So you want to host a dinner party?... Here's how to effortlessly, and leave your guests gushing!

Author: Laura Milnes

Silk + Coupe
Let me share my passion of food + wine with you 

So, you want to have a dinner party - it seems a simple enough feat to take on, doesn't it -- throw together a few dishes and crack some wine. Somehow it'll come together effortlessly and flow smoothly. The reality: the best hosts make it seem easy.  
Exemplary hosting has become a bit of a lost art. As society has moved towards a more casual culture, we have forgotten the magic of throwing a great party. Hospitality is equal part skill and talent - can you think of many examples of a dinner party you've attended recently where you were rendered speechless by the attention to detail? It's likely not many come to mind. 

Hosting an amazing dinner party requires strategy and planning.  Welcoming guests, looking effortlessly stunning, keeping everyone's glass full, curating the perfect lighting (keeping everyone looking seductive and sensual), carrying on glittering and witty conversation, all the while preparing a meal that'll come out at just the right temperature with steaks cooked to perfection. Ever tried to do that without missing a beat? Not many of us can attest to it either. 
Fret not, as we've compiled a list that'll have people gushing over what an amazing host you are. Be wary: you'll likely be hosting a lot more once you show off your newly acquired skills!
Offer a welcome glass of bubbly upon guests' arrival.   
If you're introducing friends who've never met for the first time, ease social anxiety with a welcome glass of bubbles - the Meyer NV Methode Traditional will go over well, served in vintage coupes.
Make a meal you've mastered, not something new.
Do not try to make souffle for the first time! Tonight is not the night. Make a dish you can cook with your eyes closed - the likelihood of something going wrong is low. Your guests will be far more impressed by a dish that's well prepared versus something obscure or unusual. 
Set the mood with candlelight. 
There truly is no better way to set the mood than with candlelight, and even better if you have vintage candelabras. Light candles just as sunset is hitting - the ambience from the flame alone will have your guests in awe. 
Curate a playlist. 
Decide ahead of time what kind of party this is - do you want a dance party in the kitchen post dinner? Is it more of a chill affair where you'll be discussing philosophy into the wee hours? Plan out your playlist based on each interval of the party - arrival, pre dinner cocktails, meal time and post dinner. The music should set but also mimic the mood of each chapter of the night, complimenting the vibe but never over taking the conversation.
Do not discuss anything controversial. 
Dinner parties - especially the ones where strangers are meeting for the first time - are not the time to discuss politics, religion or anything that could incite tension. It's your job as host to steer conversation and keep things light and fun. 
Plan your wine pairings for each course. 
Serving steak? Try a beefier red like the 2017 Mooncurser Petit Verdot. Something lighter, like gazpacho, or salad? The 2018 Winemaker's Cut Gruner Veltliner is likely a safer bet. Calculate roughly one glass/per person/per hour to budget how much wine you'll need for the evening. 
Offer a cheese board with dessert wine to slow down consumption post dinner. 
Finish the evening off with a cheese board paired with dessert wine like the 2018 Pondview Cabernet Franc ice wine
Limit the amount of wine poured and stop serving at a predetermined time. 
There's nothing worse than guests who over drink and overstay their welcome. Remove the wine off the table and don't stress about empty glasses. It is not your job to get guests drunk, it's your job to provide a memorable experience. If guests are heavier drinkers, offer them water, or simply stop serving. 
Make sure to encourage hydration. 
As the night wears on, inevitably alcohol cosnumption may rise. Be prepared when this happens. Have plenty of water on hand, and limit refilling wine glasses. 
Have fun!
Don't forget to relax and have fun. The more you can prepare, the more you'll be able to enjoy yourself. 
Read more about Laura Milnes at  Silk + Coupe 
Instagram: @silkandcoupe
Twitter: @suzywinemaker