Planing The Thanksgiving Dinner Party

The dinner party. That private and personalized French-flavored venue for socializing over fine fare, whether the guests be your firm’s partners or your old college roomies. This setting can intimidate even the most veteran of hosts without planning (and, yes, practice).

The intimidation of the dinner party can be broken down into three essential elements:

1. Dress yourself. Don’t diminish the fact that you are an integral part of the scenery and experience. However casual or formal, looking and feeling fabulous will up your confidence and let you focus on the event at hand.

2. Set your menu. Whether you bring in catering or perfect the coq au vin yourself, know well in advance what you will serve; and if you’re the chef, know how to execute the preparation with precision and good timing.

3. Get the setting right. Because the setting is one of the main characters of the evening, many factors contribute to its success. Formal seating or not, and who sits by who? Family-style on the table, formal service, or buffet-style? Red or white wine? China? Coffee bar or served at the table?

Get each one of these right, and you will be smelling social and gastronomical success along with that perfectly-risen chocolate souffle. Good luck and happy hosting.

Open atmosphere, good lighting, proximity and pleasant view of the kitchen, plenty of dining space: what more does one need? Set up an extra space along a side table for dessert and coffee service afterward. The chic eclecticism in the room simultaneously suggests deliberation yet casual fun.
Settings like this beautiful space are fantastic for mid-range-to-casual dinners. The table is enclosed all around, creating an intimacy and laid-back atmosphere for sitting for hours laughing.
Hosting in adjacent rooms like these allows for the prepared fare to be brought directly to the dining area, which then flows into a lounge area for when guests finish dining and are looking to socialize. At a more formal meal, the party can collectively move from the dining space into the extra area for coffee and dessert.
Hosting the party in an unexpected setting can enliven the atmosphere and help guests mingle during those in-between moments of drinks/dinner/dessert. A room filled with books adds a sort of unspoken intellectual sophistication, which really helps during that inebriated game of charades later on.
Another fabulous library dining setting. I think that the conversation becomes more interesting simply by sitting here eating.
The dining room as an extension of the kitchen itself suggests intimacy, and can not only make a casual dinner even cozier, but can put at ease professional gatherings.
This simple and elegantly understated dining room suggests great taste but no pretension–the host would clearly put off natural class without looking as if they tried too hard to impress, say, the boss.
Another unusual setting for dining, situated in a sort of wide hallway.
A modern, simple, and exquisite corner for dining with good company and a fantastic view. Only: white carpet and chair upholstery? Obviously not a venue for those friends with kids!
This dining table and chairs, matching the height of the kitchen cabinetry, creates a completely new experience. This is elegant and very grown up, but there is something fun and unexpected in it.
Another view. This is the perfect layout for setting up the food at the steel counter space, and allowing guests to easily go back and forth on their own.
Intimate and lovely. Brunch hosting instead of dinner party?
An unusual and very elegant setting. The sparseness and raw materials here are so so chic. Though the pieces here are not cheap, the space shows how style and atmosphere can be achieved with a few much-though-out (which doesn’t necessarily mean much-paid-for) choices.

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