Posted by Dan O'Malley in Home Design

The last moving box is out of sight, your design touches are coming together, and you’re ready to show off your new home to family and friends. Plan a dinner party with us!

Don’t be intimidated by a formal dinner party—it’s not as scary as cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving! Your guests will truly be impressed by both your gorgeous new home and your hosting prowess.

Planning Your Dinner Party Details

A guest list is a great place to start when planning your formal evening for guests.

Knowing which people will be able to come helps you firm up a date, gather dietary restrictions, and start to consider space for everyone before doing anything else.

Once you’ve narrowed down this list, start to consider your menu and theme.

These decisions should be tied together because they should harmoniously create a cohesive experience for your guests.

For example, you could plan a seafood menu and use shades of blue throughout your decorations and table setting to tie in a nautical theme, or go all out with caviar, fine wine, truffles, and dramatic colors like gold and black for sheer elegance.

Formal Dining Room

Send invitations only after the date, guest list, and theme are selected.

Whether you go the Evite route or traditional paper option to send in the mail, there are hundreds of dinner invitation options.

Once these three planning steps are complete, you can move onto buying decorations and getting your house ready.

Setting Up Your House for a Dinner Party

For a fancy dinner soiree, you’ll want to make sure your guests only see what you want them to see of your home.

Even if you want to keep your guests in the main living area, you should still offer a tour of your brand new home. Make sure things are tidied up enough for at least a quick glance in each room.

Make sure you accommodate your guests comfortably wherever they’ll be enjoying pre-dinner cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, the meal, and dessert.

Here are some ideas for places to host your dinner party:

  • Pre-dinner drinks/hors d’oeuvres: back patio in warm weather, living/family room, kitchen island
  • Main course: formal dining room/main eating area
  • Dessert: living/family room, game room, home bar

Home Wine Tasting Area

If using your formal dining space, set your table to showcase whatever vibe you’re going for, but consider leaving the fine china for a different occasion to minimize the pressure of your first dinner party.

One thing you don’t want to skimp on though: the wine glasses!

Wherever you choose to entertain throughout the evening, make sure you have enough seating for all your guests as well as yourself. After all, you’ll want to sit and chat in between running back and forth to the kitchen, too!

Having Wine and Dinner at Home

You’ll also want to test out your new space and seating arrangements first. This is your first time entertaining in your new home, so make sure there is enough elbow room and each spot throughout the room is comfortable.

Consider carpet and furniture color when planning your menu, especially if your guests will be moving around while enjoying food and drink.

Finally, go easy on the decorations, and let your beautiful new home keep the spotlight. You want to show off your design finishes, new layout, and favorite spaces while hosting your dinner party!

Commemorating the Occasion

Take plenty of photos throughout the night for the perfect memory, but make sure to grab a group photo with everyone in your home.

Plan a toast to thank your guests for celebrating your new space with you, whether that’s during pre-dinner cocktails or after dinner is complete.

Wine Toast

Remember: a housewarming dinner party doesn’t have to be a stressful occasion. Enjoy your first fancy dinner party and focus on celebrating your new home with your favorite people!


Dan O'Malley
Dan O'Malley


Dan O’Malley is the Vice President of Product Development for M/I Homes.With over 30 years of expertise in residential architecture and design, Dan has been overseeing the product needs of the company's 16 divisions located throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Nashville and Texas for the past 12 years. Before joining M/I Homes, he was a partner in the Chicago office of BSB Design, a national residential architectural firm, for 14 years. Dan is an expert in all aspects of single-family and multifamily design and has received several awards for his successful projects. He is also a popular speaker at various industry events, including the International Builder’s Show, Midwest Builder’s Show, and Multi-Housing World.

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