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Five Must Haves For an Intimate Dinner Party

When I think about a dinner party, my first thought is having a bunch of family members or friends to the house and socializing over a nice dinner. Things have definitely changed in light of recent events and now, it looks like our dinner parties will be much smaller and cozier with just very close family members attending. Even though things are crazy and stressful for so many of us right now, I think that this is going to be great for many of us in the end. It will, hopefully, give a lot of us a chance to have a little more time to get back to the basics, de-stress, and spend more quality time with our closest family members.

Since we will be spending more time at home and less time out socializing at restaurants, it is the perfect time to throw an intimate dinner party with your family. Not only will it give you something to do with the extra time on your hands, but it will also allow you to really connect with your family over a nice dinner - something that needs to happen more often in my opinion! I am so passionate about hosting and cooking up new recipes, so I wanted to share with you my must haves for a cozy dinner party today. Enjoy!

Consider Dietary Restrictions

I always make sure to ask ahead of time for any dietary restrictions or allergies (I have celiac disease and nothing is worse than having nothing to eat at a party!). Now, since we are in a new time right now and just hosting our immediate family, you probably will not have to consider these since you already know what your guests can and cannot eat, but this is always great to keep in mind for any upcoming dinner parties that you might be throwing. Many people do not consider this at all when throwing a party and I know how much it matters to myself and to others who battle with intolerances, allergies, and autoimmune disorders, so I urge you to consider it each time you throw a dinner party!

Create A Menu

Once you know what kind of food you need to avoid, you can create your menu. First, write down your dinner party classics (whatever you love to cook and serve). Then, see how many other dishes you think you might need and think of a few more that you can add to the list. I love to have an appetizer for people to nibble on as I plate (charcuterie platters are my go-to), and of course a complimentary wine or cocktail along with non-alcoholic drinks for those who prefer them.

After you create your menu, you should do a timeline for the day of, if you are throwing a larger dinner party. If you are having a small, cozy dinner party right now, no need for a timeline...unless you set one so that you can cook everything while tackling all of your other to-do’s for that day. Creating a timeline will help you make sure you get everything done, with limited stress.

Set The Mood

Cooking is a huge passion of mine, but when it comes to dinner parties, I love setting the mood just as much! I always like to have scattered candles, fresh flowers, and a great playlist on in the background to create the perfect setting. I even go so far as to theme the music with the food, if possible. For example, last Friday I hosted family for an Italian night and had a great Italian playlist on. It makes it that much more fun and festive!

Accept Help

A dinner party - no matter if it is just one with close family, or friends alike - should be fun. Don’t stress out too much about this. Make it casual, comfortable, and stress-free. In fact, stress is known to lower your immune system, so if there is ever a good time to accept help so that you do not stress a lot, that time is now. Southern Living says, “Do not be too proud. This is important. Nothing ensures a Thanksgiving hosting disaster like biting off more than you can reasonably chew. If someone offers to come over and help you move your furniture around, say yes. If a friend needs somewhere to go and feels like they need to earn their keep by swinging by the liquor store for wine and beer, let them. Grandma still wants to make her cranberry sauce? Yes, please bring it.” While that quote talks about friends and extended family members, it still applies to a cozy dinner party, with just close family.

Consider Your Space

Last but not least, consider the space you are working with when it comes to throwing a cozy dinner party. Do you have a large kitchen? Multiple ovens? What are you working with when it comes to your space and of course, the number of appliances you have. For example, if you live in a historic home, you might have a smaller space to entertain in, unless the home is majorly updated. I was browsing through the San Marco historic real estate listings the other day to get inspiration for my future home decor plans and some of those kitchens are absolutely beautiful. Quite a few had two or three ovens, large, open countertops, and plenty of storage space. So much inspiration! If you are looking for a home with a great kitchen to host in, check out the listings on Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Erin E. King MBA. Erin is a Best of Zillow® REALTOR® who specializes in Jacksonville’s historic neighborhoods. He says, “historic homes feel a bit like kindred spirits.” For the past two decades, he has been passionate about telling their unique histories and restoring them to new life. Today, he helps other old home aficionados do the same. If you are redoing your current kitchen, dreaming about a future home (or maybe you’re in the market!), or if you just want to look at beautiful homes with your newly-found free time, check his website out.

There you have it! My 5 must-haves for a cozy dinner party! My hope is that this will be one way that you are able to get back to the basics and connect with your family members over the next few days, weeks, or months.

Such an open, airy and bright space for hosting! Love this dining room inspo I found from one of Erin E. King's historic home listings.

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