Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tips and Tricks to a Perfect Dinner Party!

I dont know about you, but planning big dinner parties tends to give me the stress-butterflies. You know what I’m talking about, the cooking, the shopping and the most important – the perfect atmosphere. So, with the holidays coming up in no time, I thought it would be a good idea to share a few tips and tricks to a perfect (stress-free) dinner party that I recently learned from the awesome OurKitchen team, as well as a few of my own tested tips that I find super handy on those eventful days.

* Always try to use seasonal foods as they are fresher, tastier and cheaper.

* Simple (few ingredients) dishes are always a YES and least stressful to make.
* Slow cooking meat will make preparation on the day much easier. You can prepare the meat in the morning and let it cook all day.
* You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have good wine that matches your food. Don’t be shy to ask your retailer for advice. Also, don’t forget about non-alcoholic homemade drinks for guests who drive. (I find serving minted rose water or lavender lemonade to be a huge hit with my guests).

* Always make a shopping list and don’t forget to include alternatives to avoid panic attacks (Pecans alternative: hazelnuts or walnuts).

* Fresh flowers, beautiful napkins, vanilla or fig scented candles (in a mason or vintage jars) and name tags will make your table feel welcoming and oh-so-snazzy!

* My favourite: give guests edible favors to take home (those little boxes  and snack bags are perfect for after-party treats or leftovers).

* One thing I find really helpful is a plate with cheese, fruits, nuts, jam and fresh bread before the dinner so guests can mingle and nibble while you put the finishing touches on the food. (This is my favourite combination, but this set up looks pretty cool too).

* For Balazs and I a bit of music in the background is a must. We find that jazz, Norah Jones, some Adele or blues relaxes people and puts them in a good mood.

* If, for some reason, the after-dinner conversation is not flowing, games will save the day. (We love Catchphrase, Taboo, Monopoly or Jenga).

Most of all, it's all about having the time of your life! Enjoy! Lovelies, what are your go-to party planning tips? Do share:) xo

P.S: Table setting rules.

(Thanks, Sara. Photos by Kinfolk, Marcus Gaab, rose & crown, A perfet counrty wedding, Sprouted Kitchen & Sunday Suppers)