It’s party season, and unfortunately if you’re hosting a dinner there are more things to consider than how many bottles of wine to buy…

1. Decorating

Don’t blow the budget on buying new dining sets and decorations for your party – work with what you have. Invest in nice cookware that can go from kitchen to table and think of DIY ways to create a nice setting. Will you have a theme? Let people know if there are considerations they need to make (your fun picnic-style dinner party won’t be appreciated by anyone wearing mini-skirts). If you are having an extravagant centrepiece make sure to move it when guests sit down for dinner so that conversation can flow freely across the table instead of being blocked!

2. Social positioning

Think about the different personalities coming to the event and how best to arrange them. Put introverts next to outgoing entertainers, and anyone difficult put next to yourself. Place namecards if this will help to construct free-flowing conversation.

3. Room to move

Consider how much space you have to work with before you invite guests. Divide the square footage of your home by five, which is the approximate number of feet each guest will need in personal space, and you have the number of guests you can comfortably fit. Remember, you will probably have a few invitees RSVP ‘Not attending’ and one last-minute pull out, so you can invite a few more than your first estimate. Consider space at your dinner table, and if you don’t have enough places for the guests you’d like to invite, consider holding a standing party with plenty of hors d’oeuvres.

4. Prepare for guests who are staying over

Consider the beds (or bed substitutes) you will need, work out if you need to invest in an air mattress, and create a space for overnight visitors. Buy mini-toiletries to avoid sharing your own expensive shampoo, and assign a different towel and washcloth colour to each guest so they can identify their own. If guests are staying a little longer, a clothes rack for them to hang their belongings on is a nice touch – also consider what they can put their suitcase on to make it more accessible than the floor.

5. Food and beverages

Find out early if guests have allergies, intolerances or other preferences – before you work out the menu for your dinner party. Offer a signature cocktail or bowl of punch, and if guests are bringing their own alcohol don’t forget to clear space in the freezer or esky. For parties with over 30 people consider hiring a bartender who can circulate and replenish drinks. Remember that guests will consume approximately 6-10 appetisers per person and at least one drink per hour – plan your catering around this!

What are your tips for hosting dinner parties? Let us know your tricks for making parties easier!