How throw the perfect dinner party for the Jubilee
June 2, 2022

[Disclosure: This post is a collaboration with Robert Welch which involved me being gifted the cutlery used in these pictures]

Everyone loves a great dinner party – good food, plenty to drink, a relaxed environment and fun with your friends or family. The Jubilee is the perfect time to throw a dinner party in the comfort of your own home,¬† especially if you don’t fancy joining in a street party, queuing up at the pub or having yet another afternoon tea.

However, you don’t really need to wait for a special occasion or national celebration to throw a dinner party. You can do it any time you like, for any reason, on any day of the week.

Some people are old hands at dinner parties, throwing them whenever an occasion arises – or even when one doesn’t. But if you aren’t an expert and are thinking about throwing a dinner party, here are a few handy hints and tips put together to help you out.

Do you need a dinner party theme?

Jubilee dinner party

Truth be told, dinner parties can be great without any theme – other than good food and drink. But certain occasions and celebrations do lend themselves to great dinner parties.

From birthday dinner parties to celebrations, your theme might be personal. Or it might be on a bigger scale, like the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which gives you the perfect excuse to go a bit extra with your table decor, menu and anything else you fancy.

Whatever the occasion, there’s the opportunity for you to make that the inspiration for your whole dinner party theme – a thread running through everything.

If you are going to have a theme, think about how you can use in with your place settings, your playlist, your menu and your drinks. There are so many ways to incorporate it.

Equally, if that isn’t your thing, keep it simple and throw a dinner party without a theme.

Plan your dinner party menu – including your timings

Robert Welch

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It might sound extreme, but very much applies when you’re planning a dinner party. No matter how good a cook you are, the nature of a dinner party means you’re chef, maitre d’, sommelier and kitchen porter all in one. That means unless you’re some kind of superhuman things will easily start to unravel once your guests arrive and you find yourself trying to do everything at the same time.

A big element in making sure you don’t fall apart under pressure is to plan the whole lot and work out all your timings. That’s everything from how long each element takes to cook to prep time, any resting time, and working out how it all fits together. That also allows you to work backwards from the time you plan to eat to make sure you have everything done in plenty of time.

Don’t forget, you probably need to add in some¬†buffer for when things go wrong (I speak from experience) so you have some time to spare. Plus you’ll need some time for all those little things we forget for dinner parties, like laying the table, getting changed into your party frock, and having a last-minute tidy up.

Prepare as much as you can in advance

Robert Welch

If you’ve planned your dinner party as above, you’ll know which bits you can prepare in advance and which things you can do long before your guests arrive.

It could be anything from laying the table beautifully and getting all your best cutlery and glassware out to making any desserts that can be made ahead of time, or sorting any marinades and dips or canapes. You can prepare most vegetables a few hours before you cook them, and don’t forget to open your wine in plenty of time too!

The more you prepare in advance, the fewer tasks you’ll have to tackle when your guests are there, meaning you’ve got more time to enjoy your own dinner party too.

Get your table settings right

Robert Welch

The days of crisp white tablecloths have gone, even in some Michelin Star restaurants, so there’s absolutely no need for you to start getting out the starch and the traditional dinner service. But you can still easy make your table look beautiful with some simple touches.

If you’re having a theme, you can dress your table accordingly, whether it’s using a specific tablecloth, themed napkins or any other accessories you can find. Even without a theme you might want to add touches like candleholders, place names, floral displays or any other restaurant-inspired additions.

But really, the key is cutlery. There’s something about having a full set of cutlery, from main course knife and fork down to extras for your starter, a soup spoon, bread knife and dessert spoon that reminds you this isn’t just a bit of tea – it’s a dinner party.

Dinner party cutlery doesn’t have to be ornate or old-fashioned. These days you can find sets to suit any taste. Experts like Robert Welch have something for everyone, with a whole array of designs from simple to more artistic, plus extras to adorn your table from napkin rings to coasters, bowls and other tableware.

Robert Welch’s Radford design, featured here, is one of their bestsellers and it’s no surprise really, with a classic design that will fit with any table setting, making it perfect for a Jubilee dinner party – or great dinner party cutlery for any occasion.

Having your cutlery clean and perfectly-polished will make a difference – there’s something about sitting down to a perfectly-laid place setting complete with gleaming, carefully-laid cutlery that can make an occasion feel extra special.

Keep it simple but special

Robert Welch
Robert Welch

This applies to everything from your cutlery and decor to the food you serve up at a dinner party. Neither have to be complex or over-the-top to be special. Food can be tasty without being extravagant, and a setting can be beautiful without being fussy.

The key is to knowing your limits and doing things your own way to create a dinner party that suits you. If that means serving up two courses rather than three, so be it. But if you want to serve a five-course extravaganza and feel comfortable and confident doing that, then go for it.

The same goes for your cutlery and place settings. Sometimes less can be more. While we all love having a table laden with multiple glasses and cutlery arranged in a way that will have people struggling to know what to pick up next, it’s also fine to throw a dinner party with simple place settings and clean, classic cutlery.

Simple doesn’t have to come in place of special. Even if you’ve got less cutlery on the table, make sure it’s top quality and so clean you can see your face in it. And while you may have chosen a starter with only a few elements, a main course that’s tried and tested, or a dessert that someone else has whipped up for you, make sure they’re still tasty as hell and presented well. They’re guaranteed to impress either way providing they hit the basics of looking and tasting good.

Don’t forget dessert

Robert Welch
robert Welch

So many people ignore dessert, but it’s often your last chance to impress your dinner party guests and round of an evening of great food and drink. Yes, your dessert may be cheese rather than something sweet, but having that ending to a meal really does bring it to a nice conclusion.

Dessert could be a creation that was hours in the making, or might be something as simple as a tart picked up from a local supermarket, but people will still remember it. So dish it up nicely, add some garnish, and think about what you’re accompanying it with. A lovely cake slice and cake or dessert forks never goes amiss either.

The secret to the best dinner party is having fun

Robert Welch

Sounds corny, right? But it’s true. You can serve up a seven-course tasting menu with the finest wines and the crispest of white tablecloths, but if the atmosphere is flat, you’re stressed out, and nobody’s having fun, then it really isn’t going to be a dinner party to remember.

On the other hand, you could dish up a simple main course and a pudding bought from a bakery and if you’ve created the right atmosphere, people are guaranteed to have a good time.

The perfect dinner party is a sum of all its parts – and that includes the people. So when you’re dreaming up a dinner party with excellent food, a perfectly-laid table, the best cutlery and all the extras, don’t forget the most important element. Your guests. Make them happy and you’re guaranteed to throw the best dinner party.

[Disclosure: This post is a collaboration with Robert Welch which involved me being gifted the cutlery used in these pictures]