After months of lockdown for many, the idea of restrictions easing and being able to entertain again is both exciting and a little unnerving. Tracky dacks and ugg boots have become the standard uniform for most of us, while the art of conversation has been sucked into a Zoom vortex inside our laptops. With shindig and small-talk skills a little rusty, it’s certainly reasonable to be edgy about throwing your first dinner party after all this time in near seclusion. We’ve got 5 tips on how to host a post-lockdown dinner party to help you find your mojo.
If your dining room has been doubling as a boardroom and classroom over the past months, it’s time to pack away the post-its and paperclips and get it looking schmick. A stunning dinner party table instantly sets the scene for the night ahead with good plates, wine glasses, linen napery, fresh flowers and scented candles for ambience. Or if the night is balmy, dine outdoors. Don’t forget some mellow ‘dinner party’ background beats from Spotify or Apple Music.
Kick off the night with some fancy cocktails. Chef Laura Sharrad has a heavenly Campari shakerato recipe, as well as a fruity summertime cocktail that can be served with or without alcohol. Or keep it simple with beer and wine. The rule of thumb is red wine with red meat and white with chicken or fish — but, ultimately, let your guests choose what they enjoy. Have plenty of alcohol-free options too and some water jugs on the table.
After months of Ubered pizzas and air-fried potato gems, you’re probably keen to don the chef’s hat and try your hand at homemade soufflés and flaming baked Alaska. But why stress yourself out with complicated culinary creations? The night should be about enjoying the time spent with family and friends, so keep it stress-free. Opt for tasty yet simple recipes that can be prepped ahead of time. Check out these chef-created crowdpleasers by Laura Sharrad.
Dinner party games are a wonderful way to break the ice, get reacquainted and share plenty of chuckles and truth bombs — especially after a cocktail or two. Truth or Dare, Never Have I Ever, Who Am I? and Charades are timeless for every age group. Or try some juicy ice breakers!
Finally, top off the perfect post-lockdown dinner party with some star-gazing around the fire pit with a nightcap or Nescafé. Don’t forget the Bluetooth speaker to bring the tunes outside. Or set up a moonlight cinema ahead of time with cushions, rugs and fairy lights to relax in the open air with a classic movie streamed from Netflix or Stan. On chilly nights, pass around a few throw blankets for your guests to get comfy.