(BPT) - Do you like to host get-togethers with friends? There's far more to throwing a dinner party than having friends over for a delicious meal. Every detail from the food to wine to lighting should set the mood and make your guests feel at ease.
If you don't know where to start, Jordan Vineyard & Winery has your back. This French-inspired winery in the heart of wine country focuses on the timeless connection between food, wine and hospitality and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. In honor of this occasion, Jordan has provided these easy tips for entertaining with warmth, style and elegance.
1. Send out invitations
Whether you send out cards or an evite, take some time to create invitations for your guests. The invitation should include a date, time and location. If you're going for simple elegance, make sure the invitation isn't overly busy and that the important information is visible and easy to skim.
2. Start with the best ingredients
Take the time to find fresh ingredients. Instead of picking up fruits and vegetables from the grocery store, visit a local farmers market to see what inspires you. Small ranches will often sell their meats directly to the public, and they will be fresher and more delicious than anything you'll find at the market.
3. Don't overwhelm the wine
If you're serving special wines, curate a menu that shows them in their best light. The most successful pairings enhance and elevate both the wine and the food. Every dish must be wine-friendly, from the amuse-bouche to the dessert.
Make it easy on yourself by choosing balanced wines with lower alcohol, and it's always wise to have both a red and a white wine option:
4. Plan your pre-dinner snacks and drinks
As your guests arrive, have snacks available in the common areas. A charcuterie board with a light assortment of crackers, cheese and meats is ideal for grazing while guests mingle.
5. Set the mood with lighting
When planning a dinner party, think about the atmosphere you want to create. Lighting should be slightly dim but not so dark that people can't see what they eat and drink. Avoid harsh overhead lighting when possible.
Dimmer switches, candlelight and strategically placed lamps can provide a bright but warm atmosphere. Try to avoid scented candles, as they can overwhelm or clash with the aroma of the food and wine.
6. Let the music play
Music sets the tone for a dinner party as much as the menu and decor, whether you're planning an elegant, formal affair or a lively, casual gathering. Create the playlists in advance. You can make separate ones for pre-dinner socializing, dinner and post-dinner drinks to reflect the get-together energy.
Keep the volume low to allow guests to chat without shouting over the music, or turn the music off during the main course to allow conversations to flow freely.
7. Leave guests with great memories
To make your dinner party truly memorable, think of ways to preserve the gathering's special moments. If you have a Polaroid camera, leave it on a side table so guests can take photos with each other and have a physical memory to take home.
You can also encourage everyone to take photos with their phones throughout the night and share a link to a digital photo album. Afterward, everyone can upload the moments they captured.
Preparation is key! These tips are an excellent guide for crafting a dinner party your friends are sure to remember.