8 Tips for Hosting Your Next Dinner Party

Times are starting to get back to normal. Time to start being social again!

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With summer in full swing, this may be the perfect time to plan and host a backyard dinner party.

Indeed, while summer is the classic season for a dinner party, you might also consider taking advantage of the temperate early days of autumn.

Regardless of the timing of your event, if you want your dinner party to be a glowing success, the key is all in the preparation.

Below are some simple tips that can help you host a backyard dinner party that your guests will remember fondly for years to come.

1. Think carefully about your guest list.

As a social event, ultimately, every dinner party is about its guests. So, planning a successful party starts with thinking carefully about whom you wish to invite and what each of them would appreciate in a dinner party.

It is wise to err on the side of inviting a smaller number of people rather than too many. It keeps the party more manageable, and also makes for a more intimate, exclusive experience.

Also, think not just about how you will interact with your guests, but how they will interact with each other. Make sure that you are inviting people who will get along.

2. Send invites out early.

If you want as many people as possible to RSVP in the affirmative, you should send out your dinner party invites as early as you can. Give everyone at least a few weeks’ notice.

Check around with those you want to invite beforehand to figure out what days and times may be best for everyone.

3. Prepare what you can ahead of time.

Take care of as many of the preparations for your dinner party as you can in advance before your guests arrive.

You should be able to get everything set up and decorated before your guests are present. You might still have to take care of some food prep while they are there, but try and get as much cooking done beforehand as you can. That way, you can give your guests more of your attention.

4. Set up a canopy tent for shade and shelter.

Nobody can have fun at an event where they are not comfortable. So, you should make plans for the weather, taking into account the different needs of your guests.

A perfect summer day for one guest could be uncomfortably hot and bright for another. By setting up a backyard canopy tent, you ensure that there is a comfortable spot to relax in the shade.

An affordable canopy tent also is wise for contingency planning. After all, the sunny day forecast for your dinner party could end up interrupted by some unexpected mid-afternoon showers. But under a canopy tent, your guests can stay dry while continuing to enjoy the outdoors.

5. Choose a theme.

To create the right ambience for your dinner party, consider picking out a unified theme for your event.

Depending on what you are going for, this could be something specific, i.e. "beach luau", or it could be something more general like a color scheme or decorative motif.

The theme can guide you in coming up with decorations, and might also give you some ideas for activities.

6. Ask your guests about special dietary needs.

When planning your menu for your dinner party, do not just think about what would taste good to you, but also about what your guests would prefer.

Food at a dinner party

Do not forget that some members of your party may have specific dietary requirements. They may have food allergies, or might choose not to eat meat or dairy products. Make sure that there are edible options for everybody who will be in attendance.

Also, try not to leave anyone out (i.e. do not prepare a spectacular wheat-based desert that the one wheat-intolerant person attending will not be able to enjoy).

7. Plan activities.

Your guests probably will not spend the entire time at your dinner party eating. To make sure that there are no awkward lulls in the event, plan some potential activities for your guests to enjoy. Backyard games like bocce ball remain popular pastimes for those attending summer gatherings. Board games are a classic option as well.

Do not forget to account for the ages of your dinner party guests when you are thinking up prospective activities. If there will be children attending the party, ensure that there is something age-appropriate for them to enjoy.

8. Remember to put safety first.

Last but not least, we are still living in the era of COVID. Indeed, at the time of this writing, we are seeing another spike in cases, this time for the delta variant. This variant is extra contagious.

Hosting an outdoor dinner party is certainly a safer option at this time than hosting an indoor dinner party. Nevertheless, it is important to continue to observe safety protocols, even outdoors.

Make sure you know the vaccination status of every person you are thinking of inviting as well as whether they may have recently been exposed to any potential carriers. Regardless of vaccination status, consider asking everyone to wear a mask to help to continue to prevent the spread of COVID.

Inform all of your guests about precautions you will be taking and asking them to take so that each of them can make decisions about their own health and safety.

Enjoy Hosting a Successful Backyard Dinner Party

When you are excited to host a backyard dinner party, it can be tempting to schedule right away and try to throw everything together last-minute.

But it is worth putting in the extra time and effort to plan a truly successful event, even if that means a few weeks of work.

Choose your invite list with care, give your guests plenty of notice, and set up a canopy tent in your backyard with comfortable seating and beautiful décor. With enough attention to detail, you can 'wow' your guests with every aspect of your event.