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Organizing a dinner party can be hard if you go it alone

In our previous blog post in this series we made the case that dinner parties are more fun when you get several people involved in throwing them.  The natural follow up to that is actually breaking down some of the basic roles that a host ought to fill to make a dinner party a success.  While we imagine dinner parties could get quite complex (more on that later) we want to start with 4 simple roles or jobs that need to get done or at least thought through to make a dinner party a success.   Any one person could certainly be all of these roles, but it’s more fun when you divide and conquer!

1.  The Host

I know I know, we just told you how there are many hosts.  Well in our mind, the actual host is the person whose idea it was to throw the dinner party.  This is the person who plans the party, decides on who the guests will be and who then chooses the people to fill the other roles.  We see this person as a producer.  The host chooses the location and handles the finances or the menu and at the end of the day, is the one who really makes the party happen.

2. Chef / Sous Chef

People often envision a single person cooking for everyone at dinner parties, but it’s much more fun to have others help out.  Every star chef has a sous-chef, so why not call up a friend who can be the butter to your bread, the syrup to your waffle, the sauce for your pasta?  Cooking is naturally a social process so it’s just more fun when you’ve got a partner in crime.  Another key benefit of having someone else in the kitchen is that if any last minute distractions come up, you won’t be leaving the whole meal unattended.

3. Bartender

A tasty drink is a key part of a culinary and social experience.  Whether or not the drinks are alcoholic, having someone to make sure no one goes thirsty is a crucial job.  As your guests start arriving, they may or may not know everyone, and you may be too busy cooking or organizing something to greet them immediately.  That is where the bartender comes to the rescue!  “Would you like a frosty adult beverage?”  WHAM, all of a sudden your guests feels more at home and start to settle in.  In addition to the obvious social component of alcohol, any drink is something tangible your guests can chat about if they don’t all know each other.  “My this Mai Tai is tasty.”  Fancy drinks are not necessary (click here for some fun drink recipes though) as long as your guests are comfortably mingling with a drink in hand.

4. DJ
Have you ever been to a great party where the music suddenly stops?  It makes you realize just how important it is to have a little beat in the background.  Your playlist will set the tone of the party even before the food gets served and the drinks start flowing.  A good dinner party DJ doesn’t need to bring turntables, the sticker-laden laptop, and giant speakers—they just need to be thoughtful about what music fits the party.   A host could easily do the job of the DJ by preparing an iPod playlist and just setting it on repeat.  Don’t underestimate that simple and easy solution, but a DJ who is paying attention to the music can adjust it to shape the vibe of the party or change the vibe of the party.  Things too sleepy?  How about a little electronic ?  About to sit down at the table?  Probably should turn the volume down a bit.  Feeling classy and classic?  Throw on some Billie Holiday! The music can make a big difference for the guests experience of the party, but it is often the last thing on the host’s mind.  That is why finding a DJ is a win win: great music, less stress!

At the end of the party, after everyone is full and happy, people start to wonder, when will we do this again and why don’t we do this more often?  What better time to plan the next party than when you have everyone gathered around and glowing from your successful dinner party?   Sign someone up!  Put another date on the calendar to make sure to keep the dinner parties flowing!

Be sure to check back as we explain more specifics on how each of these roles can make a dinner party fantastic. Also, remember, the Zokos website makes hosting a party and coordinating roles a piece of cake.  Happy eating!

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