How to decide who to invite to a dinner party
Jun 18, 2019

The guest list can make or break your dinner party and is worthy of time and careful consideration. It is important to think about who is to be included and who is definitely not! the aim is to throw a party where guests will feel relaxed to be themselves and enjoy the evening. Follow our tips and you can be sure that they will.

Ring the changes

Once you have decided how many people to include, stick to it! Look at each occasion separately and choose the most appropriate guests for that particular occasion. It doesn’t matter about who came last time, it would be a big mistake to always invite the same combinations of people as that sets expectations in place that are very hard to break. Nobody wants to feel suddenly left out, so don’t set the precedent in the first place. Of course that doesn’t mean that you can never invite the same group more than once, just not every time.

Mix the personalities

It is important to have a diverse set of compatible personalities at your gathering so that it is lively and entertaining. It would be excruciating if all your gests were too shy to engage in conversation, but just as ghastly if the table was full of characters who were so busy pontificating that nobody listened to anyone else. If you know someone is on the quiet side, invite a person who will be able to draw them out, and if someone else is prone to over indulging their particular hobby horse, then complement them with a safe pair of hands who is strong enough to take control of the conversation and steer it on to neutral ground.

Find a chain of connection

Sometimes you meet a complete stranger and coincidently have something in common that helps you to set up an immediate rapport. It is not a good thing to chance that this will happen at your party, find a thread of commonality that will link the guests together, like a form of social daisy chain. Start with one person / couple and think of another with a mutual interest, then do the same again with them, but choose a different link such as a common experience. Perhaps they have visited the same holiday location or something of that kind. The next choice should link something such as similar occupation or ages of children and so on, but try to keep cross referencing to ensure that there are links between other guests as well. This is especially good if you have to invite a specific person that you don’t know too well, such as your partner’s colleague or boss.

Redress the balance

On occasion it is interesting to listen to a conversation even though the topic is something you know nothing about or have not had experience of, however you don’t want that occasion to be your dinner party. It can feel very off putting for a guest to be the odd one out if everyone else is chattering nineteen to the dozen on a subject completely out of their experience. Try to include a balance of occupations for example so that shop talk or jargon do not take over. Or mix those who do and don’t have children, it can be sooooo boring if the whole conversation revolves round trying to get babies to sleep or comparing school results when you are the only one without a child.

Be sensitive and considerate

We all have particular hang ups, fears or weak spots at some time or another and it is part of being a good host be sensitive and considerate about such things, especially when drawing up the guest list. If you know that somebody has been made redundant, then don’t invite everyone else with a new job or fantastic promotion or if a couple have gone through unsuccessful fertility treatment, don’t invite every expectant mother you know. Do not, however, feel that because someone has hit a difficult patch it must dictate who you can invite to your home, that would be patronising, just bear it in mind and balance the list accordingly.

Although it is vital that you give plenty of thought to your guest list, do not get so bogged down with choosing the right people that the whole thing becomes too contrived. It just requires a bit of forward planning and insight, but trust your instinct in the first instance and then double check that everyone will in fact gel together and you haven’t made any obvious faux pas.

Without your guests there would be no dinner party, with the wrong guests you will wish it wasn’t your dinner party but with the right ones, you will be glad that it is.

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