How to host a dinner party | Berkeley Inspiration

How to Host a Dinner Party

Dinner parties are a delight - a chance to invite over your closest friends and family, to try your hand at some devilishly good cooking and to enjoy a glass of wine or two as the night winds down.

But when planning a dinner party, there's an awful lot to think about. What music are you going to choose? What should you cook? What post-dinner entertainment have you got planned? Whatever you have in mind, it's always best to get the main things organised well in advance to make sure everything goes smoothly.

So where do you start? Well, you can start with our handy guide to hosting your very own dinner party - below we've included our top five tips for wowing your guests with your hosting skills:

1. Know your audience

The best way to ensuring your dinner party goes as smoothly as possible is to get as good an idea as possible of what your audience likes, dislikes, can and can't eat. This may be your event, but more often than not, it's your guest's satisfaction levels that will make all the difference.

The most important thing is dietary requirements. Nothing derails a dinner party faster than someone who has an allergic reaction to something you've cooked. Also, remember to check if there are any vegans or vegetarians on the guest list - it's always worth cooking a separate meal without meat or animal products if there are, your guests will always appreciate it.

2. Play it safe

You might feel like your dinner party is your time to shine as a chef. While this may be the case, that doesn't mean it's a good idea to try a new, bold, delicate or complex dish that you've never cooked before. Any goodwill you'd gain for opting for something new can be quickly and swiftly undone if it tastes awful!

If you can cook something relatively straightforward, but cook it really well, that's the best way to get your guests on your side. You can always unleash your creativity through other avenues such as adventurous presentation perhaps, or by learning a couple of new cocktails to entice your guests through the door.

3. Pick out some appropriate music

One of the most important pillars of any good dinner party is the mood. Setting a relaxed atmosphere is something that all good bars and restaurants do, so you'll want to try to imitate them as much as you can, without copying them entirely.

Perhaps the best way of doing this is to pick out the right music for the event. You'll want to go for something muted, gentle and subtle - as much as you might enjoy heavy metal or techno, they do have the potential for upending conversation.

Having lyrics rather than instrumental music isn't a bad thing, just make sure they don't detract from you guests chatting.

Try to pick something that's uniquely you - muzak and lounge jazz are all very well, but they can be a little generic for a more intimate dinner party.

4. Plan it out

No one wants to come to a dinner party, sit down for a meal and then just depart afterwards. No, they want to be wined and dined, entertained and engaged with by the host as they chat and eat the night away. That might sound like a lot of work, but it actually isn't - as long as you plan.

When your guests arrive, make sure they have a space away from the kitchen with some appetizers set out to whip up their appetite. Leave them to get warmed up there for no more than 45 minutes and then invite them to the dinner table - keeping their glasses topped up as necessary. Go through starter, main and dessert if that's what you have planned.

One everyone's plates are licked clean from your spectacular cooking, invite them for some entertainment in the lounge - be it cards, board games or simple conversation before they head home.

5. Remember to enjoy yourself!

Sure, a lot of work goes into a dinner party, but all that work is worth very little if you aren't enjoying yourself. Try to pick a dish that doesn't require your constant attention in the kitchen so you can get out and mingle with your guests - you'll find it easier to relax that way, and your guest will appreciate your company.

Don't be afraid to ask your guests for a little help with some smaller and less messy tasks if things are getting overwhelming - just little jobs like putting some things back in the fridge from the workspace and grabbing the salt from a shelf. They'll more than likely be happy to help.

Finally - and we know it can be hard - try not to get too stressed! Almost every accident or mishap can be fixed so learn to take it in your stride and enjoy your dinner party!

Those are the Berkeley Group tips for how to plan and enjoy your very own dinner party! One thing we didn't mention is the impact a tasteful and modern home can have on your event - if you're looking to buy a new property, whether it's a well-appointed flat or a spacious contemporary house, we can help. Explore our complete collection of property listings at