Debrett's Dinner Parties
We are happy to announce the publication of Debrett's Dinner Parties in association with the Flower Council of Holland and Orchid Holland.
Whether you're planning an informal kitchen supper, or a formal dinner party - replete with table linen, elaborate place settings and a seating plan - we can help you to make your evening a resounding success.
Our Golden Rules (see below) will start you off on the right footing. We then go on to explain table settings, table decorations (orchids are a must!), essential equipment and invitations and dress codes. We offer advice on timetabling your evening, planning a seasonal menu and serving drinks. We help you brush up your dinner party etiquette and we even give you some hints on dealing with dilemmas: from food allergies and picky eaters to drunken guests and friends who outstay their welcome.
Golden Rules for Hosts/Hostesses
•Never bite off more than you can chew; it's better to do something simple well than making a mess of an over-elaborate dish.
•Plan your menu before the date and stick with it. Don't make decisions to change dishes on the spur of the moment.
•When inviting your guests make sure that the nature of the event is perfectly clear - they'll feel really uncomfortable if they turn up at a formal dinner in jeans and trainers.
•Do as much preparation as you can beforehand, and make sure the table is laid before guests arrive. That way you'll minimise the time you spend in the kitchen.
•Make sure you have adequate supplies of wine (and soft drinks). Always supply water - a jug of iced tap water is perfectly acceptable.
•Ensure that guests start eating within a reasonable time of arriving - if they have to wait 2 or 3 hours for their food they're bound to have too much to drink on an empty stomach.
•If you really don't want the evening to carry on into the small hours - warn your guests beforehand.
•Be ruled by your guests. Don't argue if they choose not to drink, eschew certain foods or opt for a wine that you feel is inappropriate. You must be infinitely accommodating.
How to be the Perfect Host: Golden rules for easy
Formal vs Informal: What kind of dinner party is it to be?
Formal Dinner Parties: From invitations to toasts and orchid centrepieces
A Well Organised Dinner Party: Pre-planning and scheduling
The Dinner Party Menu: Seasonal highlights and finishing touches
The Drinks: Aperitifs, champagne, wine,
Dinner Party Etiquette: civilised table manners
Top Tips for Hostesses: Stage managing the evening
Golden Rules for Guests: Invitations, timing, orchids - the perfect present
This beautiful book is available
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