How to throw a dinner party

If you have managed to reach your fourth year at St Andrews and still not attended a dinner party, then you are an anomaly. The most common form of entertainment in this town, the humble dinner party comes in many forms: potluck, dress-up, restaurant, and my favourite with huge letters BYOB. Us Owl Eyes editors are shameless dinner party fanatics. We thought as a helpful hand to all the would-be hosts out there we’d let you in one some of the secrets of our most recent dinner party.

  1. Pick a theme.

Keep it simple and not too fussy. We ran with the popular Hygge trend, covering the room in eucalyptus and candles. No jumper no entry, clearly marked on the invite.

2. Everyone loves a cocktail.

They are a life saver when the food is running an hour late. Enlist the help of your guests to help whip up a simple elderflower gimlet from your makeshift sidebar. The best ice-breaker and angry hungry guest deterrent I know.

3. Easy food, maximum impact.

Everyone can cook spaghetti Bolognese, people are going to a dinner party for something exciting. Two trendy bulgar wheat salads, complete with avocado, are all round pleasers. They look good and take minutes to make.

4. As students the chances are you will have a veggie or two in attendance at your dinner party.

This is no reason to cast the all veggie cloud over your meat eating guests. A large vegetarian tart, will fill guests up, but a small meat dish like this marinated sliced beef, will ensure no dietary requirement is left unmet.

5. Do not underestimate the effect a really good cheese will have at a dinner.

We took the easy root on canapé’s with a twist on cheese and biscuits. The sourdough crisp, topped with pecorino and honey vanished in seconds, with shouts of ‘please sir, can I have some more’.

6. Don’t go at it alone.

Throwing a dinner party solo is a mammoth feat, saved for the Nigella’s out there. I enlisted the help of our Editor and her cracking cooking skills to help pull the night off. What should have been a whole day’s work, was brought down to an Instagram worthy dinner pulled off in less than 3 hours. Trust me, that is no time at all when pastry is involved.

7. To throw a proper good shindig it’s going to set you back a pretty penny.

The best place to cut the cost and save the purse strings are on the wine. Trust in your guests to furnish the table with wine, it’s the least they could do after you cooked such a fantastic dinner.


Photos courtesy of Jenny Elwin for Owl Eyes Magazine