Sometimes, I get really romantic about things. I’ll run things through some weird mental filter where I can’t seem to think of anything negative. That has never happened whenever I have been in charge of hosting a dinner party.
That shit stresses me out through and through.
But if I had to think about the perfect dinner party, it is not during the summer season. Those precious warmer months are about being outdoors with great people, a grill, and, of course, Aperol cocktails. Dinner parties are best held for the all too brief fall season. You’ve just said goodbye to the beach and are mentally preparing for a winter vortex. Why not embrace the perfectly crisp weather and gather an intimate group of friends for a meal, some drinks, and conversation?
Chris Glass, Membership Director for Soho House Group, likes flowers. I’d prefer an array of cacti. Glass likes to take an hour before his guests to arrive prepare himself for what’s to come.
“The perfect atmosphere for a dinner party is really underlined by scent and music,” Glass says.
This is where he and I come together in sweet, sweet harmony. The scent! The music! These two elements are key for pulling off a successful dinner party. If either of those is off, your guests will be preoccupied and it almost won’t matter if you’re serving the most succulent cut of meat. They’ll be thinking “…the fuck is that smell? And is that Oasis playing in the background?”
I’m fairly certain my love for candles goes deeper than the emotions I’ve felt for any former lover (yes, I know how fucked up that sounds) but I’m currently okay with that. Before your guests arrive, burn some expensive candles in each room and then switch to a more affordable candle about halfway through dinner. You might not want them burning the entire time (let the aroma from your meal take over for a little bit!) but will want them to pull a double before turning in for the night.
If you’ve got the funds, do yourself a favor and hit up Le Labo. Not only are their candles vegan and cruelty-free but they also smell incredible. To be honest, it’s rude how good they smell. I’m partial to Santal 26 and I’m convinced that after one whiff, you’ll be hooked just like me.
Bonus tip? Swing by one of their physical locations and get the label on your product customized. It’s a silly little detail but the few items I have include “Thursday’s Journal” on them and it gives me a little boost each time I read the name of my blog on a product.
Let’s talk about music. For me to have an extensive list of originally themed playlists, I have yet to make one about dinner parties! It’s offensive, I know, but you’re going to have to deal with it. Luckily, I have a few ideas to spark your own list, okay? To help set the mood, lean more into tracks that are familiar but sit very comfortable in the background. This isn’t the time for a Top 40 rager nor should you bring the house to tears Adele or her third cousin, Sam Smith.
What you want is Solange’s “Locked In Closets,” a little Estelle x Luke James, and, yes, The xx. I’d go for Jamie xx’s remix of “On Hold.” Take it back with White Town’s “Your Woman” and please remember that, at some point, you will need to put on Tweet’s “Smoking Cigarettes.” Even if the latter doesn’t make an appearance until your guests start to head home, make sure it gets played.
My darling, you should pretty much be set. All that’s left now is…the menu. God speed.