Organizing a Progressive Dinner Party

Dinner parties are a fun way to gather with family, friends, and neighbors, but it also involves a lot of work for the host. A progressive dinner party is a great option that allows everyone to show off their culinary skills and share the hosting responsibilities.

Progressive dinner parties usually work best with a smaller group of people and with people who live in the same neighborhood or within a few minutes of each other. Once you’ve determined who will be participating, it’s time to figure out who will be the hosts for the evening and what they will serve.

progressive dinner party invitation

Photo via My Insanity

Most dinner parties involve four courses, but you can add more or take some away as needed. Courses can include appetizers and drinks, soup and salad, a main course, a cheese or vegetable course, and after-dinner desserts and drinks.

Once you’ve decided how many courses will be served, it’s time for the hosts to gather and plan a menu and a schedule of events. Will you stick to dishes that follow a certain theme, or will your group allow for creative freedom, with each host offering a different type of cuisine?

One important point to remember as your group plans the progressive dinner is that you’ll want to select dishes that can be prepared mostly in advance and that require minimal heating time. For example, the host in charge of serving appetizers can offer a spread of gourmet sausage, cheeses, crackers, and nuts. It’s easy to prepare and quick to restock, which means you can spend more time socializing with your guests.

sausage and cheese tray

For hosts serving soup and salad, a crockpot soup recipe is your best friend! Start cooking your soup earlier in the day, and then turn the heat down before you head out. The soup will be warm and ready to eat when guests arrive at your house.

crockpot soup recipe

Photo via Healthy Snack Recipes

And since you’ll be moving from one home to the next, it’s also important to create a schedule and stick to it. Give your guests plenty of time to arrive at the first home, or tell them to arrive within a certain time frame, and list the time of arrival for each house on the invitations. Be sure to progress to each house at the times listed. This is out of courtesy for the next host, as well as allowing for the next course to be served in a timely manner.

Do you have any tips, recipes, or ideas to share for progressive dinner parties? Please leave a comment to share with us!

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