Back To Front New Year's Eve Party

How to host a back-to-front dinner party

Ever considered what it would be like to start your dinner party with dessert and end with a delicate appetizer accompanied by an aperitif? Well it's time to defy convention and host your very own Back-to-Front New Years Eve party, with this simple to follow how-to-guide.

It’s always a challenge to find a novel and entertaining way to excite your guests that hasn’t already been exhausted for New Years Eve, but the Back-to-Front party defies the conventional rules of a traditional dinner party simply by reversing them.

Normally when you invite people into your home for a dinner party your guests arrive looking dapper in their smart attire, are welcomed with a glass of champagne and a delicate selection of hors d’oeurve to whet their appetites, before being seated ready to tuck in to a gourmet three course feast. After much wine, a sweet dessert and a little cheese, ladies will kick off their shoes, and gentlemen’s bow-ties are thrown to the floor as the dancing commences and the wine continues to flow.

But this inspired idea of a back-to-front party means you literally play out your night in reverse. Rather than start with champagne and hors d’oeurves looking smart and ready to party, you begin the night with coffee and dessert, looking a little disheveled as you might well appear at the end of the night; shoes off, make-up and hair tousled, ties undone and jackets strewn over the sofa.

After arrivals and coffee, a little port and cheese would follow, with dessert and a sweet wine accompaniment next. The main course proceeds with the chosen paired wines, and the entrée served with a lighter wine that would normally begin the night.

Any additional fish or seafood course option would be served with the soup, hors d’oeurves and a glass of champagne to toast the new year as the last order of the evening.

What adds even more fun to the evening, if you’re a confident chef, is that the food and drinks themselves can also be reversed, or chosen with an upside-down or inside-out twist - in keeping with the back-to-front concept. 

People Confetti

What to Cook?

If you’re looking for something with a wow factor you could try preparing a three bird roast, which combines layers of chicken, duck and turkey, hand-wrapped in bacon and topped with orange – possibly how your normal turkey would be stuffed, but, you guessed it, reversed.

However, if cooking isn’t your strong point, there are a variety of simpler, and more attainable dishes of choice that can easily reflect the back-to-front party theme including; lasagna with the layers reversed, so meat layers before the cheese. sandwiched between the pasta, just choose your favourite recipe and asemble it in reverse. Homemade Italian ravioli could be served unwrapped, with its sauce inside and the meat on the outside of the dish, or a shepherd’s pie with its potatoes on the base.  

For Dessert? 

You can have a lot of fun with your desserts. Try a traditional recipe such as Nigela's upside down cake, or something a little more adventurous such as a cheesecake, but the wrong way up - so the make sure the buttery biscuit base is at the top and the rich, cream filling underneath.

Start With A Thank You 

With invitations and the table menus, mix them all up by sending them in the wrong order or writting them backwards to confuse and tease your guests about the event ahead i.e. call it an  'noitativni', and write your menu's backwards refering to the Starter - 'Retrats' , Main -  'Niam', Dessert 'Tressed' and port and cheese - 'eseech dna trop'.

Instead of sending your guest a traditional invitation, send them a thank you note for attending the evening. Once the party’s over, you can follow it up with an invitation. Obviously you’ll have to use a bit of poetic license here to make sure that your guests do know when to actually turn up to your party, and that it hasn’t in fact already been and gone.

Thank You

Turn The Clocks Back

The only thing to remember that doesn’t go backwards during your evening is of course time, but have a little fun with it and change all of the clocks in the house for the purpose of the evening so that you really feel like you’re going backwards.


Reverse Your Table

Fitting with the theme, dress your table to match the order of the evening. Change the order of cutlery which traditionally starts with starter cutlery on the outside, and move it to the inside as the last items to be used not the first. Switch your glasses to match the course, and start with the cheese and coffee platter on the coffee table first. If you’re short of space and usually clear your table as you go, it may help to just dress it course by course so people don’t loose track of what’s next - we don’t however advise starting the evening with dirty plates and empty bottles of wine, that might just upset your guests.


Dress The Room

Hang banners and Happy New Year decorations backwards. Turn all of the pictures in your home and painting upside down to confuse and create the illusion of the back-to-front theme. You could event turn your chairs the wrong way around but maybe change them back when it comes to sitting down to eat).

Have fun with the concept and don’t be afraid to be creative.


The Rules of a Back-to-Front Party

  1. Everything In Reverse
  2. Start at The End of The Night – with port and cheese, coffee and dessert
  3. Invite Your Guests with a ‘Thank you’ note instead of a normal invitation - but remember to still include all of the details and tell your guests the plans – simply changing the tenses to be past tense can be enough to intrigue your guests
  4. Make Sure Your Guests Arrive Half Ready, as they would appear comfortable and relaxed by the end of the night
  5. Dress your table and Room in Reverse - switch around all decorations, artwork and banners 
  6. Serve All Courses In Reverse: Dress your table in reverse - Swap cutlery and glassware to go inside out – so starter cutlery inside not outside, switch the order of glasses and plates.
    • Port and Cheese with a cup of coffee 
    • Dessert with a sweet dessert wine
    • Main Course  - create an upside down, back-to-front dish, served with a carefully paired wine
    • Entrée - A lighter start after the main served with a light white wine
    • Hors d’oeurves and Champagne - to end the eveningChange your clocks to be counting backwards in your home
  7. Change your clocks to be counting backwards in your home
  8. End the evening with a glass of Bubbles at the stroke of midnight

For more ideas on how to celebrate New year's Eve, take a look at The Edit