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.
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.
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.
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.