Eight rules to abide by when hosting a dinner party.

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Multi ethnic group of friends having new year dinner party, everyone enjoying in food and drink

The words “I’ll host!” slipped off my tongue a little too fast a few weeks ago when discussing the topic of my close friend, but would rather call her sister’s upcoming birthday festivities. At the time, the thought of a dinner party in my home was basically a dream of mine. Although I am constantly shifting furniture and rearranging pictures on the walls, company is not really something we do often. Don’t get me wrong, I am constantly surrounded by friends and filling my home with laughter, but never in a formal setting.

The feeling of genuine exhaustion of post party haziness still lives on in my body four days after the dinner party that I hosted this past Saturday night. With a head count of 13 after including myself, I knew that I was going to be very busy for the next few days. 

After a thorough clean of the house, and a lot of mumbling to myself about the things that I did wrong this past weekend, I have compiled a list of rules to abide by when having a formal dinner party. 

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Rule one: Make sure that the food is warm, or someone will say something and you will get your feelings hurt. 

Although this rule seems very obvious, who wants to eat cold food? The utter embarrassment of sitting at the head of your dining table and watching as everyone bites into the asparagus that you served and seeing their faces of a bit of discomfort as it had cooled to room temperature. I pursed my lips as everyone around me assured me that the food was fine, but I still see their faces haunting me in my head. I have decided to invest in a heat lamp from Rural King for my next occasion.

 

Rule two: If you use real china, put it in the dishwasher or you will regret it. 

Now I know, this is frowned upon and wrong, but I would just like to say that if it isn’t sentimental, throw it on the rack. Leading up to the party, I was scrubbing my Noritake china by hand, and I was so very over it. After everyone had eaten and gotten up from the table for parlor games, I remained seated, being daunted by the mountain of dirty dishes that sat before me. As people left and a small group of friends hung around, I rolled up the sleeves on my floor length gown and began to scrub. After about five minutes and only having one plate truly clean, I swung the door open on my dishwasher and acted as if I was oblivious to the sounds of my ancestors in my head telling Aaron Robert to stop what he is doing.  

 

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Rule three: Be prepared for people to touch your things.

This one was a bit hard for me as I am one of those people who will put an item at a very specific angle to give the full fantasy that I am always striving for. To me, my house is art, and I forget sometimes people have to be here, and that they will inevitably disrupt things. I didn’t notice it at the party at all, as I was too anxious for things to go right I could barely converse, but as I walk past things in my home, I will notice that a bust is looking the wrong way, or that my little lambs have been played with and that everything looks slightly different. 

 

Rule four: Be prepared to drop a decent penny on the silliest things. 

Did anyone know that one table cloth costs 15 dollars? A plain white table cloth costs that much, and I needed two of them. Not to mention the price of literally anything nowadays. If you are a perfectionist like me, expect to drop a fat wad of cash on things that match. I somehow convinced myself that I needed to buy all matching cutlery and all matching water glasses. 

 

Rule five: Talk to everyone.

My biggest mistake while running around like a chicken with its head chopped off was not giving everyone a proper conversation. I feel as a host, I should have sat down at some point with everyone and talked one on one with every guest that entered my home, but I didn’t. I was too worried about everything being as perfect as possible. 

 

Rule six: If you can afford it, hire help. 

Holy crap do I wish I was some big millionaire with gobs of money, throwing it at people to do things that I don’t want to. The most annoying thing to me was having to keep getting up while being surrounded by friends and family to get the next course, which was of course, cold. Of course, everyone thinks that life would be easier with some sort of butler and footmen, and I had to remind myself that this isn’t Downton Abbey. 

 

Rule seven: Do not over pepper the soup.

Oh it was just hilarious to make a nice vegetable broth soup, just to serve it scalding hot and watch everyone’s faces turn a rather red color after taking a spoonful of soup. After serving cold asparagus, I had to laugh at the temperature and the amount of pepper I put in the soup being too hot. As I dug into my soup, enjoying the fruits of my labor, I noticed that everyone else seemed to be pushing around their cabbage and celery in their bowls. I smiled as I dabbed my lips with my napkin, removing myself from the table to bring out the next course. 

 

Rule eight: Have fun 

I hope that this rule just happens without force, but try to have fun. Dinner parties are oh so exhausting, but extremely rewarding. If not for seeing the labor that you put into your home to make it more than suitable for your guests, then to taste the love and hard work you put into the food. 

I learned a lot during this dinner party, and I took notes to make sure that next time is more smooth sailing. I definitely encourage anyone to take on the challenge, as it is something that is sort of being lost in society, and is a bit of a reflection of a bygone world, without really needing to be. Get your closest friends and family, and bring back a bit of pomp and circumstance into your life. 

 

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