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Entertaining for every stage of life

Kate Thompson juggles freelance writing and editing with being a wife and full-time mum to two young boys. She works with corporate clients to create copy for their publications and websites, ghost-writes e-books on far-ranging topics in...

Tips for hosting the perfect dinner party

From SheKnows Australia
Thanks to shows like MKR and MasterChef, as well as social media sites like Pinterest, our interest in food and our appreciation of fine dining is expanding rapidly. Whether it is a cocktail party, family potluck, Sunday brunch or something formal, your opportunity to entertain and host a dinner party has arrived.

Friends having a dinner party

Tips for hosting the perfect dinner party

Thanks to shows like MKR and MasterChef as well as social media sites like Pinterest, our interest in food and our appreciation of fine dining is expanding rapidly. Whether it is a cocktail party, family potluck, Sunday brunch or something formal, your opportunity to entertain and host a dinner party has arrived.

Entertain your friends with fun and practical dinner party ideas for every stage of life.

Singles

A cocktail party is perfect for singles but you don’t have to go all prim and proper, have fun with it and throw a Mexican margarita party. Your guests will automatically feel more relaxed and ready to mingle.

Invite

Make sure you invite a diverse crowd of work, school and sporting group friends but you don’t want more than 25 people. Forgo the text message and send an e-vite instead. Guests will get a feel for the theme of your party and you’ll easily be able to collate who is coming.

Serve

Finger foods are perfect for a cocktail party so get creative with spicy dips, mini tacos and nachos or quesadillas that are easy to make ahead of time and are attractive to serve. You could also make a taco or burrito bar if you want something more substantial — and don't forget the all-important margaritas.

Looking for the perfect margarita recipe?  >>

Atmosphere

Hint/tip: Have plenty of ice on hand as well as blenders. Alternatively, you could buy a mix or rent a margarita machine to simplify the process.

Don't bear the burden alone, plan your fiesta with a group of friends. Go for bright and colourful tablecloths, cheesy sombreros, blow-up cactuses and a piñata. Enhance the mood further with a music playlist including some of these classics: "La Bamba" by Ritchie Valens, "Hot, Hot, Hot" by Buster Poindexter, "Tequila Sunrise" by the Eagles and anything by Santana.

DINKS

Double-Income-No-Kids = time, money, location and inclination. Now is the time to go all out and host a "formal" dinner party.

Invite

In her new book The Perfect Host, Felicity Cloake says 6-8 guests is the perfect number for a dinner party. It is big enough to feel like a party but small enough that everyone can chat. To keep things interesting, invite a mixture of work colleagues, old friends, neighbours and family that you think will get along.

Serve

Food that tells a story makes for interesting eating as well as conversation. Try out the farmers markets or an international delicatessen for a few of your key ingredients. Keep in mind though that your menu shouldn't stress you out. Keep to a tried and tested recipe that can be made ahead of time.

Atmosphere

Hints/tips: Ask a wine specialist at your local bottle shop for their recommendation on pairing wine with the meal you have planned to serve.

Bring out your best dinner set, matching glasses and design a creative centerpiece and place settings. While music is key to any party, conversation is the most important ingredient in a dinner party so make sure to keep the music to the background.

Make your own classy table settings for your dinner party >>

Up next: More tips for hosting the perfect dinner party >>

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