Recently, I?ve been hosting parties at a club Downtown. However, prior to engaging myself in doing that I?ve quite often taken the role of a hostess at home – inviting friends over and hosting dinner parties. And despite my secret crave to spend some time alone at home,

watching films and indulging in delicious home-made popcorn, in reality this hardly ever happens. I somehow always end up having my friends over and splurging on dry white wine instead.

Well, a few weeks prior to the start of the Christmas party season, it seems more than fitting that I shared with you some tips and tricks for how to host a picture-perfect dinner party.
1. Make it Special: 
Even though most of the dinner parties I’ve hosted were quite random and unthemed, it?s quite nice to come up with a special reason to throw one once in a while. And believe it or not you can always ‘invent’ an occasion – just give it some thought as it might turn out that it’s your half-birthday this Thursday.
Actually, last year on Boxing Day, my girlfriends came over so that we could celebrate Christmas together. To make it all seem a bit more special, I’d prepared an inspiration letter for each and every one of them.
Also, during the evening, we all wrote down on paper our wishes for the following year in present tense, as if they have already been fulfilled (the law of attraction in action). Our letters are now neatly folded and hidden in one of my cupboards ready to be opened in a few weeks time. I?ll make sure to let you know whether our wishes have come true, as the thing is ? when you want something very badly and voice it out loud (in this case on paper) you start subconsciously working towards achieving it. Anyway! With Christmas just behind the corner – why not think pine leafs and pine cones for your table decorations? And do-not-forget to keep it simple! Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication!

2. Step up your game!
Rather than doing what you?d normally do when you have your friends over, it?s definitely worth to step up your game when you plan to host a special/themed dinner party. Take out the silver, lay your nicest tablecloth, layering sone linens on the top, and folding cloth napkins. To add some freshness to the room, place a vase full with flowers right in the middle of the table. Then to make it all seem much cosier – light some scented candles around the room and dim the main lightening. Also, if there is a TV nearby, please, don’t turn it on. Why not play some music as a background instead? And remember – as a host you are the one setting the example, so leave your phone away and let the conversations flow. And if your guests haven’t turned their chatty mode on –  pose a few questions, tell a story or two and throw in the occasional joke once in while. In no time the others will get into the talk while splurging in the delicious starters that you’ve prepared. 
Also, to add twist of elegance and sophistication to your party, pour some champagne or create a champagne-based cocktail (will be sharing with you a few recipes next week) and leave the glasses on a tray near the entrance. Prior to seating your guests invite them to have some. 
3. ?Last minute’ is not an option! 
Start with the preparations from a bit earlier than normal. Drop your guests an email to ensure that you’re aware of their dietary restrictions. It might turn out that a vegetarian is coming along and that you will have to prepare a veggie dish too. Also, it’ll be indeed quite horrific seeing that someone’s getting a rash while munching on your appetisers, don’t you think?
4. Do Not Depend On Your Guests
Even if your guests have promised to bring certain items with them, do not let yourself rely solely on that. It?s essential that you think ahead and stock up on the essentials: get a few more bottles of wine and water just in case, and leave enough toilet paper in the bathroom. It would be quite a nightmare if you run out of rolls right in the middle of the party!
5. Think out of the box, but stay in it! 
If you stumble upon a new and exotic recipe to prepare as your main course at your Asian themed dinner party – that’s certainly great. But why not test-make it a few days prior to the party? Last minute creativity and enthusiasm might end up having disastrous effect on the overall success of your party, which without any doubt, depends quite a lot on the food that?s being served. 
6. Don’t be restrained by your cooking skills
Come on! We do live in the 21st century and you don?t have to act like Jamie Oliver in order to impress your guests. In some occasions it’s actually much more sensible to order the food from a nice restaurant or hire a cook to do the dirty work for you, than spend hours doing something that you’re not particularly good at. 

7. Think First Impressions!
Even though the main dish is certainly the focal point of your menu, it seems to me that my guests spend quite a lot of time on the appetisers too. So prepare a nice seasonal salad; come up with some quirky and well-presented bites, and don’t forget to slice some French cheese for the wine. Just beware that you have to leave your guests half-full prior to the main course. You don?t want them to skip it, because they’re already feeling bloated. Also, I’d choose a particular ingredient around which the whole meal will be centred – will it be meat, cheese or fish-based? I find it pretty unthoughtful preparing courses that have nothing in common and expecting that people would enjoy eating them together. Pick a food-theme and stick to it!

8. The Holy Grail!
The Dessert, as the final course of the meal, is what will leave lasting impression on your guests. My suggestion ? come up with a few dessert options and pick the best 2 – one that’s chocolate-based and another that’s chocolate-free. Me? I‘d rather go for a selection of French Macaroons and some ice-cream. You can never go wrong with that, can you? In this way you’ll ensure that everyone can select the flavours they like best. Also, why not serve the desert away from the dining table ? move to living room, boil some coffee and finish the party off with chilled and relaxed talk.


9. Keep Cupid Out!
Even thought I do have some matchmaking skills, well, I do my best to restrain myself from revealing my Cupid talents at my a dinner parties. If there’s certain chemistry between some of my guests, believe it or not, it will be noticed without any additional assistance. So relax and let the magic naturally unfold.

10. Keep the apologies off the table
Even if you feel that something hasn?t gone down that well, don’t apologise as this might give off the impression that you?re begging for compliments. Also, the more cheerful and confident you are, the more positive energy you will be spreading around. At the end of the day noone’s perfect and your guests do know that. The fact that you?ve invested quite a lot of energy in throwing a party in the first place makes you already great enough of a host. Personally, I’m still struggling with my incessant attempts to be at my best at all times. However, trying a bit too hard might make it all seem way too off-putting. So relax and don’t worry if you think that something was performed poorly, as I’m pretty sure you’re the only one who’s noticed. 
12. The definite no-no
If you?ve received a gift that?s more than the standard bottle of wine ? then feel free to drop your friend an email and express your gratitude. Apart from that, you don’t need to worry about preparing ‘thank you’ notes. ‘The thank you’-s should be coming the other way around.
13. Say Yes!
Your guests will be more than happy to assist you during the party. No only will they feel more in the loop, but they will also get the chance to bond. And let’s be honest! Quite some weight will be taken off your shoulders too.
14. Be Flexible!
If you face someone uninvited at your front door, maybe your friend?s boyfriend has decided to tag along, just remind yourself Winnie the Pooh?s wittiest words: ?The more – the merrier?.
Quickly rearrange the table and seat your +1 guest.
15. Be ready on time!
There’s nothing worse than seating your guests and then rushing back to the kitchen to finish off the cooking. It’s your job to set off the uplifted mood and make everyone feel comfortable. Also, please please please, don’t force anyone having anything they don’t want to. You don’t want to act like an annoying granny, right?
16. Who’s gonna do the dishes!? 
Certainly not your guests. I have an OCD regarding that and I find it quite irritable waiting for everyone to be gone to start with the washing. Don’t be impolite and wait until everyone’s gone to turn the clean-up mode on! There’s nothing worse than waking up to a messy dining room that stinks of wine…
18. Ultimately at a certain point you should forget about the food and start cooking some great memories instead! You’ve organised the event with one main intention – to jointly have some great time! So, really, stock up on a lot of positive energy and make sure to spread it out.
The food and the atmosphere is about 30% of the overall success of your dinner party! It’s the chats and genuine laughter that will make your memories of it last forever.
And think that way: If something goes terribly wrong – you now have one more funny story to tell at your the next gathering. 

I’ll be hosting a dinner party quite soon and showing you step by step what I’ve decided to do. So stay tuned. 
And you, are you planning to host a dinner party soon? 
Lots of love,

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