Hosting a dinner party is no small fete. To ensure you're the hostess with the mostess (and guests want to return next time), here are a few pointers for an enjoyable evening.
1. Keep it simple. As mentioned yesterday, you should know the rules well enough that you can break them fabulously. Have fun with your tabletops and bring in festive stemware and chairs. That beings said, set the stage so guests feel important. There is nothing wrong with bringing beauty to your tabletops.
2. Pull up a seat with a stranger. Mix friends and strangers so the evening has a more the merrier vibe. Over the course of a meal, new friendships will be forged.
3. Dress the part, but don't go overboard. You want festive attire but nothing that will constrict the way you move (or hurt your feet). Go for the sparkle but don't be so serious.
4. Invest in the food you serve. Serve a family favorite or personalized drink. Guests will appreciate such a soulful touch. If that just isn't an option, find a great caterer who will provide a custom menu.
5. Set up an easy buffet and bar area that is easily accessible for the cocktails sure to come before and after dinner.
6. Be gracious!
Being a good guest is equally as important. Know the rules and don't break them.
1. RSVP. Don't call at the last minute to cancel, unless you want to ensure you're on the naughty guest list (i.e. no invite next year).
2. Dress code. Know the difference between cocktail attire, black tie, and casual attire. Who What Wear has a great post on what to wear for the holidays. (Note: Casual does not mean jeans. Keep it classy.)
3. Understand that the party or dinner does not revolve around you. Learn the difference between exchanging ideas and just expressing your opinion. Ask questions and move between groups of people. Rule numero uno - no gossiping.
4. Bring a fabulous hostess gift. A bottle of wine is a nice gesture, but go a step further and think about something that really represents the host. From stationary to a holiday ornament, you can really go wherever you want here.
5. Don't overindulge. Social drinking is to be expected, but being drunk only ensures you'll be paying for a cab and not asked to return next time around.
6. Be gracious!
The number one rule of the season: Enjoy yourself! What a blessing to be around family and friends.