Do Ask Guests About Their Dietary Requirements. Back in the day people didn’t even ask guests prior to them coming over whether they had allergies or similar dietary requirements. However, these days it’s the norm. And it does help to know before deciding on the menu. You don’t want your guests to go home hungry. But don’t fall for clichés. For vegetarians, don’t limit yourself to just vegetables and a bowl of pasta. Or make things easier for yourself and simply buy a few free-from options instead or cook.
Don’t Over Complicate Food. Think sharing platters for starters, crudités and dips on the table to nosh, delicious artisan bread baskets and make two courses rather than the traditional three.
Don’t Overthink Puddings. A starter and a main is quite enough to serve but if you feel you need to finish the meal with something, steer clear of fussy desserts. Instead serve a big fruit platter and stick a bowl of ice in the middle of the table with mini Magnums or a giant bowl of Maltesers. Alternatively, a cheese platter always goes down well. And who needs cake after copious amounts of food and drink, anyway?
Do Cut Yourself Some Slack. Between the homemade signature cocktails, hand-stuffed olives, and individual crème brulées, it can be hard to remember that this is supposed to be a casual dinner party. Don’t sweat taking easy shortcuts like buying food in.
Do Pimp Up Your Drinks Around 50% of people are bored of prosecco. If your budget doesn’t stretch to champagne, pimp you your prosecco with lime, elderflower and more. Think outside the box.
Do Have A Ready-Made Playlist Background music is always a good idea. What with Spotify, Tidal and iTunes now readily available at our fingertips, don’t faff about making playlists for the evening, wondering what artists to include, instead let these apps decide for you. Spotify already make dinner party playlists, so you don’t have to.
Do Think About The Table. Dressing up a table always looks more inviting and if you’ve made little effort with homemade food, a dressed table will compensate. Lay beautiful linen tablecloths, beautiful serving dishes and cloth napkins that instantly lend a modern touch.
Don’t Let Your Guests Help In The Kitchen. Around 12% of people in Stoves’ survey think that hosts should let guests help with the cooking – but Harry thinks otherwise. “It is always best to keep guests separate as more often than not it can throw you off and be more of a hinderance than a help.”
Don’t Start Cleaning Up Until Everyone’s Gone Home. There’s nothing that says your host wants you out of their house like cleaning up whilst you’re enjoying your drink. Even if you just want do bits and pieces so clearing up at the end of the night isn’t so taxing, 26% of the public think it’s a bad move, and Harry notes that it can make people feel uncomfortable. “It can be an oddly divisive moment to start clearing up earlier, and can end the night of a slightly negative tone. So always wait until everyone has left, or unless the whole group volunteer to give you a hand. I always assume I'll be cleaning up myself, which actually makes me cook cleaner.”