Dinner Party Ideas from Menu to Music
Jun 29, 2021

One of the most difficult aspects of hosting a dinner party is knowing what to cook. With each guest, there are so many variables you have to consider when cooking. Which recipes should I choose? What dietary restrictions are present? Will my meals impress the whole group? It’s difficult to be perfect, but with a little help and advice on setting up, you can get pretty close!

  1. Preparing For Your Guests
  2. Finding the Perfect Recipe
  3. Meat-based Meals
  4. Vegetarian Options
  5. Dessert Ideas
  6. Dinner Party Theme Ideas
  7. Table Setting Ideas for Your Dinner Party
  8. Dinner Party Playlist Ideas

Don’t let the fear of perfection overwhelm you, just have fun with the cooking and your family is sure to be impressed. Here are a few tips on how to set up a simple yet elegant dinner party, as well as a few suggestions on which recipes are sure to be an easy yet impressive addition to your repertoire. These ideas will make setting up your dinner party easy, and the cooking for your family and friends even easier.

Preparing For Your Guests

Understand who is on their way over to your table. Are there any vegetarians in the crowd? How about any vegans? What allergies might get in the way of a recipe? Make the dinner menu based on your guests, not yourself. When you take their likes and dislikes into account, creating a packed menu that everyone can enjoy will be so much easier. Prepare your recipes for the night far in advance.

Have the recipe written down somewhere so it’s readily accessible. The main issue with online recipe websites is the number of advertisements. You could be scrolling down through the list of ingredients for the course and then a stray advertisement pops up and you lose your spot. While it won’t ruin the meal, scrolling through the page endlessly certainly does get annoying fast.

Entertaining your family and friends is just as important as the food you’ve cooked. You could have the perfect risotto recipe or a stunning roast lamb, but the dish is only as good as the entertainment that comes with it. Have games planned or fun activities to enjoy – the more you have to do, the more impressive the night is sure to be.

Finally, be sure to decorate! It can be as simple as candles and a table runner adorning the dining room set. A simple decor is sure to enhance the food you serve and will make the night that much better. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy, just put in some effort to the environment as well as the recipe and you’re sure to impress.

Finding the Perfect Recipe

The decorating and entertainment are sure to enhance the night, but this is a dinner party! The dish you prepare will be what your family and friends remember – no pressure. But seriously, there should be no pressure, as long as you know the perfect recipe to bring. Anything homemade will be memorable and delicious as long as you have the right recipe to guide you through the process.

You don’t have to spend hours on end in the search bar as you try to mix and match personalities to get the best menu prepared. I’ve put together a quick menu of recipes for you to try out – each one offers an impressive flair that your family and friends are sure to like. They take into account different dietary requirements that you’re likely to encounter when hosting a dinner party.

Meat-based Menus

Whether it’s a dinner party classic like spaghetti and meatballs or a more complex dish with filleted lamb or sweet salmon, having a couple of meat dishes on the menu is a must. I’ve compiled a list of a few meat-based dishes that are certain to wow the crowd. These recipes are some of my favorites and have become a staple at my events. They’re easy to make and are a delicious addition to any dinner table.

Here are four fantastic meat-based recipes for you to cook at your next dinner with guests. They range from light fare that is ready in a half-hour to complex entrees that take time to bake and are better in a slow cooker. Pick and choose the ones you like for your next event!

Luxury Fish Pies with Rosti Topping

This delicious meal makes the most out of a flaky crust, salty rosti topping, and a symphony of seafood. This creamy fish pie requires some slow and complex work to complete, but once everything is together, this medley of tastes and textures will be one of the most impressive recipes in your arsenal.

A luxury fish pie consists of various fresh fish, prawns, leeks, flaky shredded potatoes, butter, milk, and more. The recipe itself is quite easy to follow and the final dish is absolutely delicious. It’s a light pie that is sure to run out of slices fast, so be sure to take one for yourself quick before your guests opt-in for a round of Luxury Fish Pies with Rosti Topping.

Soy-Lemon Flank Steak with Arugula

Set aside sometime early in the day to prepare this steak as the marination process is 90% of the recipe. If you’re looking for a tangy yet delectable dish to wow your guests, then this is the perfect option for you. This flank steak can be cooked to perfection in a matter of minutes, but the sauce is what makes this dish delicious. Let the flank steak rest in the creamy lemon sauce for hours, and then bring out one of the best flank steak meals around.

The flank steak itself is a bit spicy and tangy, but also introduces a soft sweetness to the night. It’s easy to make and is one of the best dishes around. The arugula balances out the many tastes of the steak and settles down the plate for a well-rounded and delicious dish. The Soy-Lemon Flank Steak with Arugula is a recipe you’re sure to keep around for years to come.

Beef Stew

Take as long as you like with this beef stew. Marinate the beef in a slow cooker for hours on end, or crank up the temperature for a quick roast and an easy finish. Either way, you’re sure to get a creamy, tender beef stew that is packed with flavor and textures. Bring out the spices and the vegetables with this super course as you roast the beef in a sweet and savory marinade.

Beef stew is a classic dining option, but this recipe takes it to a whole new level. Serve your guests one of the best main courses they’ll ever try with this easy, yet delicious roast. I adore this recipe and have made it many times before with no end in sight!

Chicken Parmesan

Any chicken recipe you encounter should be easy and should contain pasta. Chicken and pasta is one of the best combinations around, and this chicken parm recipe is a clear example of that fantastic combination. With a delectable breading and a stunning cheese melt, this Chicken Parmesan dish might be one of the best I’ve tasted. The sauce compliments the cheese and works well to make the chicken better.

Add some pasta and you’ve got yourself an Italian staple as a part of your menu. This Chicken Parmesan recipe is a fantastic addition to your evening.

Vegetarian Menu Options

Now, let’s move over to the meatless meals. Chances are that someone coming to your event is vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, or they simply don’t like meat. Keep your options open and be sure to cook a meal that is free for everyone to partake in. If you’re having people over, it’s your responsibility to ensure that they’re taken care of and that they have the best meal available to them.

If you’ve ever tried to search for “good vegetarian recipes” before, then you’re aware of how slow the whole process can be. After you’ve skipped over the 10th salad on the site, you start to get worried that you’re not going to find the perfect recipe for the night. Trust me, we’ve all been there. Here, I’ve compiled a list of fantastic recipe ideas that you can serve at your event. These vegetarian-friendly meal plans are sure to wow and will certainly be a delicious addition your family will love.

Homemade Pasta

One great idea for an entertaining night in is to make the pasta yourself! Have your guests all gather around and work on their own pasta for a fun and fresh evening. The pasta can be whatever type you want and can even include fillings if you’re interested. The main course becomes the main event with this amazing homemade pasta recipe. Pair it with a fine wine plus bread, and you’re in for a fantastic night.

Vegan Wellington

This stunning wellington recipe is just as exquisite as its meat-based counterpart. Packed with roasted red peppers, beetroot, and kale, this garden salad wellington is sure to stun your guests. Bring out your best pan and pie crust, drizzle it with the best olive oil, and may your guests enjoy one of the best vegan options out there.

Dried Eggplant and Capsicum Dolma

Free up your taste buds with this incredible array of spices. This dish takes eggplants to a whole new level and packs them all into one pan. Stuff your eggplants and capsicum with rice, spices, and mince for a fantastic Turkish evening. Bring out your best wine and let this easy to make eggplant plus capsicum salad shine. Burnt to the perfect level and flavored to perfection, this dish may be one of the greatest I’ve ever tasted.

Creamy Pasta with Crispy Mushrooms

Replace the meats of a dish with crispy mushrooms and you’re bound to have a hit on your hands. This easy pasta dish is something special to serve and is held together by a smooth, thick sauce. A French cuisine like no other, this pasta and crispy mushroom recipe brings out the of each ingredient. It’s easy to make and is sure to impress each and every guest who tries it.

Dessert Ideas

The dinner might be finished, but the most important party of any dinner party is yet to come – dessert! You can’t leave your guests without something sweet to finish off the evening, but you also can’t just phone it in with a store-bought cake or pie. Choosing the dessert for the evening can be a tough task, but it is just as important as the main course! Here are a few ideas and tips for choosing your dessert for the evening.

What Should Be on Your Menu?

The dessert of the evening should complement the main course. If your party has a theme – holiday, decade, celebration – then your dessert should stick to that theme, especially if your main course did the same. It’s also important to consider the dietary and health restrictions of your guests when making the dessert menu.

Easy Tiramisu

This coffee-flavored Italian dessert could be the talk of the evening. The best part? It’s easy to make. A classic tiramisu is an elegant dessert that can be found within some of the world’s best restaurants. And now, it’s a part of your dinner party menu! Once the biscuits are soaked in coffee and the condensed milk is well-mixed, leave the tiramisu in the fridge for an hour before it’s ready.

Apple Crumble Sunday

As many Granny Smith apples as you can muster will be required for this recipe. Mix up the apples with your scoops of vanilla ice cream, bring out the granola and brown sugar and you’ve got yourself one of the tastiest dinner party desserts you can find! Delicious and simple.

Dinner Party Theme Ideas

This is a party and nothing makes a party better than a thorough theme! Whether it be a party for the roaring 20s, a specific holiday, or a certain location, having a theme can really bring out the best of the evening. Check out these theme ideas that can turn your dinner party into a fantastic memory sure to stick around for years.

Deciding a Location

Where is your party going to be located? Having a specific location in mind could be the simplest way to transform a party into an event. If you live near a beach, then you could have yourself a fantastic “Island Vacation”-themed party. Have a great picnic spot or campsite? Bring your dinner party out into the woods for a mystic Elvish adventure!

Deciding a Period

Sometimes locations aren’t the deciding factor of the party – most dinner parties do take place within the home, so how else can you spice up the evening? One common party theme is a specific time period. Bring back the flappers of the roaring 20s, lower the disco ball and party like it’s the 70s, maybe even have a night of 90s grunge. This allows guests to dress up and truly enjoy the night.

Base Your Food off of the Theme

Once the theme is decided, the decoration in place, and the costumes prepared, it’s time to match your menu. Plan your food based on the theme of the evening for the ultimate thematic experience. When your food matches the evening, your guests are truly in for a treat.

Table Setting Ideas for Your Dinner Party

Setting your table for a dinner party can be a tough task. There are so many rules and standards that could be expected of you. At the same time, you don’t want to sacrifice the overall theme of the evening just to stick to the rule book. Balancing both can be tough, but it necessary for a proper dinner party table setting.

Is There a Theme?

One of the most important factors that should go into deciding how you’re going to set your table should be the theme of the evening. If your dinner party has a specific theme set, then it’s important to adhere to it when setting your table. There are certainly some etiquette standards that should be kept up, but focus on matching the theme first. If you’re having a party based on a certain local, design the table setting to match it. Elegant, classical glassware might not work for a beach setting.

What’s on the Menu?

Pair your table setting with your food. At the end of the day, everything should be complimentary if you want your dinner party to be a night to remember. The style of the meal will also be important when designing your table setting – full course meals will almost certainly require the standard table setting with plenty of utensils, plates, and glasses to go around. Buffet style dinner parties won’t be as demanding on the table setting.

Plates, Glassware, Utensils, etc.

Make sure that you have everything you’re going to need in order to eat the dinner. Sure, the entree might look great, but if you don’t have the right utensils, it’s just teasing you. Plan ahead of the meal and pin point the exact items your guests will need for a proper dinner party table. Ensure that your plates are placed in the right order, the glasses are organized properly, and your utensils are on display correctly.

Dinner Party Playlist Ideas

With a world of music at your fingertips, you can bring color to your dinner party like never before. Transform a quiet evening with friends and family into a musical array with the perfect dinner party playlist. Choosing the right playlist will certainly make your dinner party a night to remember and takes a small amount of preparation.

No Better Pairing – Food and Music

With the menu we’ve recommended, you sure to have some amazing dishes ready to serve your guests. Once you’ve brought out the music to match the mood, your dishes will flourish in a way that only a dedicated playlist could allow. Match the music to the food – if you’re eating Italian, bring out some Italian orchestral music. Taking the party back to the roaring 20s? Bring out the flappers and enjoy the evening like never before.

Stick to the Theme

It can be tempting to simply choose your favorite songs, pile them into a playlist, and let that play over the course of the evening. However, if you’ve got a theme to follow, sticking to that can really bring out the excitement of it all. Always try to immerse your guests into the evening – match your music to your theme and the dinner party will truly be fantastic.

Choose Your Tempo

The course of the evening will be decided based on the tempo of the music. A basic rule of thumb is the higher the tempo, the faster the evening to roll along. If you’re looking for an upbeat, energetic evening, then a fast-paced playlist will be a must.

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