Death of the Dinner Party: A Guide To Modern Entertaining

By on 23rd August in Fun

What happened to the good old-fashioned dinner party? What happened to neatly laid napkins, crisp white tablecloths and a juicy prawn cocktail?

According to new research by Anglian Home Improvements, the formal “dinner party” will soon be consigned to the history books as Brits favour a more informal entertaining style over the stuffy, old-school dinner party. But, what else did we find?

Demise of the dinner party

The survey actually revealed we are more sociable than ever because we’re ditching a ‘dining room’ culture. In fact, 65 percent of us are having friends over on average three times a month and hosting an average of 36 supper and lunch parties every year, splashing out just over £3,000 a year. Offers to host others invariably end in food being eaten around the kitchen table, with etiquette sent firmly out the window.

Modern day dining

As ‘casual’ as we appear in our entertaining, Brits secretly still pull out all the stops to impress; with 62 percent admitting they tidy the house from top to bottom before guests arrive and 31 percent saying they agonise over choosing the right outfit.

The research also revealed a guide to modern day entertaining, for both guests and hosts alike – including never serving a chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham, always serving olives from the local deli rather than a jar, and making sure what you serve is seasonal – no pressure then!

Appropriate dinner party conversation

The research even went as far as detailing what we should and should not talk about.  Results specifically stated that politics, sex and death are all subjects which should be discussed according to the 1,500 adults polled. Talking about your children and work are strictly off-limits (doting parents, take note).

Dinner party behaviour

Unfortunately though, it’s not all plain sailing with almost half of Brits (44%) being less than impressed by their guests’ behaviour. Whilst many complained of guests drinking too much, almost one quarter (20.6%) of hosts said some had the nerve to turn up with people they didn’t know and hadn’t invited – eek!

DO’S and DON’TS for modern day guests and hosts

  • Never text at the table
  • Don’t talk about TV, jobs or children
  • Always ask whoever cooked for the recipe
  • Do talk about politics, sex and death
  • Make sure your olives are from the deli rather than a jar
  • Make sure what you serve is seasonal
  • Never serve anything on a cocktail stick
  • Never ask to stay the night
  • Always have enough mixers and ice
  • Never serve a chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham
  • Never snoop in other people’s houses
  • Always bring flowers, but not from a garage
  • Don’t get really drunk
  • Prep food in advance so you can spend time with your guests
  • Never talk about how much you earn
  • Never lick your knife
  • Never arrive more than half an hour early
  • Never arrive more than 15 minutes late
  • Always say the food is lovely, even if it isn’t
  • Don’t leave coats strewn around the house
  • Take high heels/stilettoes off if your hosts have wooden floors
  • Never give “style advice” to your hosts
  • Don’t boast about your own cooking prowess
  • Use your knife and fork correctly
  • Don’t take over in the kitchen
  • Always send a thank you card rather than texting the following day
  • Make sure your lighting is right


So, whether you’re hosting a blow-out banquet in the dining room or holding an informal gathering around the kitchen table, make sure your home is well prepped. Why not take a look at the improvements you could make with Anglian? Find out more by visiting the Anglian website here:

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