Dinner Party Perfection

Outdoor Dinner Party at Airlie


Throwing a dinner party? Save your sanity with these simple tips from the planning team at Airlie. Our Signature Dinner Series finale for 2015 is coming up next month, so this post is especially near and dear to our hearts.

The fun part.
While we can all agree a dinner party is fun “just because,” a theme is a great way to add pre-event excitement. Before you wear yourself out pouring over Pinterest, start with a season and go from there. For example, fall is a great time to showcase the flavors of harvest. Think apples, squash, pumpkin, cider, wine, etc. Beyond your menu, the chosen theme will also help the feel of your event evolve through invitations, linens, and décor.

The guest part.
A dinner party is a great way to introduce people from your different circles. However, when deciding the guest list, consider your capacity and plan accordingly. Are there common interests that may spark conversation?

The invitation part.
Other than answering the obvious questions of who and how many, a formal invitation and response process will set the tone for your event. In addition to unveiling the theme, your invitation lets guests know the formality of the dinner and what is expected of them in terms of attendance. Be sure to use this opportunity to ask your guests about any food allergies, so you can plan accordingly.

The planning part.
As they say, plan the work and work the plan! Start with a timeline that spans from choosing your theme to taking the first sip of your signature cocktail, and includes everything in between.

Here is a sample checklist:
Airlie Dinner Party Table Setting

4 weeks out:
• Choose Theme
•  Create Guest List
•  Send Invitations

3 weeks out:
• Plan menu
• Order linens
• Take inventory of all kitchen accouterments, cookware, tableware and glasses

2 weeks out:
•  Choose music and create a playlist
•  Clean your fine dining pieces such as crystal, silver and china

1 week out:
•  Clean the house; be sure to remove any items from the bathroom that guests will use during the party.
•  Arrange furniture in seating and dining areas
•  Create a seating chart

The week of:
• Shop for food and beverages
• Decorate
Table Flowers from the Garden

The day before:
•  Cut or purchase fresh flowers
•  Prep and/or cook as much as possible
•  Do a clean sweep of the house

The day of:
•  Finish prep and cooking
•  Wash and put away as much cookware as possible
•  Set the table
•  Get ready for the party, relax, and enjoy!

Of course, if all of this sounds a bit much, consider hosting your party at a restaurant or event venue. We recommend hosting outside the home at especially busy times such as the holiday season.

Best of luck! Enjoy the company of your guests over a wonderful meal, and don't forget to have fun!



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