How to host the perfect dinner party.

There’s nothing better than a dinner with your closest friends, whether you’re christening your new home or adding some spice to your catch-up evenings. Read on to learn the ins and outs of hosting a dinner party, complete with menu ideas, checklists and more.

Create your dinner party menu



Hosting a dinner party is a great way to spend time with your friends in a more intimate setting. Whether you have a big event to celebrate, exciting news to share or just fancy a catch-up, a dinner party is the perfect way to connect with the people you love.

A dinner party can be as elaborate as you like. From cosy gatherings of just a few mates on your sofa with plates on your laps, to an elegant feast with table settings and place cards. Whatever your style, add flavour to your evening with our dinner party menu ideas, invitations and more.

Your dinner party checklist.

Becoming the host of a dinner party doesn’t have to be intimidating. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or cosy with your microwave, cook up as large a storm as you’re comfortable with.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when dinner party planning:

1. Choose who you want to invite.

First things first, invite your guests! Think about who you would like to attend your dinner party. Would you like an intimate gathering with your closest friendship group or fancy taking the opportunity for different friends to meet? A dinner party can be a good time to introduce people — soon everyone will be happy and fed and mingling among themselves.

2. Pick a date and location.

Once you’ve got your guest list, it’s time to pick a date and location. Try to choose a date when you’ll have enough time to prepare. Hosting a dinner party should be enjoyable. If you decide to have your dinner party at home, make sure you have enough plates, cutlery, and glasses for all your guests. You’ll also need to make sure you can seat everyone too.

3. Pick a theme.

Here’s the fun bit. Time to pick a dinner party theme. Take things up a notch and plan a gruesome murder mystery party and link the menu to the characters. Or transform your space into an Italian-inspired summer party. Build a bruschetta bar and keep the Aperol Spritz flowing.

Are your guests crackers for a cheese board? For something simple but by no means unsophisticated, wine and cheese always go down a treat. It also works well as a Bring Your Own Board (BYOB) occasion.

4. Select your décor.

Once you know your theme, you can go ahead and add some spice to your party in the form of table arrangements and ambient lighting. Add rose petals to the table for a romantic touch or candles for a festive edge.

5. Decide on a menu.

Once you’ve picked a theme for your dinner party, it’s time for the main event: the food. The type of dinner party you have planned will affect your menu. Are you planning a five-course culinary crusade or a humble selection of platters? Check out our menu design tips for more inspiration.

6. Check dietary requirements.

The most important thing when planning to host a dinner party is to check your guest’s dietary requirements and preferences. Make sure you plan your menu around any allergies, so no one has to miss out. It’s helpful to have plant-based alternatives too for any vegetarians or vegans.

7. Prepare ahead.

Once you know your menu, you can start planning ahead to host the perfect dinner party. Try to prep everything you can the day before – so there’s less to do on the big day. That way, you can make the most of mingling with your guests, rather than being isolated in the kitchen.

What to include on your dinner party invites.

Go all out with your dinner party planning with your very own personalised party invites. You can add them to your Facebook event, send them to your group chat or print and deliver in person.

Here’s some food for thought on what to include:

Looking for some dinner party invite inspiration? Check out some these classic invitation templates:

Dinner party menu ideas for different occasions.

Planning a dinner party is the perfect opportunity to get creative and really throw yourself into the role of host. Planning a birthday to remember or revealing the news of your engagement? Design the perfect dinner party based on the occasion.

Hosting a birthday dinner party.

Invite your closest friends along to your dinner party and go old school with a menu reminiscent of children’s parties. Start with a crowd-pleaser like mozzarella sticks, seal the deal with a buffet of pizza and end on a sweet note with a makeshift ice cream station, complete with toppings.

Hosting a graduation dinner party.

A dinner party is the perfect way to celebrate your achievements with friends. Invite your fellow graduates to enjoy a sit-down meal together and toast to your degree. Why not coordinate with your friends and arrange to bring your own boards? That way you’ll be able to share some of the responsibility and also have fun trying all the different dishes.

Host a festive dinner party.

Plan the perfect festive dinner for your choice of celebration. Dress your table for an elaborate Christmas roast dinner party. Or throw a magnificent spread of delicious delicacies for Diwali. Whatever the occasion, make it a feast to remember with your loved ones.

Plan your own housewarming.

Christen your new home and host a dinner party full of your nearest and dearest. It’s an easy way to show off your space, while catching up over a tasty meal. Put on a magnificent spread and create special memories in your new home together.

Celebrate an engagement.

What better way to announce your engagement than with a dinner party? Invite your friends and family to a sensational meal and celebrate this next chapter. Lean into the theme of romance and adorn the table with rose petals, pillar candles and all things red.

Work up an appetite for hosting with these dinner party menu ideas from Adobe Express:

Say “Thank You” to your guests with dinner party cards.

Now it’s time to clear up after the fun’s over. Say thanks to your friends after a flavourful evening with a thank you card. A simple way to show your appreciation, these cards also serve as a memento from the evening.

Here are some ways to make your cards extra special:

Our templates below can help you get started making your own dinner party thank you cards.

Useful things to know.

What does a host do at a dinner party?
A host greets, cooks, and entertains for their guests. During the evening the host circulates, introduces anyone new and helps to move the evening along by serving food and drinks. The role of the host can be relaxed or formal – depending on the party or occasion.
What time should a dinner party start?
When planning a dinner party, consider how many courses you’d like to offer, how long you plan to socialise and the diaries of your guests. Ideal dinner party start times can span from late afternoon all the way to late evening – depending on how long into the night you plan to entertain.
How do you entertain guests at a dinner party?
There’s no pressure to put on any entertainment – you can just let conversation carry the evening. But if you work best to a plan, light entertainment can go a long way at a dinner party. If you’re with a particularly competitive bunch, a games evening can work perfectly alongside dinner courses.