Looking for a fun & beautiful way to entertain this fall season? Celebrating fall with an elegant dinner party can be a wonderful way to get your friends & family together!
You can use these tips for any dinner party theme you would like to host. Just add your own twist for your next dinner party. In today's post, I am sharing my Fall Harvest themed dinner party.
HOW TO HOST A DINNER PARTY + FALL DINNER PARTY THEME IDEAS
THE DINNER PARTY GUEST LIST
The first step in hosting a dinner part is figuring out how many people you would like to invite. Do you want to host a small dinner party for you and your two best friends? Perhaps you would like to invite a combination of your friends and family over for dinner.
The guest list you create is the very first step you should take when considering hosting a dinner party. Once you figure out how many people you would like to invite and who you would like to have over, you can move on to the next step.
HOW TO SEND DINNER PARTY INVITATIONS?
The best and most personal way to invite someone over to a dinner party is probably in person, the second best is with a phone call, but in today’s modern environment this is probably a tiny bit unrealistic. Especially if you are throwing a larger dinner party with several people. However a text message can be just as good, especially if you put a little extra effort and creativity into it.
My personal favorite way to invite friends and family over to a dinner party is though a text message invite! You can get pretty creative and even make digital invites with cute themes! This is how I send out all of my dinner party invitations!
Here is an example of the invitation I sent out for our Fall Harvest Dinner Party. You can make your own cute invitations in Canva and design them to meet your specific style.
I know that facebook is probably a popular way to send out an invitation, but honestly I feel that facebook invites or events are a little cold and should only be used to supplement your in-person, phone or text invite.
Most people will appreciate a text invite over a Facebook or Meta invite. It's more personal, private and direct. It would probably make your invitees feel a little extra special too! Because its not this "publicized" event and you thought of them specifically.
Also consider who is getting invited. If you are sending an invite to the great grandparents, they would probably prefer a phone call invite over a text message for example. Maybe your great grandparents are more modern than mine, but you get the idea!
THE DINNER THEME
When planning the dinner menu for a dinner party, consider the theme you are going for. Great dinner parties have a special theme. They don't have to be complicated either. Think of seasonality for example. During fall, you can host a fall harvest dinner, if it's summer, consider hosting a poolside dinner. You get the idea.
CONSIDER THE DINNER PARTY STYLE
Choose if you want to have a more casual dinner party or a more formal dinner party style. Really the sky's the limit here and you are the host so you can set the tone by the types of dishes you serve, the serving utensils and so fourth.
If you want to host a casual dinner party, you could use throw away plates, spoons and forks. Maybe you want to get cute themed toss away plates or utensils for a little pizzas. This is great when you are inviting a larger group of people and clean up can take a lot more work.
For a casual dinner party you can even potentially serve the dinner straight off of the stove, BBQ or cooking pots and pans. A casual dinner party can be the easier option overall and take less set up and clean up time. It can also be more cost effective. You can also throw a casual dinner party using real tableware if you like. Again, it's really up to you-the host in what tone you set for the party.
If you want to host a formal or elegant dinner party, alway use real tableware. In some cases, you can even bust out your best dinner dishes and serveware. How often do you use them anyway? Give them some life with a dinner party!
Choose cloth napkins, real tableware and beautiful serveware for an elegant dinner party. Make sure that all of the food goes into serving dishes and is not served directly out of the cooking pot. You can set the table before hand for an elegant dinner party.
Hosting an elegant dinner party can definitely take a little more time in setting up and cleaning up, but it will be so worth the work. It's a great way to make your guests feel extra special and a great way to show off all of that beautiful china you have!
THE DINNER MENU
Once your have your theme down, you can start planning the types of foods you would like to serve. When choosing foods, consider serving seasonally appropriate foods. This will help play on your themed dinner as well as shopping for seasonal foods can help save you time and money.
You will want to out together a dinner menu that naturally flows together.
Dinner Menu Example
- Main course
Consider Everyone’s Diet
As a host, your responsibility is to consider everyone's diet. You may have to get a little creative when working a menu with several different food restrictions. The best thing you can do is ask everyone in advance what food allergies or diets they have. This will make your guests feel extra welcome and confident that you are the hostess with the mostest 🥰
If several of your guests have food restrictions, you can leave the sauces and extras to the side. Make sure to label everything in advance that way no one accidently eats something they shouldn’t! Even if its a lifestyle choice-you should keep the foods clear to your guests. Its respectful, thoughtful and your guest will appreciate you for thinking of them! The moral of the story here is that it's important to consider everyone’s dietary needs.
Start with appetizers and drinks when your guests arrive. This is a great way to keep them busy and entertained while waiting for the main course.
You can set up the starters and drinks in two ways. Don't feel like you have to choose just one way or the other. I personally like to mix the two serving styles together. It's really up to you and how you want to host your party!
How To Serve Drinks at A Dinner Party?
1. You can set out a drink station so that your guests have a place to go and pour themselves whatever they would like to drink
2. You can serve drinks at the dinner table to pair with the foods you will be eating
Bonus Tip: If you are serving alcoholic beverages, make sure to also serve non-alcoholic beverages and have water handy for anyone who needs it.
Sometimes guests can feel shy asking for a non-alcohol drink if they suspect that only alcohol is being served and may not want to be put on the spot.
When creating a drink station (like in the image above) For example, you can serve rose wine and non alcoholic sparkling strawberry juice. This way everyone has a rose colored drink and no ones drink stands out against the crowd. This is just a way to help your guests feel more comfortable, safe and potentially avoid those awkward questions or conversation such as "Why aren’t you drinking tonight?"
How To Serve Starters or Appetizers at A Dinner Party?
1. To keep your guests moving around, you can set out small finger foods to snack on while waiting to sit at the table
2. You can serve starters such as salads which will be dined at the table once everyone is seated
The Main Course at A Dinner Party
Once the main dish is ready, you can usually let everyone know it's time to have a seat and enjoy the meal. You can serve the food on the table and have the guests pass the dishes around or you can set the food out buffet style and have your guests walk up to pick out a plate and their food.
How to Serve Dessert At A Dinner Party?
Most people will be a little too full to enjoy dessert directly after a full course meal. The best way I have found is to serve desert after a game or activity has been played. This lets your guests digest their dinner a little more and lets you (the host) clean up a bit and prepare dessert. I have found that more of my guests are willing to enjoy dessert this way than directly after eating a full on meal. Serving dessert last is also a great way to close out the evening.
How do you entertain guests at a dinner party?
There is a misconception that dinner parties are ONLY about the food. The food is just a fun part that brings everyone together. You can host different games and activities during the night to keep everyone busy.
If you are close friends and can simply talk the night away, then do what you do! But if you are inviting a few different people over who may not know one another, activities and games are a great way to break the ice and get people to mingle a little.
Dinner Party Activities
- Classic card or board games (cards against humanity anyone?)
- Arts & Crafts
Dinner Party Music
A dinner party must always have a good playlist going! Music sets the tone and vibe for your evening so make sure to pick some good tunes in advance! You don't have to play the music loud either, but having some good background noise can definitely get things going!
HOW TO HOST A FALL DINNER PARTY THEME
For a fall dinner party, think of seasonally available autumn foods, autumn activities and decor. I will list a few autumn flavor ideas below for your next autumn dinner party.
- Hot chocolate
- Fresh bread
- Brown butter
- Red wine
- Butternut squash
- Brown sugar
HOW TO DECORATE A DINNER PARTY
Personally, I love to decorate with flowers and scents. You can purchase flowers to fit the theme of your party and place them in pretty vases or mason jars. I believe an aroma helps to entice a space and if fall is the dinner party theme, I love to light warm vanilla scented candles all over the house. Whatever your dinner party theme, you can add a few subtle decorations to help set the tone.
Decorations can be found in your tableware colors, silverware, and how you plate and present your dinner. For our fall harvest dinner, we decorated with tiny pumpkins and gourds on the table along with small flower bouquet. It's really up to you to get creative and have fun!
Remember that hosting a dinner party is about the experience and having fun!