Throwing the Perfect Dinner Party

By Sophia Pardo

I have always been attracted to the wholesome activities commonly associated with the holiday season, like pumpkin picking, festive baking, sitting by the fireplace, and most importantly, hosting and attending dinner parties. While currently I do not have the luxury of living off campus, there’s nothing I love more than throwing a dinner party. Whether it’s a Friendsgiving celebration over Thanksgiving break or just another weekend, I have curated a list of tips and essentials to help you master the art of hosting a memorable dinner party:

For starters, setting the vibe is so important. I typically ask my guests to come dressed in comfortable luxury- an outfit that is both polished and sophisticated but still cozy enough for them to be able to relax and enjoy the evening. Dim candle lighting, a mellow jazz playlist and an eclectic, yet classy, table setting are non-negotiable. I am very into mix-and-match table settings, as showcased in the mood board below. So, don’t be afraid to decorate using a variety of household items, even if they wouldn’t conventionally be paired together.

Accessorizing is essential when crafting the perfect table setting, and one item you can never go wrong with is long wax candles on a chic candle holder. I find they add a touch of elegance and romance to any table setting. Personally, I adore this candlestick holder from Anthropologie, that comes complete with a dish at the base. To add a unique flair to your table setting, consider adding a small floral arrangement to the dish, as modeled on their website. I have discovered many affordable and unique tableware items on Anthropologie, that I have linked below.

In terms of glassware, I always love the look of mixing and matching cups and printing little name tags to loop around the stem of the glass for a personalized touch. Pair the glasses with this gold silverware set from Amazon, along with divine color wash snack plates and these amazing ceramic plates, to bring your minimalist design dreams to life. To complete the look, I would line arrange these linen napkins on top of each place setting, wrapped in a piece of tweed with a printed-out menu card. 

Lastly, but most important, let’s discuss what to serve! No dinner party would be complete without a beautiful charcuterie board filled with a delightful selection of meats, cheeses, fruits and veggies to start off the night. For sipping, I would serve a variety of seasonally inspired mocktails and cocktails, like this harvest apple ginger spritz for fall. Another one of my favorite dinner party starters is a raw bar of oysters, plated in this serving platter by the brand Maisonette.

For the main course, I would invite my guests to help make ravioli using premade pasta dough and giving them a bunch of different filling options. Not only would this be a fun activity for my guests, but it will provide a unique dining experience that is as tasty as it is memorable. As a side, I think that a hearty salad featuring seasonal ingredients is always a crowd-pleaser. Lastly, for dessert, I would serve a warm brown butter cookie with a scoop of ice cream; a classic sweet that is hard to resist.

Dinner parties are such a great way to gather with the people you love, in an intimate setting to create memories that will last a lifetime.

All photos by Sophia Pardo

Sophia Pardo

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