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Dinner Event Planning
Dinner Party Planning
Dinner Menu Planning
Birthday Dinner Party
Getting Started Basics
Setting | Seating | Serving
Dinner Party Checklist
Dinner Party Themes
Dinner Party Etiquette
Dinner Shopping Lists
Guest List & Invites
The Cocktail Hour
Selecting the Music
Hosting a Dinner Party: Planning the Party Flow
The party flow is your
schedule of movement and events
which allow a
change of scenery, rearrangement of the party guests
, and more new and
interesting details and surprises
throughout the evening.
effective technique for “surprising”
your guests is a
complete change in scenery
. The size and nature of a dinner party offers the
2 or 3 different scenes
to be revealed throughout the evening.
Pre-dinner cocktail area
Dining room and table
When choosing each area, try to
create as much contrast
between each location as possible. If weather permits, setup one of the three scenes outdoors or on a porch.
Consider the arrival and flow
of your guests so you can
keep each decorated vignette hidden
until time to unveil your creative secrets.
Plan the entrance
of your guests
any areas that may be decorated for later.
For example, if you are
serving cocktails by the pool
, have the guests enter through the side gate to bypass the dining room. Be sure to
place a sign at the front walk
or door to direct them to the cocktail area.
If it is inconvenient to plan a diversionary route,
turn off the lights and close the doors leading to the decorated vignette
. When greeting or escorting your guests, face the decorated room and
position your guest's back to later surprises
Move them through as quickly as possible.
is to have the
elements ready to quickly set-up
after the guests arrive, such as setting up an outdoor firepit with tiki torches and candles for after-dinner conversation.
Or you may choose to
hide a decorated area
, for example covering the dining table with a tablecloth. When covering, be sure to remove tall items, such as candlesticks and stemware.
Do not let any of your guests, including your helpers, in the other decorated areas until the moment of revelation.
how long you want your guests to stay
create a separate venue for after-dinner
drinks and/or dessert.
Alternatively, serve dessert at the table
with coffee and cordials
to wrap up the party shortly thereafter
. However, you can
the evening by
inviting your guests back to the cocktail area
or another venue for after-dinner drinks and conversation.
Party games are not recommended.
Designate a place for gifts and umbrella
s near the entrance. For a party with a guest of honor,
separate the honorees gifts
from the hosts
designate a place for coats
, which may be in a separate room.
As the host,
try to escort each guest
to the cocktail area and get or
facilitate each arriving guest’s first drink
. This allows you a chance to
, if necessary, to the group and
offer your specialty drink
of the evening upon arrival.
If someone is making cocktails, order their cocktails for them, otherwise, make it yourself. At this point, it is perfectly okay to tell them (with a smile) that you’ll get their first one, but after that they are on their own and help themselves.
Designate a place for gifts and cards
Select an area to put guests’ coats
Get or arrange each guest’s first drink
One thing you can count on is that
virtually every one of your guests will visit your bathroom
at least once during the party.
A thorough cleaning is recommended
for a dinner party, especially every bathroom.
The day before the party you will also want to
remove any “interesting” prescriptions
or medicines in your medicine chests.
To minimize potential embarrassment to any of your guests, you may want to
make a few items available and easy to find in your bathroom
, such as:
Extra toilet paper
Now that you know how your party will flow, the next step is to determine the