Dinner parties are a great way to catch up with family and friends. We’re all busy. We have things to do, work, families to look after, houses to clean, appointments to keep and businesses to manage. On top of all this, it’s hard to stay in touch with the people that we love and it’s easy to find that it’s been months since we’ve seen some of the people that make us happy.
A dinner party is a fantastic way to get everyone together under one roof. To see all of the people that you love at the same time. To spend time enjoying each others company, catching up on news and laughing. Those of us that regularly spend time with our friends and family are less stressed out, less worried and tense. We have a way to express ourselves and an outlet for our worries and fears. We sleep better, we’re at less risk of developing depression and other mental health conditions, and our confidence is improved. Spending time with loved ones can make you happy, more relaxed and more creative.
But, while it’s easy to see the advantages of throwing a dinner party, it might not be your kind of thing. You might imagine a group of people sitting around a formal table sharing polite conversation. You might cringe at the idea of some sort of entertainment to get everyone talking, and the idea of spending all night in the kitchen and missing out on the fun might not be appealing.
Fortunately, a formal, stuffy sit down dinner party isn’t the only way to get all of your friends and family together for a meal. There are some fun alternatives to a traditional dinner party that might be just right.
1. A Potluck Dinner
A potluck dinner is a wonderful idea, a great way to get everyone involved and a lovely chance to spend time with the people that you love more informally. Someone will still host the dinner, so they might be responsible for clearing away after. But, no one person will be responsible for all of the cooking and planning.
There’ll be no stress over meal planning and coming up with the perfect menu. Instead, people will turn up to your house with gorgeous pies, safe in Amish pie baskets, casseroles steaming away in their dishes. Spend time with your friends agreeing who is going to provide what course, adding things like drinks and nibbles if there are a few of you, and then wait for the surprise. This kind of dinner party can be more exciting, more fun and it means that no one person is facing all of the work alone.
2. Have a Progressive Dinner
If you are friendly with the people on your street, or your friends and family all live quite close together, then a progressive dinner party can be ideal. Instead of everyone turning up to one house with a prepared meal, you host the party in different homes.
Moving from house to house for each course. This can be more formal than a potluck dinner but still has a surprise element. Each person will do their share of hosting, as well as cooking and tidying, and they’ll get the chance to show off their homes, making an effort with the dinner table. A progressive dinner can be great fun, and an excellent way to welcome new neighbors into your group.
3. A Garden Party
In warmer weather, a garden party, or an outdoor BBQ is a much more relaxed and informal way to share food with your friends and family. You can still ask people to bring food and drinks with them, but just being outside changes the atmosphere of the party. Everyone will be relaxed outdoors, and you won’t have to worry about getting a conversation started.
4. Get a Takeout
Of course, eating together doesn’t mean that anyone has to cook. If you want to spend time with a few friends, with no stress or pressure, invite them around but make it clear that you’ll be ordering in. They’ll know that it’s informal and will arrive relaxed and ready to chill out. No one will have to worry about cooking, and there’ll be minimal washing up. This might not work as well for a large party, but just for a few close friends in can be a perfect way to get together. Another option is going to your favorite restaurant for a meal, and then all going back to someone’s house afterwards.