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Amrita Thakur’s guide to throwing the ultimate dinner party

From making the perfect guest list to shopping for crockery – this edition of #DinnerPartyForDummies covers it all
Dinner Party Guide

Dinner Party For Dummies is our way of tipping our hats to hosts and hostesses with the mostest. It’s also a humble acceptance of the fact that we’re mere imperfect mortals who won’t be able to pull off what they do – never with such ease.

TLDR: We could do with a little help.

For The Lab Mag’s first edition of Dinner Party for Dummies, we chatted with fashion designer, style curator, and content creator Amrita Thakur for ways to emerge on the other side of hosting a dinner party with our sanity intact. 

Side note: Her dinnerware collection has a fanbase of its own. It’s drool-worthy even sans food.

Before we got down to dissecting the art of hosting the perfect night in for friends and family, we asked Thakur what her favourite thing about dinner parties was. “No two families or households make a dish the same way. Trying out different and personalised versions of dishes you’ve probably eaten before is very exciting to me. Also, the fact that conversations go on long after the plates are wiped clean,” she responded.

Scroll to find out how throwing a dinner party without having a breakdown, unlike your vow to eat healthy for an entire week, is in fact a very real possibility. 

Your comfort zone is a good place to start

Even though the sound of a perfectly prepared Baked Alaska, complete with a moist sponge and delicate meringue has a good ring to it, it could quite literally be a recipe for disaster. Instead, Thakur suggests you stick to the dishes you love and are familiar with when inviting friends over.

“I’m more comfortable with Indian home food, especially Bihari food. So I make it a point to add at least two or three Bihari dishes to my dinner party menu,” says Thakur. She also explains how adding something that is unique to you or your family, can also mean something completely new for other people. It doesn’t have to mean boring.

If you’re in the mood to experiment, start small

Just in case you are a rebel and are determined to perfect making the Baked Alaska we warned you against, Thakur suggests you keep the gathering intimate. 

“Trying out something that’s not in your comfort zone? Keep the group smaller, and the crockery fancier,” she laughs. 

Always better to have fewer witnesses if a culinary catastrophe is on the cards.

Master the balancing act

No, we don’t mean attempting a headstand while handling your mother’s precious fine china. It’s something that dinner party noobs might find even more frightening – figuring out the ideal starter-to-main course ratio. 

Thakur has an easy trick up her sleeve – “Lighter starters and an elaborate main course when entertaining a small group, and lots of finger food for a big party with an easy to manage, crowd-pleaser like biryani, pizza or Thai curry and rice for the main course.”

Factor in the fussy eaters 

It’s 2023, a.k.a time to be inclusive and mindful of diverse dietary preferences.

Having a few healthy alternatives is always a good idea. But would that mean double the time spent on planning, prepping, and cooking? 

dinner party quinoa

No, not when you have Thakur’s hacks to get you through. “Instead of having guilt-free alternatives for every single dish, have healthy substitutes for staples like rice, rotis, and bread. Quinoa, barley rice or rice rotis are options that I usually turn to,” she says.

Get over your fear of guest lists

According to Thakur, if your guest list is under 10 people, the key is to be mindful. “Bigger groups can take care of themselves, it’s getting together smaller groups that is the tricky part,” she explains.

Always have two or three people who you can rely on to play co-host on request. We like to call them The Firefighters

Another thing to keep in mind when inviting people, who might not have met before is to ensure they have something in common—it could be their professions, their interests or even a common friend.

Shop for crockery as you would for clothes

Did you really think we would lose the opportunity to gather a few pro tips on building the crockery collection of our dreams?

“Building a crockery collection is a lot like building a wardrobe – some basics or everyday pieces coupled with statement pieces that reflect your personal style,” says Thakur.

Keep one set that the whole family likes – something generic that you can use on a regular basis. But also stock up on statement pieces as you go – “You can have as much fun with it as you want. If a multicoloured chicken painted on a plate does the trick, then so be it!”

Dinner Party For Dummies

Make your dinner party decor look personal, not perfect

“I think style is not limited to the way you dress. It is the way you live your life, including the way you do up your space or get your home dinner party ready,” says Thakur. There are no rules. Do what you think looks good. It’s not being restricted to doing things a certain way or the right way that makes it look effortless. 

“Your decor doesn’t have to be done the perfect or correct way, but in a way that is personal. Your home should look like an extension of your personality and personal style” she adds

She suggests a good place to discover your personal style is to “stop worrying about what people think, and focus on what you love.” 

“The most important thing to remember when throwing a dinner party is that everyone has a good time, including you!” signs off Thakur.


The love for food, and the memories made while sharing meals with the people you love are key factors that motivated The Lab Mag team to kickstart the series – Dinner Party For Dummies.