Hosting a dinner party has loads of benefits: 1) You get to decide what’s on the menu, 2) It’s all your favourite people, and 3) Everyone comes to your place. But it also has a few stresses: 1) You have to cook the food, 2) What if people don’t get along, and 3) Did we mention, EVERYONE’S COMING TO YOUR PLACE?! If we’ve learned anything from the hours and hours of lifestyle TV we’ve consumed, it’s this – ample preparation is key to pulling of a seamless dinner party. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 10 must-haves to make your sit-down dinner 👍. Think of it as your pre-party to-do list. Check ’em off, then all that’s left is the food.
1. The table runner
Table runners are not just for your nan – they’re a great way to jazz up a plain dining table and set the feel for your meal. We’re a bit obsessed with this Banksia Table Runner in Navy (because it’s super chic and totally pays tribute to the local flora), but you should consider stocking up on a few, so you’ve always got one handy that fits the vibe of your bash.
2. The music
A party without music is… well, not really a party. Set up a nifty Kreafunk Asound Bluetooth Speaker and turn up the volume on your favourite playlist. Consider starting with upbeat tunes as people arrive and mingle (start quiet and turn the volume up as more people roll in), then switch to slower, easy listening tracks while people are eating and conversing.
3. The candle
You already scored a few points with the music, but to complete the atmosphere, you’ll need to call in the candle reinforcements. This Lychee and Black Tea Scented Candle smells totally divine (trust us, it’s burning in hardtofind HQ right now), and will make all your guests want to stay forever. Just extinguish the wick when you want them to leave.
4. The cocktails
First impressions count – so greet your guests at the door with a drink! You might switch to wine once dinner is served, but mixing up a classic cocktail on arrival is a winning host move. If you spent way too long finessing the prawn cocktails, leaving limited time to play bartender, pick up a set of Famous Four Classic Cocktails, then let your guests choose their fave.
5. The serving platter
Here at hardtofind, we are really easy guests to win over. Give us a martini and a slab of Camembert on a fancy platter (we’re looking longingly at this Personalised Longboard Australian Hardwood Serving Platter…) and we’re scoring you a perfect 10 on our episode of Come Dine With Me.
6. The cutlery
We never thought we’d see the day we got genuinely excited about cutlery, but since gold knives, forks and spoons became a thing, we’ve Pinterest-ing them like crazy. Of course, you don’t have to go gold (although this Malmo Cutlery Set is hard to resist), but a pretty cutlery set that compliments your dinnerware is a must.
7. The plates
What people eat off is almost as important as what they eat – or at least, that’s what we convinced ourselves when we wanted to splurge on these Mori Dinner Plates! If you’re going to host a sit-down dinner that would make Martha Stewart proud, a set of chic, matching plates is an easy way to make it all feel pulled together.
8. The glassware
Whether you opt for matching glasses, like this Eva Solo Facet Tumblers Set, or a delightfully eclectic assortment, making sure you have ample (clean!) glassware available for your guests. Jugs for water and handy ice-buckets to house gold bevvies make it a cinch for people to serve themselves and top up when needed.
9. The centrepiece
Just like you accessorise your outfits, you should totally accessorise your table. A statement vase (we’re going all heart-eyed for this Commissioned Eco Resin Vase), filled with some fresh blooms (steal them from your neighbour’s garden if you have to) is all you need to create a centrepiece that will make your table look ‘done’.
10. The game
If conversation starts to get stale, this What Would You Do? Table Topics will come to the rescue. Posing the question ‘what would you do?’ in situations that range from simple to serious, these provocative conversation starters should spark some lively debates – and keep your dinner party from entering Snoozeville!
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