Dinner parties do not have to be a fancy affair yet on the other hand you do not want your guests to find you half prepared. The food needs to be set, the music should be ideal and you should be looking like the host who is happy to have their guests around.
Let the Bar Beckon
For the smoothest entry, give arriving guests a clear destination. A cart or a small table done up with essentials (plus flowers and a kooky conversation piece) is a friendly oasis, and it frees you to scurry back to the kitchen if needed. Try to offer bar access from more than one side, to prevent traffic jams. Stock generously (chill white wine two hours in advance) so guests won’t need to come looking for anything—ice, glassware, bottle opener, garnishes—but reserve some surface area for mixing drinks. Nobody wants to whip up a Manhattan in midair.
Wander Into the Kitchen
Guests go where the action is—besides, they want to hang out with the host. Be ready with a hospitable setup.
Prop for socializing. Give over the far end of your work zone (kitchen counter or island) to appetizers, so people know exactly where they can linger without being too in-your-face.Sourced from:http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/entertaining/dinner-party-ideas
Simplicity can go a long way. Do not try too hard to impress. Go with the rule of specialization. Find something that you do well and cheaply. Cook a meal that you find easy and even fun to prepare. Ensure that the meals are balanced.
1. Resist the temptation...
...to cook some exotic Japanese dish that you're not even sure how to pronounce and had never laid eyes on until you opened Google five minutes ago. Cook something you're confident with. Don't try a recipe for the first time (unless you are, in fact, Nigella).
2.Keep your balance
Dinner party table. When planning your menu, avoid too many heavy dishes and think about how they go together. Would you fancy eating quiche, followed by pie, followed by tart? Too much pastry, too much stodge! You might want to choose a theme too, like Italian or Spanish food.Sourced from:http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-10-dinner-party-tips
A good dinner party is also a good play party. Your guests will be delighted to play games and this is an affordable way to get them entertained. Games buy you time so that when you have to finish up something, your guests are focused on something else.
Traditional Board Games
Whether you become a wealthy tycoon in Monopoly or rule the world in Risk, playing silly games after dinner is an age old pastime-- and a really fun thing to do at a dinner party. Think this is passé and old fashioned? It's not! I have friends whose monthly board game nights are anticipated with real relish. Whether its charades or board games you can all have a great time. Every game is different and engaging in its own way.
Silly Kiddie Games
Or how about reverting back to your childhood and play Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land? While it may sound silly, sometimes even the oldest of games are great fun when you are all grown up. They take the tension off of being a grown up and remind you of those days what was important was having fun. Plus, the utter silly simpleness of these games will make the whole thing a bit more casual-- and keep conversation flowing while everyone plays.
Another fun thing to do at a dinner party along these same lines is to make the whole thing a theme. Along with playing kiddie board games, have everybody choose a dish from their childhood that they love. Or make gourmet version of classic kid favorites. A whole night of celebrating childhoods past will make for a very special memory for your guests.Sourced from:http://www.divinedinnerparty.com/fun-things-to-do-at-a-dinner-party.html