Top tips for holiday hosting: your dinner party guide
Drinks, desserts and decorations to impress your guests every time
Hosting a dinner party is the perfect way to bring everyone together, especially when you’re on holiday. Whether it’s an intimate evening on the first night of your stay or a more elaborate affair to celebrate a special occasion, we’ve got plenty of hints and tips to keep your guests happy. Plus, a little help from our inclusive concierge service will take care of all the details, from booking private chefs to arranging showstopping flowers for your table.
1. Every good party starts with a theme
Whether it’s a 1920s murder mystery, a carnival inspired soiree or a laid back cheese and wine night, a great theme can make any dinner party twice as special. Keep things simple with themed decorations and establish a colour palette for your tableware, or get into the spirit with fancy dress, a drinks menu and party games to bring out the fun in everyone. Getting the group into character will create unforgettable memories, and is just as fun for grown-ups as children.
Our in-house concierge team are the experts at holiday organisation, and can arrange for the property you’re staying in to be decorated before you arrive. From balloons to banners, they’ll keep plans under wraps for special surprises and arrange all the details for the big day.
2. Go all out with a champagne reception or wine tasting
Nothing says ‘party’ quite like a glittering champagne reception. If you’re welcoming dinner guests just for the evening, a glass of local fizz will provide a wonderful welcome.
On hand to recommend the best food and wine pairings that’ll beautifully complement your meal, an in-house wine tasting is sure to prove a hit before dinner. If you’re staying in Cornwall, sit down with your sommelier and taste a few of the best local wines around, all hand-selected from nearby vineyards. Whether you’ve a soft spot for sparkling or love a good red, their local knowledge will prove invaluable throughout the evening, topping up empty glasses and making sure everyone is catered for.
3. Set the table with personal touches
When it comes to hosting an unforgettable dinner party, a good eye for detail will serve you well. With your plates, glasses and cutlery beautifully laid out for each guest, it’s the little things like personalised place cards or handwritten menus that everyone will remember. The novelty of finding their seat at the table will add an extra special touch for your guests, and works especially well for Christmas lunches and birthday banquets.
Perfect for a sociable supper, a floral display will make a pretty addition to any dinner party table too, from Easter-time yellows to birthday cake pinks. What’s more, our concierge team can arrange for fresh flowers to be delivered to your door – ready for you to make your own.
4. Enlist the help of a private chef
Leave all the details to a trusted local chef or pick up fresh produce from farm shops, fishmongers or delis near your holiday home. However involved you choose to be with the cooking, a little help from a private chef is sure to take away your stress on the night. Some of our South West favourites are Fiona Were, Natasha Osborne, Le Frog and Chef on the Roseland.
If you’d rather be more involved and put your own stamp on dinner, why not learn to cook your favourite dishes with an in-house cookery lesson? Whether it’s seafood, Thai, or a patisserie lesson to bake a cake for your birthday guest, you’ll be able to whip up a feast by day and sit down to dine with friends and family when evening arrives.
If you’re envisioning something specific, our local private chefs can also come prepared with bespoke detailed menus to bring your dinner party dreams to life.
5. Take inspiration from the seasons
Dinner parties aren’t an indoors-only affair, so set up a table in the garden come summertime for an al fresco evening while the sun still shines. For a more casual event, lay down blankets on the grass for a large group picnic, while children run wild.
Somewhere like The Downes in North Devon would make a wonderful setting for a dinner party in the great outdoors – surrounded by countryside and with its own private swimming pool.
Once the colder months creep in, there’s nothing like cosying up by the fire after a hearty roast dinner. Embrace the winter wonderland theme and choose decorations in white, red, silver or gold, and opt for a festive playlist to hum gently in the background.
With a wonderfully sociable layout, Nightjar makes the perfect setting for an autumnal feast for the senses. Sit down to eat in the open plan kitchen, let four-legged friends snooze by the fire and head out to the terrace for a night under the Somerset stars.
6. Cater for everyone
While the adults mingle with a drink in hand, little ones might not be so keen to sit at the table all evening, so give them space to play away from the group. Ideal for multi-generational parties, we recommend having some fun with activities – whether it’s a mocktail making masterclass, a game of croquet on the lawn or some good old-fashioned parlour games after dinner. Once the children are tucked up in bed, a glass of red and a cheese board never goes a miss.
If you’d like to arrange a dinner party for your next holiday, speak to our concierge team and get all the details pencilled in. From decorating the property ready for your arrival, to arranging flowers and balloons for special occasions, they’re our in-house experts when it comes to planning. Call: 01208 895570