What You Need to Know
- Some store-bought food is fine: You don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen away from your guests.
- For the cocktail hour, serving wine or beer is a lot simpler. Have sparkling water and soft drinks for the nondrinkers.
- Conversation is the main ingredient of a dinner party. Draw your guests out so that everyone has a chance to speak.
The lockdown has eased. The masks are coming off. People are getting together again. There is enormous pent-up demand for “something to do.” Inflation is making life more expensive. Since you have become friends with some of your clients, this could be a good time to host a dinner party and invite them into your home.
This idea is not for everyone, but it is appropriate for many financial advisors and insurance agents. The major factor holding you back might be that dinner parties seem intimidating.
Rather than make the case that they are not intimidating, I will make two suggestions: Consider buying the book “Brunch Is Hell: How to Save the World by Throwing a Dinner Party” (Brendan Francis Newnam & Rico Gagliano, 2017). I first heard about it on PBS radio, and I bought it on Amazon the same day. It is both hilarious and easy to follow.
The second suggestion is to visit YouTube and search for the British TV series “Come Dine With Me.” You will find plenty of episodes. The premise is four (or five) strangers each host a three-course dinner party and are scored by their fellow contestants/diners. It is very funny.
10 Steps to Hosting Your Own Dinner Party
The book and YouTube videos will teach you plenty, but here are the major ideas to get you thinking:
1. Half of the food can be store-bought.
Hosting a dinner party does not mean everything must be made from scratch. TV cooking programs can be intimidating. On the other hand, sending out for pizza does not count as a dinner party. You must put in some effort.
2. Set the scene.
You will need a table, chairs, plates, glasses, cutlery and linens. Whatever you do not own, you can borrow or rent. You want to set a nice table. You can learn how to do this online or by asking people you know who entertain. Put another way, your table at home should look similar to what you see when you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant.
3. Drinks before dinner.
Unlike in a restaurant, guests should not be greeted at the door and shown to the table. You should sit around and make conversation over drinks and munchies. Serving cocktails is fine, but serving wine or beer is a lot simpler. Have a cooler nearby. You want sparkling water or soft drinks for the nondrinkers.
Munchies can be store-bought. You could even do a cheese platter with grapes, nuts and dried fruit. Bearing COVID in mind, I have tried setting up individual plates of munchies, so that everyone is not reaching into the same bowl.