66°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Advice with the Arts Editor: Hosting a dinner party

Two+people+have+dinner+together+at+a+restaurant.+Photo+by+Saichand+Chowdary+%2F+Mass+Media+Staff.
Saichand Chowdary
Two people have dinner together at a restaurant. Photo by Saichand Chowdary / Mass Media Staff.

Most college students are familiar with the bright lights and blaring bass of a house party. A guy is spilling his beer all over new going-out tops. A girl is in the bathroom, reliving her last eight hours of eating. It’s not a pleasant sight. As much fun as this sounds, there are better parties in the future. Maybe a dinner party. 

Dinner parties are the adult version of its jarring younger sibling. There’s ambient music. Most people have control of their stomachs. There might be a game after the feast. The guest list is controlled. Sounds good, right?

Since dinner parties are not very common for people our age, I went to the person I thought would know best, my mom, and she gave me a few key tips. Advice from the Arts Editor’s mom, if you will. 

 

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare

The week before, clean your whole living space. Set aside a full day and get all the nitty-gritty spaces done. This includes the ins and outs of your bathroom, a closet for guests to put their jackets, organizing any clutter and more. There are plenty of lists out there to make sure every spot is sparkling. 

Make sure to take out any fabric tablecloths and serving dishes, especially if they aren’t used regularly. Put them in the washing machine, run them through the dishwasher, whatever they need to get out every imperfection. 

Ask your guests if they have any allergies so you can provide safe food for everyone. Also ask if they have any drink preferences. Include both alcohol and alcohol-free options. This can also give you a sense of the menu. Also, create a music playlist that people can listen to in the background, but nothing too loud.

 

  1. The Menu

Once you have the preferences and dietary restrictions, you can start to create a menu. Include both meat and meat-free options; someone may be trying to eat less meat. Make at least one unique dish, something that no one has had before. Maybe make it a side dish or special dessert. People love to try something new. Try to make all the food from scratch if you can. People appreciate home-cooked food more. 

With all the preparation done beforehand, on the day of, you can focus on preparing the food and setting the table. Make sure you already know how to make what you’re making. This shouldn’t be your first time making it. You might get confused, and it’s better to know ahead of time. When people ask to bring something—they always do—suggest an appetizer and dessert. It provides more variety.

When setting the table, be creative with it. Make name tags and place settings. Your guests should feel special in your home. 

 

  1. The Big Day

Take out board games or decks of cards, so you don’t need to go searching if the time comes. Be a good host. Offer to take their coat or get them a drink. Show them where the sitting area and bathroom is. Introduce them to others if they don’t know anyone. Also, if they don’t know anyone, sit them next to the person who will talk to everyone. Have a disposable camera on the table that guests can use at any time. 

When it’s time to eat, sit near the door so you don’t have to bump into people when you get up to help someone—because you will. Ensure that people are comfortable where they are. Offer to get them more of a certain dish or another drink. 

Take everyone’s dishes for them so they don’t have to get up and can continue talking. Put that deck of cards on the table so guests have the option. When people start leaving, show them to the door and offer to walk them to their car.

About the Contributor
Rena Weafer, Editor-in-Chief