HOSTING A DINNER: PLANNING
One of my favorite things to do is host a dinner at my home. It's a great time to ask questions and create lasting friendships. Some of my dearest friendships have been made over the dinner table. At first, planning these get-togethers took a lot of time and planning. However, over the years I've created an easily replicated routine. I've compiled some questions people have asked me about hosting. I hope you find some or all of them helpful as you plan to host your next dinner.
QUESTION: WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU ASK YOURSELF AS YOU PLAN?
One of the main things that I enjoy about hosting are the conversations. It's a unique opportunity to get to know people on a deeper level. So, one of the first things that I begin thinking about is how I might direct the conversation during meal time - this is done by asking direct and meaningful questions. There are several factors I typically consider leading up to the time of hosting:
Will My Guests Be Bringing Any Children?
If my guest will be bringing children, I want be thinking of ways I can make sure their kids have things to do (toys, coloring books, games etc.). I want their children to feel taken care of so their parents can feel relieved of any unnecessary pressure. I also want to direct the types of questions I ask during dinner so the children would feel included in the dinner conversation. (i.e. If you could have any superpower what would you pick? If you could be any animal, what would you be? etc.)
Is There Anything I Remember My Guests Specifically Liking or Disliking?
I try to think about the previous time my guest has been over and remember if there are any specific preferences they have such as: tea vs. coffee, preferences of room temperature, early or late night people, etc.
What are Some Previous or Current Events in Their Life That I Can Follow Up On?
Something that shows that you are a host who cares is by remembering and asking about events that are going on in their lives. If you struggle with this, it can be helpful to write notes in your phone contacts about things that are going in their lives.
What are Some Things I Want to Get to Know About My Guests?
This may be easy if you've already had someone over for dinner. However, if this is the first time you've had someone over, it can be helpful to write down a list of 'Get to Know You" questions that help break the ice and get your guests talking and you listening. There is a great set of cards (and iPhone app) called TableTopics which provide a variety of questions if you have difficulty thinking of some.
What are Some Things to be Discussed or Brought Up if the Mood Gets Too Serious?
Sometimes, conversation can get too serious and ruin the mood of the evening. I've found it helpful to find good segue questions to encourage the conversation back towards more enjoyable discussion. These topics can vary based on what is going on in your life. However, they can be important none-the-less.
Do Any of the Guests Have Any Food Allergies?
This is a relatively easy thing to figure out. A simple text or short phone call can alleviate any awkward moments as you bring your food out to the table. The important think is to remember to just ask the question.
What are some ways you plan for a dinner?
| Credits: Author - Jacintha Payne; Photography - Calvin Payne |