Everybody loves a dinner party, but nobody wants to be the host responsible for setting everything up, providing food, and cleaning up afterward.
It’s a real shame because dinner parties are perfect for any time of year. In the winter, you can keep warm inside with friends and in the summer, you can have a patio party to enjoy the warm evening air.
If you want to host a dinner party but don’t want to deal with all the hassle, put together a progressive dinner instead.
A progressive dinner is an incredibly simple but fun way to get everybody involved in the planning.
Basically, you go from house to house for each course of the dinner. For example, the first house serves the cocktails and appetizers, the second house serves the entree, and the third house covers the dessert. Optionally, you can plan a fourth house for after-dinner drinks. Everybody involved moves from house to house between courses, giving the party a change of scenery every hour or so. Here are a few tips for planning your progressive dinner.
1. Watch your locations for the houses.
The concept works best if everybody lives in the same neighbourhood. The last thing you want is to drive 30 minutes across town for your dessert. Walking distance is even better!
If you absolutely have to drive to get to someone’s house, make sure the taxis are booked in advance or you have a designated driver for everyone involved.
2. Set a schedule for each house.
It helps to set a schedule for the time spent at each house. With a group of friends together drinking and having a good time, you could easily spend a few hours in one place. An hour per course is a good time limit.
3. Plan your recipes.
Plan recipes that don’t require a lot of preparation before serving. If it takes an hour to cook the meal and 30 minutes to eat it, you won’t be able to stick to a good schedule. Either use food that has been pre-prepared or can be cooked in 10 or 15 minutes. This way, your guests aren’t kept waiting. Slowcookers are a perfect choice for progressive dinners!
4. Get all the non-food preparations ready.
Get all the non-food preparations in place before you head off to the first house. Set the table, have the drinks ready to be served, and make sure everything is clean and tidied up. If you serve drinks first before the food, the guests won’t feel like they’re waiting as long for the meal to be ready.
5. Give the entree spot to someone motivated to follow through.
It’s also a good idea to give the entree spot to someone who will be sure to follow through. This is the hardest course to prepare, meaning that the host has to be motivated to see it all the way through. Take this one yourself if you don’t think your friends are up to the challenge.
6. Relax and have a blast!
Finally, just relax and have a good time. The easiest way to ruin a progressive dinner is by planning everything down to the tiniest detail. Leave some leeway for whatever happens, and just enjoy your evening!
What are your other tips on how to plan a progressive dinner?