Elegant entertaining can’t just happen on a whim. A formal dinner is more sophisticated than your typical evening party, requiring classier elements such as your fine cutlery, special plates, lovely napkins, and linens. It’s time to ditch the paper napkins, bring out the wine glasses and place the additional flatware correctly. But beyond the chic table settings and asking your guests to arrive in style, a divine dinner menu should be just as carefully planned.
You can aim for extravagance as the royals do by serving 21 courses. Or choose simple elegance with a five-course meal as you’ll find in most 3-star Michelin restaurants. We’ve got some excellent, elegant dinner party menu ideas for your next formal dinner party that will inspire you from “soup to nuts.”
Elegant Dinner Party Menu Ideas: Welcome Drinks and Hors D’oeuvres
Serve your guests drinks and hors-d’oeuvres before sitting down to dinner to set the tone for the rest of the evening. It’s an opportunity for your guests to make small talk and for you to ensure everything in the kitchen is in order.
Offer your guests a glass of champagne or wine after you’ve greeted them. But if you have a well-stocked bar and someone dedicated to mixing drinks for your dinner party, delight them with one of these cocktails:
Hors-d’oeuvres are a small one or two-bite tidbit that accompany a cocktail beautifully. Here are some excellent ideas for upscale hors-d’oeuvres:
Elegant Dinner Party Menu Ideas: Soups
When choosing soup for your elegant dinner, think of sophisticated gourmet flavors. Here are some divine soup ideas that aren’t your everyday cream of mushroom or split pea soups.
Elegant Dinner Party Menu Ideas: Appetizers
You serve appetizers as part of the full-course meal, while you offer hors d’oeuvres outside the meal, typically at a separate table or passed around on a tray by a server. Because appetizers set the tone for the meal, exquisite starters are a must.
Elegant Dinner Party Menu Ideas: Salads
Find elegance in simplicity. You don’t need to over-think your salad. Know what fruits and vegetables are in season. Choose a salad recipe you can serve using the freshest ingredients.
Elegant Dinner Party Menu Ideas: Main Course
The main course determines the flavor profile for the meal in its entirety. When planning for your dinner menu, decide your main course first and choose starters, sides, and salads that compliment the flavors of your main dish.
Elegant Dinner Party Menu Ideas: Dessert
Delight your guests with desserts with beautiful presentations. Here are ideas to end the meal with sweet sophistication:
To cap off a wonderful evening and wind things down, offer your guests more drinks, coffee, and nuts. After bidding your guests farewell, congratulate yourself for a successful evening.
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