This past Saturday evening I celebrated my birthday with a group of friends at a local Washington, DC restaurant and wine bar, Urbana. The cuisine is Italian and the mood is set with a modern sleek decor and best was that everyone seemed to really love their dishes. My homemade butternut squash ravioli was so divine I had to pass it around for everyone to taste. For dessert, the peanut butter mouse in a chocolate crust was simply heaven in a spoon.
However, as I started thinking about it I realized that there are a few tips I could pass on about how to make such a large party (there were 15 of us) successful. Some of these I’ve unfortunately had to learn the hard way.
-Make sure to call the restaurant well in advance. This will allow you to get a heads-up if for some reason they won’t be able to accommodate you.
-Ask the restaurant these key questions: Do they take multiple credit cards on a single bill, will they create separate checks for large parties (many won’t), can you be seated if everyone has not arrived (I can’t tell you how crucial this one is! No one likes to wait 30 minutes to sit down because one person was late), and also is the gratuity included.
-Once you know the answers to all of the above make sure to communicate it to the group. That allows everyone to understand whether they need to bring cash or be especially conscious about being on time.
-Tell your group to meet 30 to 60 minutes beforehand at the bar for a pre-dinner celebratory cocktail. Do this and not only will everyone be on time for dinner but everyone will have had a chance to mingle and decide who they would like to sit down next to, leaving the stress of pairing people up with dinner partners out of your hands.
-Last, go with the flow. Relax and you’ll be sure to laugh off any unforeseen incidents like a spilled cocktail and have an amazing time with your friends!