Dinner Party Hosting Tips for the Rusty Host

Judy Reeves of Edge Catering gives us a refresher guide on the art of entertaining.

Judy Reeves of Edge Catering gives us a refresher guide on the art of entertaining

Many of us are still getting used to socialising again following months of lockdown, and the idea of entertaining guests may feel ever so daunting. People being able to actually come over again is more than enough reason to polish the silverware and come up with a menu that isn’t cobbled together!

Here are a few tips on how you can entertain again with ease…

1. Choose local

Turns out the lockdown has unearthed a whole lot of home cooks looking to expand their recipe repertoire. Why not show off one of the dishes you mastered during lockdown like your amazing sourdough bread. Better yet, choose a menu that supports local suppliers. 

We have so many talented artisans and local suppliers in B.C., why not show them off with your menu? It’s not only great to support local but also an amazing conversation starter. One salad we love for summer on Edge’s menu features fresh mustard greens with B.C. stone fruit and Okanagan pear vinaigrette.

2. Set the table

Setting a beautiful table. Bring colour to the table with beautiful linens. Try using two napkins in complimentary shades or patterns in one napkin ring to make each setting striking. Fresh flowers are always nice to have on the table. Remember to keep them reasonable in size to not inhibit communication. Pull out the vintage! Adding a touch of glamour to a modern table with your grandma’s heirloom crystal wine glasses is always a good idea!

3. Mix the perfect cocktail

First and foremost, it is essential to use premium ingredients, especially the liquors. For this Strawberry Gin Smash, we love to use Copper Island Distillery’s Harmony Dry Gin from Bowen Island which contains wild botanicals for an aromatic finish.


For a pitcher:

  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 2  limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 pound of fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups gin
  • 3 cups club soda
  • Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

For a single drink:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar

  • 1  lime wedge

  • 3 fresh strawberries, 2 hulled and sliced and 1 reserved for garnish

  • 3 ounces gin

  • Club soda

  • Fresh mint sprig, for garnish


4. Size and location

Small gatherings are where it is at. They provide space and comfort so that even those guests that are still tentative about gathering will be able to relax. They are also a great way to try out the latest in food trends as your budget will stretch further to have a more elaborate menu.

Hosting your event outside is one easy way to minimize lingering concerns about post-pandemic parties. Alfresco dining makes everyone relax especially if you let your guests know ahead of time to come prepared,” says Reeves. “You can offer blankets when the evening gets chilly, umbrellas for shade, and let everyone know to pack flat shoes.”

Even outdoors, the elegance of a plated dinner is back. Communal platters after COVID? Not so fast. Family style serving is still a no-go. You want your guests to be able to relax and not worry. We are seeing small plates and more courses rather than station-style food.

5. Remember to take it easy

Speaking of relaxing, the more relaxed you are at your own dinner party, the more relaxed your guests will be. Sometimes hiring a caterer to handle it all for you is the best plan. What everyone really needs right now is time together after months of being alone. From preparation, setting the table and professional service throughout the evening, hiring a caterer allows you to truly be able to enjoy your company.