How to Throw a Dinner Party

This holiday season, you and your spouse can host a memorable evening for your friends — and enjoy it, too.

Casual get-togethers are certainly fun, but there seem to be few opportunities for spouses to spruce up and enjoy an evening with those closest to them. Having a dinner party can be an opportunity to do just that. But from experience, most of us know that hosting a dinner party and enjoying one are two different things, especially when you and hubby are taking matters into your own hands. So, with the guidance of Ruth Kern, international etiquette consultant and founder of the Chicago-based etiquette consulting firm Modern Etiquette, we've designed an in-depth approach for you and your spouse that will help you create a memorable evening—and enjoy it together, too.

Before the Party Starts

Set your event apart from others by letting your guests know that you are taking great care to create an experience just for them. Instead of giving a casual phone call, set the stage by sending invitations. These do not have to be expensive or adhere to any particular format. Be as creative as you want, and be sure to fit your budgeting goals. Whether hand-written or printed, you'll create anticipation for the evening to come.

Be sure to tell guests information they'll need to know. You may want to describe your party as, "A Couples' Christmas Banquet" or "A Holiday Formal," and let guests know how to dress for the occasion. Try phrases like "casual dress," "Sunday formal," or "black tie" to help guests understand the style. They'll want to know this, and it will help avoid potential embarrassment.

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