Whilst Martha Stewart and other celebrity “domestic goddesses” have set the bar high for hosting, anyone can throw an amazing get-together. As a professional wedding and events planner, I recommend starting with a space that is warm and welcoming. From there, you can create an ambience that matches the environment, serve food and drinks that tantalise the mind and the palate, and bring your guests together for connection and conversation. For more tips on how to the throw the perfect dinner party, check out what some of Cayman’s own industry experts recommend.
Cuisine and More
We asked Chef and Catering Goddess Timisha Edwards, of Tia’s Table, what creates the perfect dinner party experience?
From a chef’s perspective, food is everything. Food creates and sets the atmosphere for the party you want, but it really is nothing unless you have the little details to pull it off. Growing up, the table setting is where it all came together. A mind-blowing table helps bring a get-together to life. Go crazy and wild in this area and make it your own. Using items that are in season and fresh sets the mood and begins to connect people as soon as they walk through the door. A homemade drink is the second thing I look for at a Christmas/dinner party. Serving a welcome drink that no one expects really gets the conversation going.
When it comes to food, don’t try to be too fancy and try things you’ve never tried before. Christmastime is for family and great friends. It is connecting with the people you care about the most whilst remembering the season. Serving dishes that mean the most to you and your people are the best way to do this. Traditional Caymanian dishes like stew beef and sweet heavy cakes are always a must. Last but not least, I love take-away goodies — rum cakes, fruit cakes, banana bread. They embed the amazing party experience deeper into their hearts.
Take some tips from Amba Lamb, mixologist and wine expert for The Ritz-Carlton, on what type of cocktails are best served at dinner parties.
Serve drinks that can be assembled beforehand so it doesn’t take away from time with your guests, friends and family. A nice big punch bowl or jug of cocktails is also a great talking point. Punch bowls are so versatile and can double as a centrepiece.
At home I personally have two decanters ready for any occasion. One contains a blend of gin, grapefruit liqueur and basil oil. It can either be used as a base for quick tasty gin and tonics or stirred down on ice for a delicious martini — either one is a great way to start a meal. The other is a batch of rum old fashioned, chilled down and poured on a big ice cube for the perfect after-dinner digestive. A big jug of vanilla espresso martinis is the ultimate crowd pleaser for a brunch or lunch Christmas party, with vodka or rum, depending on your group’s preferences. Each course and each moment can have a specialised drink pairing that takes things to the next level.
Setting the Mood
DJ and Lighting Specialist Jason Rankin of Productions of Paradise shares his expert opinions on how lighting and music affect a dinner party’s mood.
In order to deliver the ultimate experience, we have to do our homework. We need to know not only the basic details like venue, timeline and floor plan but the overall vision and goal for the evening. We ensure both the lighting and sound are meticulously placed to guarantee optimal performance and to make sure the space has a solid vibe. There are over a million lighting colour combinations available to us, which allows us to instantly change the room’s ambience on cue based on the vibe and tone of the evening. The simplest change in the tone of lighting can transform the mood instantly. Music needs to be craftily selected and masterfully blended throughout the night to connect with the guests and the moment. The tone of the lighting in the space and the connection with the music can turn a simple dinner party into one of the most memorable nights of someone’s life.
CAL Travel Tips
We’re cooking up some stellar flight deals over at caymanairways.com! Sign up online for our newsletter to receive special fares and promos.
Author: Amanda Jane Pennington