Erika Morant: How to Plan Brunch and Dinner Parties the RIGHT Way

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by Erika Morant,

Thinking of hosting either a brunch or dinner party at your home? Here are a few tips to make your event a success.

–          Theme- It’s true that not every event requires a theme.  I do, however, suggest thematic continuity with regards to menu selection, décor, musical selections and floral designs.

For example, a Tex-Mex affair should of course have Mexican inspired cuisine, such as freshly grilled fish tacos, complimented with a gazpacho (a Spanish tomato based soup). The meal would be served amidst boldly colored décor- a tablecloth accented with reds, yellows and oranges and paired with teal or chocolate accessories such as the place settings. The tablescape could also implement cacti and mason jars filled with margaritas accented with lime.


–          The Invite– While word of mouth may be the easiest method of inviting guests to a small scale event; I suggest the use of an on-line invitation tool, such as  This resource will enable you to send out a mass -invitation via email, with ease. In addition, it will assist you with managing your R.S.V.P. process. You will be able to easily reference accepts, regrets and maybes.  Furthermore, will provide you with the option of customizing your invitations or utilizing one of its many templates.


–          The Guests– Decisions, decisions. Deciding whom to invite to your gathering is never easy. If this is your first time hosting an event, you should consider the following:

  • What is the goal of my event?  By determining your goal, you will know who best to invite. Keep in mind that you want individuals to be at ease when socializing, so it is best to determine if the invitees have similar interests. Similar interests could provoke interesting conversation.
  • What is the capacity of my home or venue? How many individuals would my space/venue accommodate? Consider both the seating and mingling space.
  • What is my budget?  What are you willing to spend? The answer to this question will play a critical role in the size of your guest list.  In addition, I also suggest listing the items that you have and the items you need to purchase, this will provide a greater budgetary perspective.


–          The Menu- Your menu is the star of the show. It should be given a great deal of consideration.  If you are hosting an event where an individual will likely stand more than he or she will sit, I strongly suggest finger foods, which can be served on small plates. This will allow your guests to be mobile and more engaging. Also finger foods will allow you to provide a larger variety to your guests as these items can usually be purchased in bulk and or be prepared in larger quantities.



If you are hosting a seated dinner party, consider the portions that you need to serve with regards to the number of individuals you are inviting. For larger dinner parties in which the host is preparing the meal, I suggest buying the food items from a wholesaler or a food club as you will find a greater cost savings than purchasing from your neighborhood grocer.

Having trouble building your menu? Check out these sites which will provide you with great tips to make your event a success:


Erika Morant is a Washington, DC area based Event Planner. Tell us about you, Click Here.