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How to Entertain Guests at a Formal Dinner Party

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Entertainment

To many, giving a formal dinner party sounds great in theory. However, it does not take much for a formal dinner party to turn into a stuffy boring meal decorated by the sounds of silence and the feeling of tension. That is because so often, formal dinner party hosts either underestimate the value of or forget about entertainment altogether. Even in a formal dinner party, entertainment for the guests is critical to success. So how do you entertain guests at a formal dinner party? Here are a few tips to help you supply great entertainment that will make your dinner party shine.

Buy It

If you are throwing a formal dinner party, then price probably isn't a huge object. If that is the case, you can always hire entertainment. Sure, your local comedian is probably not the best choice, but there is talent you can get for your dinner party. Look for a violinist or cellist to play during dinner. You may even want to check out the local college to see if music students might be able to perform, which would save you money.

Additionally, you could hire an after dinner form of entertainment. Perhaps an up close illusionist or another musical act that is a little livelier would be in order for that. Either way, hiring your entertainment can free you up for enjoy the evening.

Simple Games

Even a formal dinner party can use games. You wont be breaking up a piņata or trying to pin a tail on anything, but friendly little games and prizes can liven up your formal dinner party. For instance, try putting winning tags on the bottoms of certain plates, so that the person with that plate receives a prize. Another option may be to have random drawings and door prizes. No matter what you choose, putting a spin on dinner will help keep your guests engaged in what is going on and make your dinner more of a success.


Giving party favors may not initially seem like a form of entertainment, but it is. By supplying the right favors at the place setting, you can spark conversation. Vary the gifts and ideas so that people will be encouraged to talk. One idea is to give each person a custom gift basket or even wine glass filled with reflections of that persons life and personality. That will encourage discussion and conversation among your guests. This is a particularly effective idea if you are hosting a formal dinner party with people who are not familiar with one another.

Throwing a formal dinner party can actually be pretty stressful. You want everything to go right, so you fuss over the menu, invitations, and place settings. However, dont forget that you have to make sure your guests enjoy themselves beyond the good food and nice setting. It is important to include entertainment in your dinner so that everyone will enjoy all aspects of the meal and your company.