An etiquette expert reveals the essentials you need to host the perfect dinner party

And it's not a lazy Susan
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  • We love a good dinner party, however we have mixed feelings – namely stress and excitement – about hosting one. But these top tips from an etiquette expert on how to host a dinner party, and the must-have items to add to your dinner party arsenal promise to make hosting a breeze.

    Related: Angel Strawbridge’s tips on how to welcome guests into your home this Christmas

    How to host a dinner party

    1.Invest in sharing boards and bowls

    ‘Modern life has certainly changed the way we entertain – trends and tastes have moved on and so have the essentials we rely on,’ explains Jo Bryant, etiquette expert for Dunelm.

    How to host a dinner party 2

    Buy now: Slate serving platter, £12, Dunelm

    ‘While previous generations would swear by Lazy Susans, heated serving trays and even fondue sets as their go-to entertaining essentials, nowadays big sharing boards, a variety of bowls in different sizes, plus plenty of serving spoons and glasses that can multi-task, are likely to be a better investment,’ Jo adds.

    Jo points out that sharing boards are a life-saver when entertaining guests. Avoid finding yourself stuck in the kitchen by presenting your guest with a board laden with cheese, charcuterie and a few other dishes you can prepare easily ahead of time.

    2. Make use of multi-tasking tableware

    How to host a dinner party 4

    Buy now: Lustre Gin Glasses, £10, Dunelm

    Most of us don’t have the cupboard or home space to store a full fancy dinner service for when the neighbours pop round for dinner. Instead, Jo recommends making a splash at the dinner table by serving puddings in cocktail glasses or using serving spoons for elegant starters.

    ‘You will save on valuable cupboard space and score points for creativity,’ Jo explains.

    3. Add a decorative touch with charger plates

    How to host a dinner party 1

    Image credit: Dunelm

    One of Jo’s top tips for how to host a dinner party is to add decorative touches to the table.

    While you can multi-task with glasses, consider splashing out on charger plates as an easy decorative touch. Handwritten place cards or a small posey beside a place setting also add a  lovely personal touch to the dining table that your guests will love.

    4. Keep a spare phone charger to hand

    While you may have nailed the dining arrangments, Jo points out that expectations for a modern party don’t stop there.

    How to host a dinner party

    Buy now: Pimlico Antique Brass Drinks Trolley, £149, Dunelm

    ‘Modern expectations now also mean you’ll do well to keep the WiFi password written down on a card which can be easily passed around,’ says Jo. ‘Also, keep one or two different phone charges spare so your guests can easily check the train times or book a taxi home on their own ride-sharing apps – although it’s still a good idea to keep local taxi numbers handy.’

    Related: The new Primark sequin tablecloth – to add a touch of sparkle to Christmas tables

    Are you ready to host the best Christmas dinner party ever?

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