A special-occasion dinner at a restaurant is made even more special by the fact that you don\u2019t have to clean up when the party is over. However, it can require almost as much planning as hosting at home. Many restaurants offer private dining rooms, and many more will create a special menu for the group.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Call the restaurant at least 30 days in advance to inquire about private dining rooms and the possibility of a custom-made menu. Visit the restaurant before booking and speak with the manager and/or chef. Ask about the minimum number of guests and the cost of a private room with dedicated servers, service fees and gratuities.\r\n\r\n\u2022 For larger groups, many restaurants will serve a prix-fixe dinner, allowing the guest to select an appetizer, a meat, a seafood or pasta entr\u00e9e and a dessert. Know in advance exactly what is included. Inform the chef in\r\nadvance of any guests\u2019 specific dietary needs or allergies.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Be clear on what the restaurant\u2019s responsibilities are and what you will provide. Are you bringing your own cake, or is the pastry chef baking it? Who prints the menus?\r\n\r\n\u2022 If you are planning to open some special bottles of wine, find out the restaurant\u2019s corkage policy. If the restaurant does not permit corkage, speak with the sommelier to help choose the best wines to match the food and suit your budget.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Ask about decorations, and make sure whatever you bring to the\r\nrestaurant is appropriate for the atmosphere. Mylar balloons are out of place in a fine-dining establishment, while tasteful, low-to-the-table floral arrangements are at home most anywhere.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Printed invitations delivered to your guests by old-fashioned mail signify the importance of the occasion. Follow up with e-mail, if necessary.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Decide beforehand whether your early arrivals will have a drink at the main bar, or if you will offer wine in a private area.