So, we throw a lot of dinner parties, and I mean a lot. It’s our Biz, but we also throw a bunch for our friends because we simply love entertaining at home. Nothing, to us beats sitting around and catching up with friends, deep discussions and laughter aplenty.
Without meaning to sound boastful, we do throw a damn fine dinner party and we are lucky that our friends love to tell us so. Something else our friends mentioned is our attention to details when it comes to the simple things and it got us thinking…
Maybe we should whip up a blog post giving mention to those small simple things that can really make a difference, that can really make entertaining at home all the more special…
At Your Table’s 8 Simple tips for entertaining at home
- Turn down the lights
- Turn up the music
- Enjoy being the Host!
- Opt for some pre-dinner nibbles
- Don’t get bogged down by cleaning
- Use place cards
- Time the meal right
- Prepare the kitchen for the aftermath
1. Turn down the lights
Good ambiance is always important, in fact we would almost go as far as saying it’s equally as important as the food!
Ambience is simply broken down into two points. The rest will the follow.
First comes lighting,
When it comes to lighting up your party, if you can avoid overhead lighting as this can really help create a great ambience. Instead use table and floor lamps, string lights, and candles, they are perfect for this. They feel more relaxing for the guests.
2. Turn up the music
As for music, we often touch on this topic. It’s easy to get right, and when you do it really does create the best atmosphere… Nothing beats amazing music, even if it is at a background volume.
We have a few tips for creating playlists, but as we are focussing on ‘Simple’ tips for entertaining at home lets opt for simple. Follow other people, that’s all you have to do.
Next time you go to a great café, playing groovy background beats follow them on Spotify. Usually they will have public playlists and you can simply use these at home!
3. Enjoy being the Host!
When you’re entertaining at home and friends come over, let them be the guests!
Ie. You are the host, and you should enjoy it, you should own it.
You get to choose the food, you choose the music, (from the cafes playlist but all the same) and you choose the wines…
All they should need to help with, is the choice of conversation topics…
Start by pouring yourself a drink before anyone else arrives — welcoming guests into your home with a smile and drink in hand will make them feel comfortable instantly.
Be confident, make them feel like a guest!
4. Opt for some pre-dinner nibbles
This all comes down to timing, sometimes you want to go straight into a meal, however we really enjoy a few small snacks to have with that first drink. More often than not at least one of your guests will be starving, feed that hunger.
Keep it simple, maybe some cheese, maybe just some olives and grissini or even just a plate of Oysters.
Wouldn’t you enjoy a drink and an oyster within moments of arriving at a friend’s place? Of course, you would.
5. Don’t get bogged down by cleaning
Entertaining at home? So, you have almost definitely antagonised over the cleaning…
Thankfully, a clean home doesn’t have to mean spending hours scrubbing your floors. Here’s what we do:
Focus on anything at eye level, mantels and bookshelves and of course the area in which you dine. Most people do not really care how clean your house is. Let alone if you are feeding them oysters and a three-course dinner.
We already told you to distract them with dim lighting and good music, they are not focussed on the dust in the bottom corner of your dining room.
6. Use place cards
Place cards make everything feel a little bit fancier, don’t they? We did this once at home with some left-over card from the kids and our friends loved it.
The next time we had them over, we did it again and used their nicknames, they loved even more!
It’s a nice simple touch for next time you’re entertaining at home.
7. Time the meal right
You don’t want guests to feel like they need to sit down at the table the moment they get there. You also don’t want them to be standing around for too long before the main course is ready.
We opt for about 45 minutes to an hour until we serve food. If you are shucking those oysters like we recommended then an hour is good. That leaves plenty of time for appetizers, introductions, and your friend who is always late — without having so much time that people begin to check their watches.
8. Prepare the kitchen for the aftermath
The kitchen will get messy, it’s always going to happen. That’s why we prep it a little before things get started.
Clear any unnecessary junk from the kitchen bench, move the mail, move your keys etc. Start the night with clean surfaces. Empty the dishwasher, then after the first course you can use it to hide the first round of plates. We also have a little corner in the kitchen that we clear, stacking all the dirty dishes here. It’s simple, but it works. It keeps things looking tidy.
Then fill the sink with some hot soapy water, dump the pans in here. The suds will hide the truth, just a little and you can sort it alter when your guests have gone.
What tips do you have for entertaining at home?
We would love to hear them in the comment’s below,