#1 Secret Tip to Hosting a Successful Dinner Party

Want to know the #1 secret tip to hosting a successful dinner party? Hint: It has nothing to do with the food or decor! Get my secret for success and apply it to any dinner party ideas for the future.

Want to know my #1 secret to a successful dinner party? Hint: It has nothing to do with the food or decor! Get my secret for success here.

Hosting a Successful Dinner Party

This weekend we hosted a small dinner party for eight, and I was reminded of what I love about entertaining – the laughter, the camaraderie, the FUN.

True, it can be a lot of work, it can be stressful, and it can be pricey, but the rewards can outweigh all of that.

Although I regularly host large group gatherings like cocktail parties or ladies night, we haven’t hosted an intimate dinner party for friends in years!

That’s because the inner circle we used to have broke up due to moves, divorces, and other life changes. Now, we’re finally back to a place where we feel comfortable enough with a small group to invite them over for a dinner party.

You see, a dinner party is much different than other types of parties where you can hide behind small clusters of people, and hop from conversation to conversation.

For a dinner party you have to be present and involved with the same group of people for the entire evening. And to be perfectly honest, that can be scary! I’m always worried that the conversation will die and there will be awkward silence. Hence, my 36 conversation starters. Of course that didn’t happen with this group and here’s why.

My #1 Tip to a successful dinner party

The secret to a successful dinner party is to choose your guest list selectively. We originally wanted to have 6 other couples, but June is a busy month and only three were able to make it. Even though not everyone knew each other, we knew they would get along based on personality types.

PARTY TIP: A good rule of thumb is that if you feel a similar kind of connection with specific individuals then they will most likely feel comfortable with one another. It never fails!

How do you choose the guest list?

Choosing a guest list isn’t just about “liking” the people. It’s about combining like-minded people and personalities for a more relaxed and easy experience for everyone.

Bringing the right people together is like magic. The party becomes effortless for the host, and for the guests.

Things to consider

1. Conversation style – The way individuals converse is a big component for success. I wasn’t born with the gift of gab, but really appreciate the art of conversation including the ‘give and take’ of it.

I mean, we all know people who love to hold the floor and talk non-stop. We also know people who won’t open their mouth to say anything!

While those two types may sound like they balance each other out, I prefer a healthy lobbing of ideas and stories by EVERYONE. That way all your guests are truly participating and having a good time.

2. Party style – People’s party styles are another consideration. While some of our friends are perfectly happy having a glass or two of wine for the evening, others may prefer a bottle (or two!) over the course of the night.

Neither is right or wrong, but I always make sure to stay in one lane for a dinner party. Otherwise, it can get uncomfortable for everyone. No one wants to walk away feeling judged after a party.

3. Couples or not – Another tricky component of a dinner party is that it typically includes couples or at the least a mix of male and female. And with that you have to think about how the men will mix together, how the ladies will mix together, and how the men & women will mix together!

It’s a lot to think about. We’ve noticed a trend in “bro” relationships where the guys are very segregated in their own pack, while the ladies are in theirs. It seems very “7th grade dance” to me.

My point is, make your guest list based on how well the couples can easily integrate with each other. A successful dinner party will be one where there’s camaraderie all around.

When you bring together the perfect mix of people for a dinner party nothing else matters. Burnt food, lack of decor, a dish you forgot to serve…it’s all inconsequential when you’re wrapped up in conversation, laughter, and wine! {hmm…maybe wine should be my #1 secret to success?…}

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  1. I love that food wasn’t on the list. Not that it isn’t important, but as stated previously the right mix of people makes a big difference. I also love the “7th grade dance” line, hilarious and very true.

    1. Haha, right, Sandra! We want to bring people together, not split them up!
      Thanks for chiming in!

  2. So much emphasis is on food and decor these days, but ensuring your guests have complimentary personalities is so important. If I might add anything, it’s to relax as a host/hostess. No one wants to be at a dinner party where the host is stressed or busy the entire time! (Something I personally need to work at more.)

    1. Yes, Leslie, 100%! I actually had 2 food items I forgot to serve (my guests don’t even know that) because we were having such a good time! LOL
      Certainly no one missed them! 😉

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