When food is shared with friends and family, it tastes better. That ideal combination of good food and good company is why many of us end up saying “let’s have a dinner party.”
If you are familiar with hosting a dinner party, you are probably feeling calm and relaxed. But, for first – timers, putting on a successful soiree can be… overwhelming. The good news is that your gathering does not have to be intimidating. We’ve hosted hundreds of amazing gatherings across Mykonos and gathered some top hosting tips along the way. And now, we share these tips with you.
When you’re inviting people, lay everything out on the table: what do you want your guests to bring (perhaps a bottle of wine, if anything)? Is this a formal dinner party or a more relaxed dinner party? Do your visitors have any dietary restrictions?
Let’s see the dos and don’ts of a private dinner party:
Don’t: Forget about the beverages
You would be surprised how often drinks are overlooked when the focus of the pre-party is on the food!
Beverages are something you can prepare ahead of time: stock up on white and red wine, as well as a variety of non-alcoholic options, and store them in the fridge. If you don’t have a dedicated drinks fridge, be mindful of shelf space and make room for food that needs to be refrigerated. This is a good time to double-check that you have water and wine glasses for all of your guests. You don’t want to spend your time in the kitchen looking for glasses or washing them up.
Do: Make a party atmosphere
Dinner parties without a playlist are boring. Party and cocktail dinners need music, so choose your music carefully. Background music should be a non-negotiable rule for dinner parties, in our opinion. If you don’t want to be the DJ, ask a music-loving friend to spin tracks for the evening, or create a shared playlist that all guests can add songs to before the party.
Don’t: Forget about the table setting
Set the table and the mood. Your dining table is where the magic happens and you want your guests to be excited about the deliciousness that awaits them as soon as they walk in. Setting the table should be completed prior to the arrival of your guests. Place some nice table linen (if you have it. If you don’t we will take care of it) and placemats on the table. Your dinner party table will look best if you put out the entire dinnerware set for each guest: plates or bowls for mains, appetizers and desserts stacked from largest to smallest. When setting the table, make sure there’s enough room for the serving dishes when dinner begins. If there’s not, you can omit the dishes and make do with cutlery, glasses and linen napkins. If you’re more minimalist when it comes to decor, you can call on your pantry for table decorations: Small bowls of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt add a Mediterranean touch, while sprigs of rosemary and dried fruit spice up any cocktail glass.
Do: Pay attention on timing
A good dinner party is like a ballet: there’s a flow that tells a story. It starts out relaxed, it has a crescendo and the final act. Have the bottles opened and provide quick and easy appetizers or a simple plate of small bites for guests to nibble on while they get settled. Ask your guests to arrive no earlier than an hour before the first course. This allows some leeway for those who arrive a little later, but isn’t so long that guests get impatient.
We will let you know on our cooking timeline (usually 2 to 3 hours before the first course, depending on the menu).
Don’t: Neglect dietary restrictions
We are more aware of dietary restrictions than ever, so there’s hardly a dinner party that doesn’t involve at least one allergy or preference. Take your guests’ dietary restrictions seriously. Of all the tips we can give for dinner parties, this one is the most important, because your friends’ and families’ health is at stake. Inquire about your guests’ dietary needs early so you can plan accordingly, but don’t worry about it on the night. As long as there are options for everyone, your guests will be grateful.
Do: Leave it to the professionals
That’s exactly what we are here for! There’s nothing worse than planning a great dinner party and standing in the kitchen all evening and missing out on all the fun.
Catering from qualified chefs means that both guests and hosts will have a memorable and delicious evening. We can design a menu for any type of party: from intimate to extravagant, from BBQ to tasting.
Leave it all to us, so you can focus on simple tasks like toasting with champagne and putting together the perfect playlist. Enjoy this unique dining experience with ChefsMykonos on your side.