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

And it's not a lazy Susan

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.

slate serving platter with golden handle having cheese black grapes on it

(Image credit: Dunelm)

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

lustre gin glasses with lemons and white tray with plant

(Image credit: Dunelm)

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

dining space with dining table having charger plates and blue wooden flooring

(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.

room with blue wall having brass drink trolley in golden colour

(Image credit: Dunelm)

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?

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.