How to throw the perfect dinner party
I'm convinced that, a meticulous attention to detail does a lot to calm the nerves when planning a dinner party- the more details I carefully pay attention to, the better executed and memorable the evening. Having thrown several dinner parties for myself and for clients, I have learned that the best dinner parties rest on two infallible pillars, Experience and conversation. Having your fingers on the pulse of both guarantees that your parties end with people asking when the next one will be or better yet, don't end till the next morning. Here are some tips on how to balance both experience and conversation.
Planning the Experience
Experience begins and ends in driving the senses wildly to curiosity. When planning dinner parties, the most important experiential question to ask yourself is what the overriding emotion of the night is to be. What do you want people to feel? Is it Discovery? A sense of belonging? Familiarity? Enchantment? Knowing the answer to this sets the pace for the planning process. It determines everything that plays on the sensory; the ambiance, the selection of food and wine, the colours of the night ( if there are any), and sometimes the guest list.
Ensuring great conversations
The guest list is the beating heart of a great dinner party. When curating the guest list for a small party of about 30 people, be sure to invite people who are no more than 3 degrees of social separation apart. Sit those with 1-2 degrees of social separation closer to each other. The chances of them striking a conversation and making the connection is stronger, and that not only strengthens the bond within your social circle, it also makes you look like the coolest kid on the block. In the off-chance that you have a smaller social circle and are planning a larger party, then you've got to be proactive. Get into your city and look for people who share a common interest.
Every city has a melting pot of creatives, you should start there. Cafe's, bookstores, dance, pottery, and art classes all make great hubs for creatives and experiential people. Find these spots within your city and get cracking weeks in advance. This method has been particularly successful for me. Manchester is a city whose growing pains can be seen in the amount of cranes that sit where skyscrapers will soon rise... its a great melting pot of extremely curious and creative people.
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