!). Remember that, if you are going to be cooking three courses, there is going to be lots of food on offer. Opt for light starters and refreshing desserts to cleanse the palette. Last but not least, let your guests know what they can expect before the night – you don’t want to find that your guests are unwilling to eat your food on the night of your actually dinner party.

The table

If anything the food should come second to the dressing of the table! Create an environment that is warm and inviting. You will probably find that, if the table is nicely dressed, your guests will be more likely to enjoy the meal. Cutlery should be clean and neatly placed and glasses should be sparkling. A nicely folded napkin goes a long way also.

Add the wow factor to your table with flowers, candles, balloons and sparkles but don’t go overboard – they will only get in the way and annoy your guests!

Make sure that each of your diners has enough personal space to enjoy the food without creating great, huge divides. They will want enough room to lift their elbows, but will need to be close enough to others guests to be able to hold an intimate dinner conversation.


There’s nothing worse than going to a dinner party and have to eat in silence. Break the tension with some music, preferably something instrumental. You want the music at a level that is loud enough to hear, without drowning conversation. If the drinks are flowing and everyone is enjoying themselves, try turning up the music to create more of a party atmosphere. If you are unable to provide music, come up with a list of conversation topics for the table. Not only will these keep the chatter flowing, but you might find out some interesting things from your guests! Good topics of conversation can range from politics to fashion.

Dress Code

Whilst it’s nice to create a formal atmosphere for your dinner party, you don’t want your guests to be uncomfortable. Black tie is probably too formal for a dinner party. Why not suggest a smart/casual dress code. That way your guests can make an effort whilst wearing something they enjoy. If you operate a strict no denim, no trainers rule then say so on your invitation – if your guests are nice people they will be happy to oblige.

Why not attribute a theme to your dinner party. Create a themed menu and ask your guests to wear a themed outfit. This will break the tension amongst your guests and will create a great topic for conversation.


The key to a good dinner party is preparation, preparation, preparation! Get your menu and home ready well in advance to minimise panic and distress. Remember, a clean home is a happy home – so give your place a whip round before your guests arrive (there’s nothing worse than a dirty loo). If you’re less than a dab hand in the kitchen then why not hire a restaurant or private hire company to arrange the catering for you. That way you can relax and enjoy spending time with your guests rather than spending the entire night in the kitchen.