They say girls just wanna have fun, but what they really want is to have dinner parties! Whether we can cook or not, there's a little hostess inside all of us. However, not all of us know about themes, table decor, good recipes to follow, or how to dress when it comes to throwing a dinner soiree. Here are some stylish ways to accessorize your next event.
First and foremost, no matter what theme you choose, make sure you stick to your personal style, something that you feel comfortable doing. Themes don't necessarily mean you have to dress up in costume (though if throwing a fiesta, murder mystery, 80s, or holiday themed party, why not dress accordingly?), what I'm talking about, is the food.
Whether you would like to go an ethnic route with Asian-inspired cuisine, keep it Italian for the night, pretend you're dining at a French bistro, or have some down-home cookin', you have to make a choice. Once the cuisine is chosen, the rest will fall into place. For example, if we pick an Asian-inspired menu, then your tableware, decor, and dress will follow suit.
Another great way to incorporate theme is through color, like possibly a lemon-lime party or a black and white party. There are many foods that will be easy to incorporate into your color palette of choice. Once you pick your theme, this will help you choose what to wear. If applicable, make sure you let your invited guests know the dress code as well.
Keep it as simple or as intricate as you would like, but for newbies, the easier the better. If you're a pro chef, feel free to go crazy. One thing to keep in mind is to have a good amount of dishes that are easy to make ahead of time or at least can get started beforehand. Another important factor when it comes to selecting the menu is the weather. For instance, if it's a summer day of 85 degree weather, you're not going to want to have a hot soup or stew as a featured menu item. You might want to opt for a cool watermelon salad or fruit salsa. When choosing your menu, you want to pick your main entree first and then work from there. Choose side dishes, appetizers, and desserts that will complement your main dish. Coffee and tea after dessert is also key in satisfying your guests at the end of the evening.
We all know how to arrange a place setting at the table, but how should we decorate it for our dinner party? In coordination with your theme, of course. There are some fun additions that can give the table that extra something besides just using cute serving dishes and unique tableware. Have fun with your napkins; cloth napkins aren't expensive and they add a taste of elegance to the table, as do nice tablecloths. Simply roll up the napkin like a diploma and add a napkin ring or even just tie a ribbon into a bow around the center.
Another great idea is a centerpeice, whether it's a vase of flowers, an arrangement of shimmering pine cones, candles, or something that reflects your theme. Dress up your table even further and please your guests with an inexpensive little gift on each guest's plate to complete the look. You could try individually wrapped fortune cookies, a nice little picture frame, an ornament if it's the holiday season, or a small box of candy. You can also get personal with place cards for formal seat assignments if you like. A menu card with the featured food courses is also a cute touch.
Set the mood with lighting and music. Depending on the time of year or the hour, you may want to dim the lights or brighten things up a bit, or you can keep it sultry and eat by candlelight. Music is always a plus as well. Of course, volume depends on if you're having a spicy fiesta or a relaxing dinner that's filled with good conversation. This goes for the genre of music as well. An easy way to do this is to just turn on one of the music channels on the television and pick your favorite. On the other hand, you can also take the time to create a playlist specific to your dinner party theme and needs. Be sure to include enough songs to carry on for the duration of the evening.
You also need to set the stage for the event. Arrange the furniture as you'd want it so that it's easily accessible to the guests and eliminate any clutter that may be lying around the house. Don't forget that decor isn't always limited to the table. Feel free to carry out your theme or decor in all of the rooms that guests may be walking around in. On a side note, you might want to check the medicine cabinets in any bathrooms that are available to your guests so that you can hide any undesirables. Lastly, be sure to designate a place for coats, preferrably so that they are out of sight.
images: hgtv.com, rock-ur-party.tablespoon.com