How To Win At Dinner Partying

Dinner Party

It’s actually quite easy to throw a lovely and memorable dinner party about which your guests will long remark with pleasure.

There are just three factors you must ensure are in place. To throw a great dinner party at your home, you need only:

  • A large and well-appointed residence
  • A large sum of disposable income
  • A large share of personal charisma

If any of those conditions is going to be an issue for you, the best way to augment the event is to offer copious amounts of alcohol. Also people like when there are lots of little bowls filled with snacks, especially that “Asian” salty snack mix with the sesame sticks and dried peas that is about as genuinely Asian as a boiled potato. But whatever, that stuff is delicious.

In all seriousness, the only real factors to throwing a great dinner party are to invite a group of people that will mesh well and to take time to plan your menu well ahead of time. That also includes planning the timing of appetizers, dinner, and desert so that you (and your co-hosts, if applicable) can be as present and stress-free as possible even as you prepare and serve some fine foods.

To make a dinner party more unique and enjoyable, you need not fundamentally re-think the whole premise, you only need to add a few twists to the standard recipe of plenty of cocktails followed by way too much food followed by way more cocktails.

Here are three ideas that will ensure your next dinner party is a step above that evening Chad and Charlotte hosted last month. Because by the way, yes, one of the main reasons any of us throw dinner parties in the first place is just to show off. Admit it.

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THE DUAL THEMED DINNER PARTY

Themed parties are great fun if done well. While many among us might have outgrown the toga or tiki party, a more subtle theme can add just the right amount of charm to an evening, and can also make breaking the ice much simpler among guests not previously acquainted. Examples of more approachable themes include throwing a decade themed party, a black tie level of event, or the good old wine and cheese soiree.

But to make the party truly enjoyable, consider throwing an event in which one half of the attendees are told one theme, while the other half are given different directions. This can work well when the two themes are at odds, such as telling half the attendees to dress in ballroom attire while the others are advised to go with a NASCAR theme. It can work even better when the two themes don’t so much contrast with one another but rather are laughably unrelated. No one will soon forget your Ugly Christmas Sweater and Lusty Pirate Party, for example.

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THE SEASONALLY INAPPROPRIATE PARTY

Do you love Thanksgiving dinner but, lamentably, find yourself in the month of May? Are dreaming of a summer cookout replete with burgers, dogs, grilled corn, and baked beans from the depths of a dark December? Stop dreaming, call your friends, and start cooking! There’s no reason to not to throw a party inspired by a season or holiday many months in the offing beyond your own crippling cowardice and inability to think in a dynamic manner!

To really hit the nail on the head with this out-of-season party idea, consider throwing dinner parties on the date that is diametrically opposed to the correct date of the actual holiday. That would mean a Christmas themed party in late June or a New Year’s Eve themed bash in early July. And who doesn’t love a patriotic barbecue in the middle of the coldest, darkest part of the winter? Another bonus here?When you throw a seasonally inappropriate party, you also get the benefit of enjoying a favorite holiday twice in the same year.

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RUSSIAN ROULETTE RAVIOLI

This is one of the simplest yet most hilarious ways you can take your dinner party up a notch. Plan a fine dinner party complete with all the hors d’ouvres, drinks, and decor you desire and make sure that a great homemade ravioli is to be served as the main dish. This ravioli can be any you wish, from ham ricotta to goat cheese with spinach and so forth. Also of course choose your favorite sauce or sauces to serve atop those fine pasta pockets.

Here’s the catch: one out of every ten or fifteen raviolis? Stuff it with pure minced jalapeño pepper. Or with red pepper flakes. Or go more benign, moving away from the hot stuff and instead going for something unexpected but not unpleasant, like a spoonful of crushed almonds. If you’re an absolute monster you can go the route of using peanut butter, relish, and so forth, but the hot peppers always get the most comic reactions at the table. Also be a decent human being and don’t go hotter than a habanero.