I’m not quite sure where this fall went, but the calendar is telling me that Thanksgiving is next week! What the what?! I’ll be heading down to central Illinois for the holidays, but before I can do that, I’m hosting a few close friends for dinner this coming week. You could call it a Friendsgiving, but it’s more so just an excuse to get together before the holidays get crazy.
As I’ve been planning, I’ve come up with seven tips for hosting a dinner party. (But most of them apply to any get-together.) Hopefully these come in handy as you’re hosting any upcoming holiday parties!
1. Place Cards
I’m a huge proponent of assigned seating, and it all started at a wedding I went to in Amsterdam last summer! Apparently it’s a Dutch tradition to completely scramble the seating arrangements… Meaning, you don’t sit next to your date. (And here’s me, I know no one at this wedding besides my date and he’s at the other end of one long 50 person table. 🙃) But how cool is that?! The couple puts a lot of thought into who might mesh well together and you’re forced to have new, meaningful conversations with the people around you. Such a cool idea, right?!
2. Mix Up a Signature Cocktail
When I’m hosting a party, I like to have a cocktail mixed up for guests to enjoy when they arrive. A little something to get the party started! I threw together a Caramel Apple Sangria with Seven Daughters Moscato and it was so easy…
Here’s what you’ll need…
1 bottle of Seven Daughters Moscato
1 large bottle (25 oz) of dry sparkling cider (you could also use part regular apple cider if you wish!)
4 apples (chopped)
Caramel Vodka to your taste preferences!
Caramel drizzle and cinnamon sticks to garnish.
3. A Fun Activity & Conversation Starter at the Table
This one I took away from a brunch Arielle hosted at her apartment in NYC back in 2014. She had us write down three ways we wanted to feel one year from then on a sheet of paper… And then she kept them and mailed them to us one year later as a little surprise. (Because naturally we had all forgotten about it a year later!) It was pretty special, especially that we got to talk amongst the four of us about our answers. Great for a smaller, more intimate group!
When I found these “I’m thankful for” cards at Paper Source, I knew they’d be perfect for the occasion. While I won’t be mailing them, putting pen to paper always kind of seals it and the girls can put them on their memo boards, refrigerators, or at their desks.
4. Don’t Feel Bad About Ordering In
Unless you’re a chef or get immense amounts of joy from cooking for your friends, there’s absolutely no need to make everything yourself. I feel like the cooking, cleaning, and actual hosting is enough to deter most people from having a dinner party! But it shouldn’t have to be so hard… Make your to-do list a little easier on yourself and work with a caterer, get takeout or delivery, or work with the premade section at your local gourmet grocer.
5. Music is a Must
You’ll never regret spending some time prepping your playlist beforehand! You want a mix of chill and upbeat music, but not too loud – dinner parties are meant for great conversation. That background noise is essential though to make it not seem awkward if there’s a lull in conversation! If you can control the volume on your phone, even better. That way, you can slyly turn it down when it’s time to sit, etc.
6. Capture the Moment
I’m a big proponent of phones being placed into a bowl when you walk into a party in order to stay fully present. But I’m also a huge fan of photos and capturing the moment. That’s why I always like to have multiple mini Polaroid cameras sitting around… The photos make for great little souvenirs, too!
7. Give a Little Gift
I always like to give guests a little something to take home! I’ll never forget one of my childhood birthday parties when my mom was trying to explain to me why you always give your guests a goodie bag or parting gift. I remember thinking, “Wait, isn’t it my birthday? Shouldn’t I be getting the gifts?!” When I saw these little “Next Morning Kits,” I thought they would be so fun to put on a bottle of Seven Daughters Moscato to give to the girls. A sweet little treat that will definitely come in handy over the holiday season!
You could always go with baked goods, package up leftovers from a potluck-style dinner in a cute way, etc.
What are some of your tips for hosting a holiday party?! Don’t forget to pick up some Seven Daughters before you next festivity… You can find it at your local Whole Foods, Binny’s, Mariano’s, Jewel, and Uncorked.com.
Get the Look…
Gold Napkin Rings
Gold Chevron Glasses
Cork Leaf Coasters
I’m Thankful For Cards
Pumpkin Salt & Pepper Shakers
The Morning After Kit
Happy Winesgiving Napkins
White Marble White Chiller
Created in partnership with Seven Daughters
7 Tips for Hosting a Dinner Party + Carmel Apple Sangria Recipe with Seven Daughters Moscato