Mini-Progressive Dinner Party

One night last week, we went out to dinner with a group of friends. The advantages of eating out, if you can afford it, are that you get to look forward to the meal all day, be with your friends, and have a “night off” from cooking! Read on for my Mini-Progressive Dinner Party twist …

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A Progressive Dinner Party is like a traveling dinner party, where you go from house to house for each course. The way we put this party together involved only a couple homes + 1 restaurant.

The group size:

Smaller groups for this kind of party are great, 4-6 people, because you can all engage in the conversation.

Anything larger for eating out, 8-12, you tend to get 2 groups going at the table, or 2-3 conversations, and then you sit with the folks around you for about 2 hours, sometimes never connecting with the other guests.

I like to visit with everyone when I go out. I guess it’s the social part of me that wants to sit by everyone. :)

Mini-Progressive Dinner Party

So how did we host our party?

How to host a Mini-Progressive Dinner Party:

1. Invite a group of friends, from 8-12 guests.

2. Decide ahead on 2 friends who’d each host one of these courses in their home: Appetizer and Dessert.

3. For the entree, make a reservation at a fun, lively restaurant that everyone likes.

4. Set the time to start the party 1 1/2 hours before the reservation in the restaurant. So if the dinner reservation is at 7:30 pm, then start the appetizer portion of the party at 6 pm.

5. Send out the itinerary for the evening to all parties involved.

6. Plan to have a mini-progressive dinner-party fun time!

The best part of having a Mini-Progressive Dinner Party is that you get to mingle and connect with everyone in the group!

You don’t just sit by the same 4 people the entire night.

Mini-Progressive Dinner Party

You get to catch up, rekindle, laugh and share stories with your friends, which makes the BEST dinner party in my mind.

Besides the good food, it’s fun to spruce up the plan, enjoy hospitality in a few homes, and when you leave, I promise it feels like you had a full, rich night, indeed.

What I served:

My husband and I were the host of the APPETIZER house.

I set out 2 delicious cheeses, crackers, and a few other little tasty bites with wine (which I picked up from our local Market of Choice, in Ashland, OR–thank you, Heidi, for the help!) and Pellegrino water, and we were set!

Cypress Grove Chevre’s Truffle Tremor cheese. If you haven’t tried it – WOW! So soft and creamy.

Mini-Progressive Dinner Party

Beecher’s Yule Kase, and aged cheddar rubbed with red wine and blackberry honey. Yes, blackberry honey!

Mini-Progressive Dinner Party

You have to have good crackers.

Mini-Progressive Dinner Party

And a very delicious light, characterful red wine, Bebame Red–Red Wine from El Dorado County.

Mini-Progressive Dinner Party

That’s what I call Easy Entertaining!

How to set the schedule:

6:00 Appetizer and wine hour at the Coughlin Home

7:00 Leave for dinner reservation

9:30 Dessert hour at the Gambee Home

10:30 Party is over!

Next time, 2 other couples can host those courses in their home and give the other couples a complete night off.

Connecting with others is what makes life fulfilling and wonderful. Bottom line for 2014? We need each other. In more ways than we can even imagine …

What kind of Progressive Dinner Party have you participated in? What worked and didn’t work?

I wrote a simple post, here, on How to Plan a Progressive Dinner Party (which gives the nitty-gritty details). Check it out if you want more info!