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7 top tips for hosting a virtual dinner party

It’s a chance to share some welcome fun and laughter with people you care about, and a great excuse to dress up a little… or a lot. Read on for our 7 top tips for hosting a successful dinner party and get ready for an evening everyone will enjoy.
Design Inspiration Lifestyle Hints & Tips
Como Dining

1. Test the tech and send out the (virtual) invites

To ensure the evening goes smoothly, make sure your tech is working, especially video and microphone. It’s a good idea to check your laptop or tablet’s battery is charged and that your dining set is near a power outlet – you don’t want to be the dinner party host who disappears into thin air mid-anecdote. Finally, avoid the dreaded screen-freeze and other glitches by asking others in your household to go easy on the wi-fi on the night of your event.

Send out your invites via email or set up a virtual chat group with an agreed date and time, and give lots of notice. Limit your guest list to the number of guests you could fit around a normal sized dining table. Over eight people and it could be too chaotic for everyone to be seen and heard.

Central Park
Annecy Dining

2. Agree your dress code, theme and food

Decide with your guests whether your dinner party is to be relaxed and informal, posh and dressed-up or ‘anything goes’. Dressing up is a welcome change from jogging bottoms, and guests can be as subtle or over-the-top as they want. If you want to maximise the fun-factor, perhaps have a theme such as dress as your hero, full formal wear or simply wearing silly hats. There are so many IDEAS to choose from and in some cases you can even match the theme and dress to the food – a Mexican, Italian or French evening for example.

Food and drink can be part of your theme, for example where everybody cooks the same recipes or makes the same cocktails – comparing everyone’s efforts can be quite hilarious, especially when things go wrong. A nearby sideboard or kitchen island could come in handy here, as a useful surface for mixing exotic drinks.

To add to the entertainment guests could vote on the best food presentation, or different family members could cook different courses.

It’s a good idea to make the starter and pudding cold and the main dish easy to plate up, to avoid guests being away from the camera for too long during the dinner party. If coordinating food seems like too much hard work then opt for guests cooking what they want – or you could even all agree to order in a takeaway.

Cayenne Dining

3. Set a stunning dinner table

You’re not going anywhere, so why not really go for it and set your table so you feel like you’re dining at a five-star restaurant. Whether you have a rustic or industrial style wooden dining table or a modern high gloss, marble or glass dining table you can make it look extra special with the right tableware. Choose your favourite crockery, napkins and glasses, and add flowers and candles if you really want to impress. Let’s be honest, people can get competitive…

If you have a large or extending dining table, then sit at one end so you can imagine that you are sharing the table with your guests. Experiment beforehand to get the best view – it can help to have your tablet or laptop higher up (find something safe and sturdy to rest it on) to create a more flattering angle. Whatever you do, don’t have the camera too close when you’re eating, it’s not a good look!

4. Make yourself comfy with luxurious dining chairs

Upholstered dining chairs are so in style right now, and will make those lengthy virtual dinner parties both stylish and comfortable. High backed chairs with rolled, buttoned backs, velvet chairs that cocoon you in comfort or retro winged designs perfect for lounging in will make you the envy of your friends. Add to the comfort of wooden dining chairs with scatter cushions, or treat yourself to a luxurious corner dining bench, perfect for cosying up on with your better half.

Chennai Dining
Accessories Lighting

5. Add to the glamour with luscious lighting

Layering your lighting and controlling the direction of the light makes sure you don’t look like a rabbit in the headlights or – even worse – a sinister silhouette. A combination of candles and table or floor lamps will create a relaxed and ambient mood – and show you off to your best advantage.

6. Look behind you…

Have you thought about what will be on view behind you as you enjoy your sophisticated virtual dinner party? Will your friends or family have a view of your favourite wall art or display cabinet, or will they get an eyeful of your drying laundry? Position yourself so you have a backdrop you love, such as house plants , gorgeous shelving, a chic wall decoration or other finishing touches. If the wall behind your dining table is bland and boring, dress it up and create a party atmosphere with fairy lights or bunting.

Earth Dining

7. Have fun

Make your dinner party last late into the evening with virtual games, challenges or trivia quizzes – there are a wealth of online options to choose from but you may find you don’t need them. Conversation is far more likely to flow when you’re eating together, even if it is at a distance.

We hope you feel inspired to host your own virtual dinner party. It gives everybody something to look forward to, and planning and getting ready is part of the fun. It’s much cheaper than eating out, involves less washing up and tidying up than hosting a crowd – and there’s no worrying about getting home – you’re already there! But most important of all, a virtual dinner party is a chance for sharing, laughter and connection, things that are always welcome in life.


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