Bon Appétit

The Secret to Hosting a Great Dinner Party

A great dinner party is a considerable feat – the food is undeniably important but it’s the extra accompaniments like a good guest list, music playlist, table décor and the welcome libation that is equally as important regardless if the table setting is for 4, 8 or 16.

Now, every entertainer has their own secrets to hosting an impressive dinner party, some well-known, others a party philosophy. So, for James St’s dinner party secrets to success, we spoke to the unofficial party planners in our community – a collective of florists, designers, fashion purveyors and restauranteurs to hear what they have to say.


Edwina Forest – Aje, Co-Owner and Creative Director

“The ideal dinner party should firstly comprise of intriguing company; inviting guests that you love and enjoy spending time with. As I am so drawn to the finer details; ensure you curate a menu and refreshments alongside décor with the utmost level of care and attention. Honour each touchpoint with purpose. My dinner dreamscape would embrace French sounds, tonal linens, artisanal Dinosaur Designs serve wear, elegant Maison Balzac coloured carafes, wondrous handmade beeswax candles by Tony Assness and of course flora and fauna by our dear friends at Grandiflora. Et Voilà!”


Carla Zampatti – Carla Zampatti, Owner and Designer

“My secret is to choose an outfit that I feel glamourous and feel confident in. This stops me worrying about what I am wearing and instead enjoy myself in the moment.” 


Tyron Simon – sAme sAme and LOS, Owner

“Keeping the food simple, soft lighting (or candles), good music (Doing It in Lagos is a favourite) and full glasses (Chablis or Tommy’s).”


Martin Gay – Flower Trap, Owner and Florist

“Less is more but more is fabulous.”


Sean Venturi – Venroy, Co-Founder and Designer

“For me, the key to a successful dinner party is first and foremost, the right company. Followed quickly by good food and paired wines. Consider everyone’s dietary requirements as you can really ruin someone’s night if their meal hasn’t been catered to them. Lastly, music!! Gauge your crowd when selecting tracks and if you can’t pick it, VENROY Spotify playlists has never failed me!!”


Samantha Ogilvie – Samantha Ogilvie and Maryon’s, Owner

“The secret is definitely great cocktails and relaxed and easy-going hosts. If the hosts are relaxed it creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere for the guests to have a great time. My favourite cocktail is a lychee martini. Never fails to get everyone in the mood!”


Nicky Charman – Calexico and Calexico Man, Owner

“My dinner party secret is to make sure I make the perfect music playlist for the evening depending on the kind of guests that will be attending. I want the music to feel uplifting, varied and fun. By the end of the night my dinner guests love a dance so let’s turn it up loud! Oh, and let’s not forget to have the Calexico Candle burning before the guests arrive to set the mood!”


Natasha Chipman – Natasha Schweitzer, Co-Owner and Designer

“Good wine and great flowers and excellent conversation. I’m a white tablecloth kind of girl.”


Gail Sorronda – Gail Sorronda, Co-Owner and Designer

“I recently co-hosted a guerrilla-style, full moon inspired dinner party in a field.  My secret ingredient is to theme the evening where all things are considered, not just the food to ensure it’s memorable.”


Harriet Sutherland – Camargue, Head Buyer and Store Manager

“I would say the secrets of hosting a great dinner party would have to be a great playlist to set the mood, a good cheeseboard and drinks for guests upon arrival, and a fabulous outfit, I’m particularly drawn to our Matteau summer collection for easy sun dresses that you feel relaxed in but still look great.”


Pascal, FreshFishCo and FreshSushiCo, Owner

“Fish is easier to cook than meat. Simply put the pan on medium heat, add butter, salt and pepper, and watch it cook.”


Alex Chipman – Natasha Schweitzer, Co-Owner and Designer

“Lots of good food and laughter are my dinner party essentials – and, guests wearing our jewellery, of course!”


Sam Boughton – West Elm, Area Manager

“It is all about creating the right mood with scented candles and ambient lighting, layering in candlelight will add that extra touch of sparkle that every dinner party needs! My favourite products would be! Our Glow scented candles with a frozen mint and Peony petal scent, so fresh and inviting. Along with our loop candelabra which adds the perfect height and drama to a tablescape.”


Mike Makras – Optiko, Owner and Optometrist

“I really enjoy hosting dinners for friends… Keep it simple, prep like a crazy person, so you can chill on the night!”




Posted on

January 30, 2021