How to host a fancy dinner party

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You don't have sweat a fancy party if you follow these easy tips.

How to host a fancy dinner party

If you’ve thrown a party before, you can throw a fancy dinner party. The skills are essentially the same; all you need are ingredients worthy of a fancy party. You’ll want an impressive main course, some good wine and maybe some imported cheeses. The good news is that you really don’t have to do much work yourself -- just follow these tips and watch your party unfold in front of you.

'Fancy' is a theme

That may seem strange to say, but at a fancy dinner party, you don’t need much of a theme beyond being upscale. Let the idea of luxury guide the choices you make.

Make sure the guests understand fancy

The biggest nightmare in throwing a fancy party is having guests show up in jeans and T-shirts and ask to drink Bud Light.  You want guests who appreciate the quality of the meal set before them and who want to be part of the rarefied ambiance you're trying to create.

At a fancy party, the details matter

In a fun Halloween party or football bash or toga party, the little things don’t matter as much because the point of the party is its silliness. With a fancy dinner party, the goal is to recreate a fine dining experience -- and if there's anything at which a good fancy restaurant excels, it’s attention to detail.

This means that you need to consider your centerpiece and make it upscale. You’ll need fancy plates, fancy napkins (preferably cloth napkins), multiple forks for each course, etc. Plus, you will need to create the proper atmosphere: Think muted lighting, candles and soft classical music in the background.

Ingredients matter

A fancy dinner party is not the time to pull out corn dogs and French fries. You’ll want to start the evening with wine and cocktails made with top-shelf liquors. The appetizer, which should be plated, should contain high-quality ingredients: shrimp, lobster, quail eggs, truffles, etc. The entrée should be something you don't serve (or eat) every day and it should come with sides that are equally fancy.

Most important, fun > fancy

While the tips above sound a little draconian (or at the very least, severe), don’t forget that a party is also supposed to be fun -- even a fancy party. So buy the best ingredients, do your best to cook them well, then relax and have a good time. This is your chance to wear a fancy dress (or suit) and eat some good food -- but most important, this is your chance to have fun with your friends.