Planning and Organising a Buffet

Add Style with Personalised Wine

Add Style with Personalised Wine

Entertaining with Style and a Conscious Calm

Whether it’s a casual get-together or a formal dinner party, creating a stylish and elegant evening is always the aim when you decide to have friends around for dinner. By adding at least 1 cup of your own personal style, a dash of that unique ingredient charm, a pinch of creativity and a good amount of calm, you will ensure your own recipe for success. Add to this an interesting guest list, delicious cuisine and, of course, good wine. Remember that you are not competing with a top restaurant.  After all, it is the ambience that you personally create in the comfort of your home that your guests are going to enjoy. 

No matter how successful your recipe is for a civilised and stylish evening in your home, however, there will be some stress. A little bit of creative adrenaline is not a bad thing, but try and keep it under control and whatever you do, do not show it.  There is nothing worse than going to a dinner party of any sort when the host is in the kitchen or running around panicked. It puts you in an uncomfortable position as the guest.

Should you offer to help or go into the kitchen and start packing the dishwasher for the next onslaught of glasses or plates? No, don’t put your guests on edge; remember that by inviting people to your home, you need to take their enjoyment and relaxation into consideration. If you are relaxed and in control, you will have your guests in the same state. (Yes, we have all been there before – you forgot to turn the oven on and the dessert has not set yet and the panic start to rise in your stomach! Keep Calm and Handle It.)

Everyone is there to have fun, including you as the host. So here are some tips to get that party going and to do it in a personalised, stylish way.  If you get this right, the calm will come. 

First things first.

Plan and Perfect the Menu and the Accompanying Wine for Each Course

Don’t over complicate things.  Make all decisions about the food you want to serve, how many courses should you have, which wines should accompany these courses and work out the timings of each so that it all runs smoothly. What will suit the guests in terms of their likes and dislikes, what sort of party should it be, how can you improve on the ambience of our home, what will really add the cherry on the top? Give each consideration and then make it happen.

Snacks and Starters

Snacks are very often a good way to start your evening as they can be served as canapés or finger food which can be prepared in advance.  They also allow you to save on crockery for the sit-down dinner you are about to serve. Accompany these with a deliciously chilled sparkling wine and you are sure to get the party off on a good track. A starter generally is one that you eat prior to the main course sitting down at the table. This could be a salad, a soup, antipasto, etc. Be sure to spend some time planning this in terms of its preparation and last-minute serving needs.  You don’t want to end up worrying about timing and heating when your next course is still in the oven. Serve the starter with a suitable wine that will enhance the dish.

Main courses

Generally, the perfect accompaniment is a full bodied red wine with red meat.  Depending on the dish, lighter reds can be used in particular with leaner cuts. With chicken serve lighter wines, either a white or a medium bodied red. For seafood, the rule of thumb is generally a Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc, dry Rose or Pinot Noir.  For spicy or oriental types of cuisine, there is no set rule and contrasting wines can be served to bring out the full flavours.


Sweet wines can in this instance be served, but with caution.  If your dessert is a decadently sweet one, very often serving a sweet wine can be overpowering.  So rather go with your gut feel and serve something that neither detracts from nor overpowers your choice of dessert.


There is very often an unwritten rule here that sophisticated dinners are completed with a cheese board.  In France, the cheese is served with a salad after the main course and prior to the dessert.  Depending on one’s own preference, serve the cheese whenever you feel it best suits the overall meal, or if you feel your dinner will leave everyone sufficiently fed without cheese, and then leave it off the menu. Follow your own rules.  For an array of cheeses, it can be a complicated task pairing the wine as generally with a hard cheese a full bodied wine is best, but for blue cheese, as an example, a sweet wine can be served.

To ensure that you have the correct types of wine to go with each course, you can always ask your wine store specialist to help in selecting something special. Various websites can also help.

That takes care of the tips for cuisine and wine pairing.  Now give some thought to making your party even more sophisticated and fun by designing your own personalised wine bottle! Personalised wine will really impress your guests by demonstrating just how much effort and thought you have put into your stylish evening.

Now for the second aspect of hosting a successful and personalised dinner party.

Plan and Perfect the Menu

Create a Dinner Theme and then Personalise the Wine for the Occasion

You don’t need to overboard on this – but by adding your own creative touch you can make the evening a little more unique by considering these points while in the planning phase and remember that personalised wine will make people really think about the time and effort you put into planning this evening, especially when the personalised wine label features the theme itself.

Some examples of themes for your party and how you can personalise the wine:

  1. Colour – Christmas and Valentine’s Day are red.  St Patrick ’s Day is green.  Summer is yellow. To incorporate a personalised wine – colour the labels accordingly.
  2. Dress code – Christmas for instance, tell your guests to come as a wrapped present. For the wine to be personalised have a label that wishes everyone a Happy Christmas. For a special birthday tell people to come as a 40-year-old and personalise the wine by packaging it as being 40 years old. Vin 40!
  3. Wine – tell everyone to bring their own wine with their own label epitomising themselves. Slow to Mature, Aged Well, Young and Fruity, Sparkling and Sassy.
  4. Food – Indian, Indonesian, Irish, Iranian. Tell your guests to bring along a taste of their favourite dish or snack. Wine can be labelled with a simple country slogan or flag.
  5. Competition – Finals as an example.  Get the wine labelled in purple and green with a strawberry and cream bouquet.
  6. Friends – come as you looked when you first met and have the wine labels done up in an old photograph of each of them.