Inviting friends, colleagues, and even family to your home for a private dinner party is a great way to form a bond with those closest to you. First-time dinner party hosts tend to get overwhelmed with the preparations. Questions such as what time should the party start? What food should I serve? Who is the best company that does local catering for parties? Should there be cocktails?

These are all great questions to consider and answering them will help you plan an amazing private party. To help you become the best host possible, here are some of the best food suggestions to serve your guests:

Start After 5 PM

It is proper to start a private dinner after 5 PM, whether it is on the weekday or the weekend. A better way to gauge the time during the weekday is to start the party 30 minutes or an hour after the typical rush hour, this way your guests don’t have to rush to get to your house. As for weekends, starting late means everyone can sleep in a little before preparing for the party.

Also, it is a dinner party and no dinner starts before 5 PM, not unless you are in a retirement home.

Bar Service

Speak with the company doing local catering for parties if they include a bar and bartender in their services. If not, ask if they can recommend someone for the job and you can provide the drinks. A DIY bar for the dinner party isn’t very classy, even if you have top-shelf booze available.

Don’t hassle guests to prepare their own drinks for the night, it’s just bad manners from the host.


Dinner will not start the moment your guests arrive. There will be drinks, some time to chat and mingle which means some might feel a bit peckish. Offer some finger food for appetizers so that no one feels like they are starving while they wait for the main course. The appetizers can be served by waiters making rounds with trays of food or there can be a small buffet table where guests can choose their snacks.

Excellent appetizer choices are finger sandwiches, chips with dip, meat and cheese platter, cheese and crackers, basically any food that can be eaten using fingers or with the help of a toothpick.

The Dinner

There should be table large enough to seat all of your guests at once. Serving of food can be done family style where the food is on the table, buffet style, or served in courses. This will depend on how formal the dinner will be.

As a rule of thumb, serve something light like salad or soup first, followed by the main entree, and then dessert. Avoid anything too messy such as tomato-based pasta to avoid any spills and stains. Consult with your caterer about the best menu for the actual dinner.

Don’t forget, always make sure to take note of any allergies and dietary restrictions so that all of your guests can enjoy the night without worrying about an allergic reaction.

Saint Germain Catering offers the best local catering for parties. Contact us today to find out more about our menu and what we can offer you.

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