Keeping your guests entertained throughout a dinner party is part and parcel of being a good hostess, though it can also be something of a challenge – especially when you’re performing the juggling act of keeping glasses topped up, conversation flowing and courses perfectly presented.
To help you avoid resorting to literal juggling, here are a few entertainment ideas to provide that perfect combination of fun, frolics and, of course, food.
THE NAME GAME
This simple game requires very little time or effort to get set up. Prior to the party, write the names of a few (depending on the number of guests) famous people on some cards. These people can be real or fictional, so long as they’re sufficiently well known.
Place the cards under each guest’s plate, facedown. Then, at an appropriate lull in the evening (or perhaps when you need to nip out to the kitchen to finish off the main course) kick off the game by instructing one guest to lift their plate and pass their card around to the other guests, without looking. They will then have to guess the identity of the famous person on their card by asking shrewd questions of the other guests.
Print and cut our handy Celebrity List to kick-start your party entertainment.
FUN PHOTO GAMES
Guaranteed to make your evening memorable in every sense of the word, placing a couple of cameras next to your centrepiece is a great way to keep guests amused – and mobile phones work equally well.
Whilst you’re busy cooking up a storm in the kitchen, guests can take fun snaps of each other, which you can develop at a later date and share with your friends for posterity. Alternatively, a Polaroid camera has great retro charm and allows you to look at the pictures almost instantly.
Try taking some hilarious snapshots with our print-out Fun Photo Challenge.
GUESS THE WINE
This simple game is ideal if your guests happen to fancy themselves as expert wine buffs. Ask each guest to bring a bottle of wine with the label removed, and then serve a sample of each wine as the evening progresses.
Towards the end of the night, bring the mystery wine labels out and challenge your guests to match the wine to the label – this will quickly establish who knows their Chablis from their Chardonnay!
You could give guests little pads and pens to help them take notes as you serve, and even up the ante by offering a bottle of wine as a prize. Just remember to keep your glasses clean and sparkling so players can really appreciate the colour of each wine.
To make this game easier, print out several copies of our simple Wine Notes and Ranking Chart for your guests.
COME DINE WITH FRIENDS
Fans of the hilarious TV dining show will already be well aware of the format, so why not recreate this entertaining ratings winner among friends? Take it in turns to host dinner parties and rate each other’s efforts out of 10 using the main criteria followed on the show:
- Food presentation
- Quality of food
- Effort and complexity of menu
- Hosting and entertainment
If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you could even film your dinner party exploits for posterity – and you could raise the stakes by all chipping in a small sum of money to create a prize pot for the winner.