We all love to go to a dinner party. But let’s face it, hosting the perfect dinner party can be a tad stress inducing. And have you reaching for an early glass of wine! Well, here at Ananya, we’ve teamed up with luxury brand Blue Ribbon to talk all things 'dinner party'. We asked Esther Rulli at Blue Ribbon 7 devilishly difficult questions, to bring you the insider scoop on how to host the perfect dinner party. Bon appétit!
Esther, thank you for sharing with us your fabulous insider tips on creating the perfect dinner party. Let’s get started…
1. Vaishali at Ananya: What’s the single most important thing you consider to create a sense of occasion for a dinner party?
Esther at Blue Ribbon: A great dinner needs many ingredients to come together! Great guests, fantastic food, beautiful table settings are amongst them. But, a true sense of occasion comes when there is an element of surprise. Perhaps you're using beautiful mismatched teacups to serve champagne. Or perhaps you can move a table that’s set formally outside. Who doesn't love to dine under the stars – British weather permitting of course? Maybe you only have time for a simple surprise? Why not arrange your flowers not in vases, but in glasses or even in a soup tureen. Simple but effective!
2. Ananya: We love to see beautifully dressed tables with gorgeous crockery and cutlery. Do you have a favourite range of crockery and cutlery that will ‘hold its own’ whatever the occasion?
Esther: So many to choose from! The current trend is to express yourself, and make creative and bold choices that are personal to you. It's all about infusing your settings with your personality.
We see our clients picking beautiful bold patterns in dinnerware and flatware. 'Ca’ d’Oro' by Sieger by Fuerstenberg is definitely one of the favourites. Its monochrome palette with touches of gold works on any occasion. Be that a relaxed dinner with friends or the most formal of settings.
3. Ananya: It’s all in the details and at Ananya we love colour! How would you advise a dinner host to introduce colour into a table setting if they haven’t done so before?
Esther: There are lots of fun, non-intimidating ways to introduce colour. One interesting way, (and less expensive than changing your entire dinner set), is to introduce accents. You can add elegant yet colourful flatware, or glasses, or perhaps a centrepiece or a vase. If you’d like to take it a step further, I would suggest adding colourful side or presentation plates. They give that pop of colour to an otherwise plain, simple setting.
4. Ananya: Knowing where you’ll be sitting and next to whom can sometimes be stressful for the host and guest. What do you think are the key points to creating a fabulous seating plan?
Esther: Dinner parties are a wonderful opportunity to sit beside someone you may have not come across in your daily life. And always allow for last-minute cancellations or indeed last-minute additions!
5. Ananya: It’s so lovely to walk into a home or venue that smells beautiful. What kind of fragrance and flowers do you think work well for a dinner party?
Esther: Fragrance and flowers are a popular trend. And the fragrance, though the least visible, can be the most impactful ingredient of a successful evening. The key is to think through your theme. If you are going with “Summer Entertaining”, pick a floral or fruity scent, and match your candles to your flowers accordingly. You need to ensure that the theme of the party and the smell do not clash. For example if you are going for a Seaside theme, avoid using leather or woody smelling candles.
6. Ananya: It goes without saying that you arrive at a dinner party with a small gift for the host. But what do you think would work well as small take home gifts for guests?
Esther: I really like the idea of a guest walking away with a memento of the evening. I love beautiful, intricate calligraphy so sometimes I take my place setting card which I use as a bookmark. It is such a lovely feeling to open your book before you go to sleep, see the bookmark and think of a nice evening you’d had!
7. Ananya: And finally what are your top three tips for ensuring that your guests feel relaxed, comfortable and pampered?
Esther: Prepare food that can be ready for a while before your guests arrive. You can then focus on greeting guests, drinks and conversation rather than rushing around in the kitchen. Clear your schedule the afternoon of the dinner party. That way you can have an enjoyable few hours to yourself. Great music and your favourite drink in a beautiful glass will help to get you in the mood for the evening. And finally, create a nice personal touch for your guests. You can even do something as simple as placing a different flower on each table setting. Stay relaxed and enjoy - as the host, you set the mood for the party!