Dine and Punishment | Avoiding the Pitfalls of Party Planning

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I’m a born entertainer – no matter what the season, I relish every advantage presented to me.  For example, Winter for me means a few select guests, an open fire, scrumptious hot comfort food and delectable wines served over a candlelit dining table.

In Spring, I move the setting out to the undercover pergola and a more informal atmosphere takes over – often with the introduction of a theme such as an Hawaiian luau.

Summer of course shifts focus to the pool area with a barman serving drinks and a waiter passing around hors d’oeuvres.

Whatever the season, my main priority is concentrating on my guests having a memorable, relaxing time with delicious food and sparkling conversation.

Sounds perfect doesn’t it?  It is.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? It most certainly is not!

As anyone knows who has had a dinner party fall flat, it can be a baffling conundrum figuring out where you went wrong.  Allow me to highlight a few of the pitfalls so you can sidestep them and make your next party a roaring success.

Catering with Class

What would be my number one tip for anyone considering hosting anything from a dinner party to a full on garden wedding?  Easy – Leave everything to the experts.  Yes, you can probably cook enough food for 40 guests on your own and you can organise a friend to serve people drinks, but honestly, why would anyone want to spend their time worrying about food burning? Or stressing over who doesn’t have a drink in their hand?

The first time I tried it I said “never again”, and ever since then I have used a professional catering company. Personally, I utilise Diamond Blue Catering in Melbourne, as this ensures I have a team whom I can trust to take over completely, allowing me to relax and enjoy the society of my guests since that it the reason I am hosting in the first place.

Entertain and Engage

Set the scene with your attitude when welcoming guests.

Be bright and engaging and act like they are the guest of honour.  Introduce everyone and be inclusive, perhaps by drawing groups into conversations regarding things they have in common.  It comes in handy to have selected your guests well at this point (see below).  If you have arranged music, then keep it in the background so guests don’t have to fight to be heard over the noise.

To really break the ice later on in the evening you may like to bring out the karaoke machine or turn the volume up on a bit of dance music.

Guest List Guidance

Consider the personalities and foibles of your invitees when making up your guest list.  It helps if people know each other and get along well but this is not necessary as long as their temperament and interests complement each other.  Don’t forget to ask for any special dietary considerations on your invites as a guest who has to go hungry all evening due to allergies, is unlikely to have enjoyed themselves.

Child Challenges

When inviting guests from a particular demographic, you may find that many of them have small children, and are either unwilling or unable to leave them with a sitter.  When this is the case and you particularly wish for them to attend, it is a good idea to either supply a responsible person to entertain them or provide dvd’s, games, snacks and sleeping arrangements for the smaller tots.

Throwing a party should be a delight, otherwise why would we bother doing it!  It is like bringing together ingredients which all work together to create harmony.  Planning, preparation, and the right combination of people can go along way to making your next social function a hit.  By the way, I’m waiting for my invite…

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