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I love entertaining at home, and being the host of an evening where everyone has fun. It doesn't take a lot to put on a great dinner party. All you need are an interesting group of people, good food and plenty of drink. Some people like to toss in some entertainment too, but usually the conversation is enough to keep everyone happy. If you've never had a dinner party before or your last one was a disaster, you might be worried about it. However, it's easy to get it right if you just follow my golden rules.
Invite Compatible People
You don't have to invite all your friends to every dinner party. For one thing, you probably don't have room. But also, don't presume all your friends will get along just because they like you. It's important to be able to recognize when they might not be able to get along with each other. For example, it may be best not to invite your logical, science-minded friend to the same party as your hippie, spiritual friend. Not that they would be incapable of a civil conversation, but things could end up getting heated. Try to invite people who are compatible with each other so everyone gets along.
Choose a Menu You Can Manage
It's easy to get carried away with deciding what you're going to cook. You want to put on a magnificent spread that everyone will love. But you can't spend all evening in the kitchen because you'll be abandoning your guests. You need to pick something you can make while you stay engaged with the party. It's a good idea to do something where you can prepare most of it in advance. Then you can either put it in the oven or quickly finish it off just before you need to serve. It's also a good idea to choose sharing dishes. It can be more social and everyone can serve themselves.
Keep the Drinks Flowing
You need to make sure that everyone always has a drink in their hand, whether it's alcoholic or not. Keep checking up on everyone, although be careful not to be always asking if anyone wants a refill. Try having different drinks for various stages of the evening. You could offer prosecco or cocktails as everyone comes through the door. Then move on to wine with dinner, and then have something harder after dessert. On special occasions, take out something a bit more expensive to share. You can do a Macallan 18 price check online, and find out how much other spirits cost too. Don't forget to provide plenty of water, and offer some other soft drinks too.
Be the Glue of the Party
As the host, it's up to you to hold everything together. Introduce people who are looking a little awkward and prompt conversation when it goes quiet. Just don't panic if things aren't going swimmingly at the beginning. You should all get into the swing of things soon.
Dinner parties are great ways to have some adult fun. If you're not sure what to do with the kids, getting them set up in another room with a DVD can be a good idea.
Disclosure: This is a contributed post.