Five fantastic dinner party planning tips

Swan About are the professional events team behind Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe and they are experts when it comes to hosting dinner parties.

If you’re organising a private dinner party for 10 – 16 people or a lavish soirée for up to 300, we thought we’d gain some worldly wisdom from the team directly. Here’s what they had to say…

The importance of creative spaces

Planning a dinner party in your own home? Don’t assume that size of your dining table excludes you from the dinner party club! Be creative when theming and decorating your space and you could create your own inspiring dinner party setting without having to hire a venue. Our team can advise on how best to manage your bespoke dinner party.

If you want to host at home, then consider letting the party spill off the table, on to the sofa and into the kitchen too, encouraging guests to mingle and meander rather than stay seated. Throw a few cushions on the floor and suddenly you have a comfy space to sit scores of friends.

If you are going to venture beyond your own domain, not everywhere has to be booked or paid for. If the weather’s nice why not arrange to meet friends in the park for a picnic or barbecue (check your chosen park allows barbecues) for a super-sized garden party? Or, if you’re planning a big dinner party in London check out our range of sought-after venues you can hire.

Food for thought

Once you’ve chosen a creative London venue, it’s time to think about the food. We love hosting dinner parties where the food has been designed to match the theme of the event. We always recommend bowl food for standing parties and events, it’s a great option if you’re keeping things informal and relaxed.

Timing is everything

The key to any successful event is organisation – something our team are hugely experienced in! If you’re catering for your own dinner party, plan how long things are going to take, and be realistic about the time you have.

If you can, pick a menu that gives you the chance to prepare things the day before. Curries are a good bet once again, as a day’s resting brings out the flavours from the spices even more strongly. Pies, tarts, quiches and bakes are also great when cooked ahead of time. But, if you want to keep things really simple contact us to find out about our dinner party catering options.

Drink it in

Dinner parties are supposed to be civilised affairs, but they don’t always end up that way. Getting the right balance between being generous with drink and fuelling a fun party is crucial if you want a night to remember. We love to kick off dinner parties with homemade cocktails. Basic recipes are easy to follow, so it’s not hard to impress people with your mixology skills even if you didn’t know you had any. And making them yourself will mean you’re in charge of how boozy they are. Strongly flavoured spirits such as whisky, rum or tequila can be used in relatively small measures, they also pack in plenty of flavour without tipping guests over to peaking too soon.

Remember what it’s all about

Whether it’s friends, family or colleagues, remember the point of any dinner party is to see people, catch-up, and generally be social. If what you’re planning will mean you spend more time looking at pans than your pals, then it’s time to re-think things. Or, of course, here at Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe we have a range of private party options — and we’ll even do the dishes!

Find out more about Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe and get in touch with the team today.