10 Tips for Hosting a Stress Free Dinner Party.
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Hosting a dinner party doesn't have to be a stressful nightmare. Remember that the ultimate goal is for you to be a guest at your own party, relaxed, and having fun without worry! Enter the reasoning for hiring a private chef for a dinner party.
Step 1: Don't overload the guest list!
Many of our hosts & hostesses think that a dinner party needs to have a huge guest list in order to be a success, then often run into problems with things like their dining space feeling cramped & crowded trying to fit 14 people at a table built for 8. That dusty card table you have in the garage really isn't comfortable or suitable for a quality dining experience. Pair down the guest list to no more guests than can comfortably fit in your chosen dining space. Remember that small, intimate dinner parties will create better quality memories, than a huge room full of people scattered about that have to yell across the table to talk to each other.
Step 2: Check for any special needs from your guests.
You don't want to have to experience the panic of finding out one of your guests is medically diagnosed celiac, doesn't eat meat, or worse has a life threatening allergy to shellfish, and you've got lobster on the menu tonight. Be proactive and poll your guests at the time of invite, ask if anyone has any physician diagnosed medical conditions, or food allergies that would impact their dining experience or your menu item selection. Compile a quick list with the name of the guest and their needs, forward it over to AWG Private Chefs and we will insure that the menu can be customized to make all guests needs are fully taken care of.
Step 3: Tidy things up well in advance!
A day or two before your event, clean the house & de-clutter the kitchen! Check things like your stock of toilet paper & hand towels in the restroom. Remove all knife blocks, house plants, small appliances, and area rugs from the kitchen. It's ok to leave the gel mats down.. Make sure that you have an ample supply of dishwashing soap, dishwasher tablets or gel, garbage bags, and both your dishwasher & garbage disposal are working perfectly. If your dishwasher is on the fritz, or you don't have one, please let us know right away so we can bring in additional staff to hand wash dishes for you. Also clear out at least 1-2 shelves in the fridge for your chef to use during your event. This is a great opportunity to go thru the fridge and purge all those expired science experiments lurking in the back!
Step 4: Set the table in advance!
Many of our host & hostesses prefer a more casual & relaxed dinner party where the food is served family style, on platters brought to the table for the guests to serve themselves in lieu of the formality of having a server or butler serving the guests. If you've opted for this more casual approach, set the table a day or two ahead of time. If you aren't sure what you will need for your specific menu, simply email or call us, and ask our concierge for assistance. Also if you don't have enough china, silverware, glassware, napkins, etc. for your event, no worries! Our concierge can take care of that as well for you, just let us know as early as possible.
Step 5: Candles & Floral Arrangements
If you are planning on having candles on your table for the event, it's always a good idea to use at least 6 hour burn time candles that are unscented. Candles that are scented can sometimes set off a guests allergies, and can also detract from the food and beverages you will be enjoying. Now isn't the time for a row of your favorite heavily rose or perfume scented candles down the middle of the table.
Simple floral arrangements that are no higher than 12" are a great addition to any table. You can normally pick these up from a local florist, or even a grocery store floral department for quite an affordable price. Choose a color that compliments your home decor colors and style. Here is a list of flowers to avoid in your table top floral arrangements.
Step 6: Music always sets the mood.
Head on over to your favorite music streaming service like Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio, and select a prefabbed dinner party themed playlist. Spend a few moments listening to the tracks in the playlist to insure that it meets your desired theme, mood, and tempo of the evening. We all have our playlists that we've created ourselves, but trust us when we tell you, that inevitably in the middle of a dinner party, when a client is playing their own playlist, some gangster rap or death metal will magically sneak into the mix and raise more than a few of your guests eyebrows. Instrumentals, smooth jazz, guitar, and piano mixes are some great places to start. Always make sure that the playlist has at least a 3-6 hour run-time so you don't have to worry about getting up in the middle of your event to change the music. Set it, and forget it!
Step 7: Your event is about to begin! Now what?
It's just a short time until your guests arrive, and you've just finished getting ready. What do you do now?
Stop and take a moment, take a deep breath, and go pour yourself a glass of wine, or make a cocktail, turn on that playlist, and simply just relax. Your chefs are busy at work in your kitchen preparing an amazing menu created especially just for you and your guests.. Now is the time to sit back, relax, and chill for a few moments before your guests arrive. You deserve it.
Step 8: Guests will always be late! It's ok!
No matter how early you tell them to arrive, your guests will inevitably always be late. Don't stress over it! We all know those guests who are always "fashionably late", tell them to show up 30-60 minutes prior to your desired event start time. This will allow ample time for a cushion to get them there along with the rest of your guests so that you all can begin to dine together. If at any point you have a guest who is going to be delayed more than 15 minutes past your event start time, kindly let your chef team know as soon as possible to allow for adjustments on your menu service times to insure quality of your ingredients. There are some dishes that don't hold very well.. so let us know ASAP!
Step 9: Dine at your own pace!
One of the best things about having a private chef is that you and your guests can dine at your own relaxed pace. Want a few more minutes between courses to talk? Like a break between dinner and dessert for an activity, conversation, or perhaps just to relax? You got it! Just let your AWG Private Chef team know your desires, and we can make them happen for you!
Step 10: No dishes or cleanup to worry about!
Most people say one of the best things besides our food and service, is the fact that there is no kitchen to cleanup, no dishes to do, and no trash to take out after their event. Once you've finished your last course, the table will be cleared for you, your dishes loaded into the dishwasher, kitchen surfaces cleaned & sanitized, and the trash taken out for you, all while you get to enjoy spending time with your guests. Once cleanup is complete, your chef team will thank you and your guests for the opportunity to serve you and discretely depart, leaving you and your guests to enjoy and revel in your private dining experience.