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Dinner Party Time: Tips for Avoiding Fiasco

April 23, 2015

Here at Arro Home, we’re big fans of a decent dinner party. Friends, food, tunes, and booze – it’s a lot of the stuff we love. That said, while we’re always happy to sit ourselves down at the table, hosting a dinner party can be a tad stressful, especially if you’re under-prepared. To help you avoid a dinner party fiasco, we’re imparting a few words of advice. If you have any tips of your own, we would love to hear them!

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SET YOUR TABLE BEFOREHAND

Everything that you do before people arrive is something you won’t have to worry about when they’re actually in your house. Setting the table is an easy task to knock out of the way, so start by laying out some classy placemats. As well as being (a) super easy and (b) a classic entertaining task, it’s a great way to see how much space you’ll have. Then you can decide whether you’ll dish up in the kitchen or have people serve themselves at the table.

Now is also a good time to test run any flowers or candles you’d planned on placing down the centre. As a general rule, you want to make sure your guests can always see each other, so tall candles are best replaced with tea lights in tumblers.

ORGANISE YOUR BENCH TOP

If you’re planning to cook with your guests in the house, it’s wise to have your ingredients prepped and ready to go. You probably want to cook and talk – perhaps look a tad impressive – and that plan can go well awry if you have to spend half an hour searching for smoked paprika. If you have time, prepare things like chopped vegetables and measured spice mixes in advance, keeping them stacked in bowls or containers. When it comes to the actual cooking, make sure you have a few of our tea towels on standby for the inevitable spills. Safety first!

ANTICIPATE SOME CLASSIC DISASTERS

In the heat of dinner party pressure it’s easy to make mistakes that you’d normally avoid. A classic fail is to pull an impressive dish from the oven only to find that there’s nowhere to put it. We speak from experience when we say you’ll feel much less self-congratulatory about your four-cheese soufflé if you dump it on an unprotected table. A simple way to avoid the hot dish burn is to put a couple of potholders down the middle of the table. And if you own a few that you actually like the look of, you’ll be far more likely to remember them when it comes to setting up.

AND EXPECT THAT THINGS WON’T ALWAYS GO TO PLAN

No matter what you do to prepare for a dinner party, someone will bring their uninvited boyfriend, announce an aversion to gluten, or stain your favourite rug (btw we’re here to help). Preparation will ensure that a lot of things go right but, even so, things will always go wrong. Try not to stress. The unexpected is sometimes half the fun.