Dinner Party Planning
How To Plan A Dinner Party, Tips, Party Menu Planning Ideas
Dinner Party Menus
This information addresses dinner party
menus and planning ideas
for tips and suggestions I have experienced from doing many gourmet dinner parties involving numerous recipes
of multiple Courses to prepare for a single dinner party menu.
I hope this information will be a big help to you planning your
special dinner party menu and gourmet recipes you may chose from my website.
I have always been a big fan of keeping things simple and easy to follow especially when I have a busy day ahead.
I never will forget my first big dinner party.
I had no idea how to start or how important planning ahead for a dinner party would be, I just waded in and did it.
Unfortunately I waited until the day of the big event to put everything
By 2 pm that same day I was exhausted and had no energy left to
enjoy my guests or the wonderful food I had prepared.
I learned the hard way...
planning ahead for a successful dinner party and all that needs to be done for dinner party
menus with many recipes is the way to go...
in fact, now I can truthfully say by getting myself organized it's
become very easy for me, what a difference a little planning ahead can
Planning - What Food Course Do I Serve First for my dinner party?
Should it be a
course, cheese course?
if used, should always be served first, followed by an appetizer course.
2) Alternate courses of your menus serving a heavy then a light course, e.g. cream soup (heavy),
followed by a green salad (light), then a pasta course (heavy), etc, this gives
the palate a chance to rest.
3) Always serve a citrus sorbet before the main entrée as a palate cleanser. Do not serve
sweet sorbet in the middle of an elegant dinner party, save this for a
4) Once you determine the order of your menu, write it down; refer to it
in the kitchen so you will know what course to serve next.
My Unique tips - How To Serve Guests
Do not ‘pass the dish’. Plate up
(arrange each food item on the plate before serving)
This allows you to be creative decorating the plated food you have so carefully
planned, it delights your guests to see their food arranged and presented so
2) Determine ahead any additional plates, etc. will be needed. Use the "layering" system
for each course if possible; use several plates of different colors and shapes to present a course. Put a note on each stack of dishes so you will know what
course goes on what plates.
3) Make a list of all the foods to be on each plate. Many times I have
omitted some foods, now I make a list. Don’t forget the garnish!
4) Serve no more than one-half cup servings per person for
soup, salad or pasta courses. If portions are too large your guests will not have room for the beautiful
dessert you have prepared.
When plating up, keep the rim of the plate clear of all
food and garnishes.
Think of the plate as a painting; an artist never paints the frame. Wipe smudges or spills with a damp cloth
6) Do not keep your guests waiting too long between courses. By planning your
menu well, you will not have this problem.
7) Announce to your guests
while serving each course what the recipe contains, name a few of the ingredients; tell them a little about the
wine you have chosen to accompany this course.
This adds to the elegance of your dinner party; they will appreciate the information.
8) Serve women first, from the eldest to the youngest,
then serve the men, eldest to the
9) Serve food from the left; pick up empty plates from the right. Leave charger plates
on the table if possible.
10) Ask a helper to pour the wine while you are serving the different
courses on your menus.
1) Extend invitations one month in advance; include what, when and where.
2) Request an RSVP with a specific reply date.
3) Give directions, if needed.
4) Inquire of your guests if there are any food allergies and food preferences i.e. likes and
If you want your guests to bring something, include that in your invitation such as wine for a certain
course or if you want them to bring a certain course. Be specific.
What Shall They Bring
If you want a dress code, specify this
in the invitation. When you spend time planning and preparing gourmet dinner party menus, you do not want someone wearing jeans or shorts unless otherwise
specified. With everyone dressed up, it sets the mood even more for an elegant party.
Cocktail dresses or long gowns
Dinner jackets and dark suits
A nice dress or pants outfit for women
Jacket, shirt and tie (optional) for men
Sporty outfit for women or casual dresses
Sport shirts, sweaters, slacks,
Dockers for men
1) Planning your entire dinner
menus with several courses.
- ideas) with photographs.
2) Make sure planning menus are compatible with each course, keeping in mind
different textures, food compatibility and colors, i.e. try not to serve beets
and tomatoes, as an example, on the same plate the colors are not
3) Choose recipes you have already tried and tested, don't serve something that will not be a
'hit', planning ahead is a great idea.
4) If your menus require using an oven, choose recipes with similar temperatures making it easier and quicker if having to bake several things between
courses; don't keep your guests waiting too long for the next entree.
5) Make a list of all the grocery items you need to purchase from your
6) Make a detailed list of all food preparation that needs to be done,
(e.g. chop 1/4 cup celery finely; defrost 1 cup shrimp; pick 8 sprigs parsley
from garden;), no matter how small you may think it is, write it down! Planning ahead and be well organized; do as much ahead
as possible. Do not leave many things to be done the day of the dinner party, you will be too
Label every ingredient you have prepared ahead and what it will be
used for, (e.g. 2 tablespoons chives for soup), so that you can grab it and use it
immediately when you need it.
7) Planning a garnish
(see all my easy ideas with photographs) for each course; this adds elegance to a dinner and makes a beautiful presentation, they
can be made ahead.
8) Determine the wine to accompany each course planning ahead how much you will need. If you are not sure, ask a
wine steward or sommelier. Sometimes I ask my guest to bring wine, this
makes it very easy for me and my guests are happy to bring something, it's a
Setting The Table
1) Use your best China, glass stemware, tableware, table linens and napkins,
no paper please! This sets the mood for an elegant evening.
2) Use charger plates if you have them.
3) Choose a centerpiece low enough everyone can see over.
4) Consider using candles as the main light. This sets the mood for an elegant dining
experience. I put my candles in the freezer then set them in my holders and
light them just before everyone is seated.
5) For something different, type menus in the format of
fine dining menus
listing all the courses
them into French or Spanish, or Italian, or whatever theme your dinner might be.
Print them out small enough to put them by each place setting. While you are preparing the
food, it is fun to hear guests trying to determine the menus from a foreign
6) You may want to make take-home favors.
1) Seat yourself and your helper closest to the kitchen.
2) Use random seating or specify seating by placards.
3) Consider placing shy people next to talkative people.
Set The Mood
1) Choose soft mellow background music not to interfere with conversations.
2) Don’t forget to light the candles, make sure they are un-scented candles,
that would ruin your dinner party!
About the Author Contact Me
Written Text and Recipes created by Peggy Bucholz, Fine Dining Gourmet Recipes
established 2001 www.finedinings.com