Entertaining at Home

OK, starting a new thread as offshoot of “Charging for a Lime” thread ( and ever-increasing costs to dine out). With increasing restaurant prices, are you seeing, or considering more at-home entertainment? My parents rarely ate at a restaurant unless a very special event, or occasional treat. Instead, dinner parties were much more in vogue with their friends.

Dinner parties do not need to be fancy affairs. I love a good pot-luck. Easy for host to provide the main dish and a few bottles of wine (which usually multiplies from guests). I once hauled out all our “fine” dinnerware, and set a very formal table just for the fun of it – but told everyone to come in jeans.

When I was a teen, my parents would pay me and a friend, to clean up after their dinner parties. Friend and I would then have a “sleep-over” night. Win-win for everyone.

Another favorite I attended (and once hosted): Game night. On purpose, I invited people who knew at least one, but not most of the other guests. There were several game “stations”. After 10-15 minutes, half of the group at each station had to move to the next, at whatever point the game was in at the time. It forced mingling, encouraged some laughs, and generally seemed successful.

Other ideas?


I love a good dinner party! Progressive dinner parties are fun and add a little twist to the traditional dinner party. You would have to really like your neighbors or be within walking/easy driving distance of your friends. Several of us who built houses in a brand new neighborhood hosted one as a way to get to know one another.

The way it works is a different house for each course. So, drinks and appetizers at one house then move to another house for salad/soup then another for dinner and, finally, dessert at the last location. People can work together to provide food for the different “courses.” It was a lot of fun!


I’m very old-fashioned about my dinner parties. Come sit. Have a cocktail or two. But, stay out of the kitchen. My parents had us kids to keep everyone entertained and talking to each other (or so we told ourselves). But, as a confirmed old bachelor, nothing drives me crazy so much as a so-called pot-luck dinner!


We would be more inclined to drop the thursday fast food meal or go to cheaper faster food on Saturday night vs dinner parties. I don’t like eating with groups of people. The fewer the better. The thought of having a dinner party at my home or going to someone else’s makes me shudder.


We are part of a group of neighbors that rotate backyards one evening/week through the summer months. We meet at 7 pm for drinks, snacks, and dessert. Super fun, low key, and covid safe as it’s always outdoors. If it rains, it’s cancelled.


Don’t like dinner parties. Don’t want to go. Don’t want to host.

I am much, much, much more comfortable going out to eat with friends.

I am a bit of an introvert and homebody and it just makes me uncomfortable to have too many other people in my space. I do have really good friends and relatives over occasionally, but not usually for dinner. That just adds a whole other layer of stress to it all. And I do sometimes go to really good friends’ places for their occasions. But I like going out to eat because it’s easier to get away if I need to make a break for it.

My parents entertained some. They had regular Bridge parties where the kids were expected to make themselves scarce.

Dinner parties are just not my jam.


Love to entertain. Despise pot luck parties ( you still have to make something and often people bring unhealthy foods or just not enough).
We spend a lot entertaining. Mostly on food. Always have a great time. Love to go to dinner parties also esp if there’s new people. Don’t love the dinner parties where the TV is blasting and 1/2 the people are watching sports.


I actually was truly surprised by your response @Sweetgum . As I started reading the thread, I was thinking “Duh, of course everyone prefers dinner at a friend’s house.” I simply can’t imagine anyone preferring a restaurant. :smiley: Just shows how different everyone is.

I would a thousand times rather have people around for dinner than go to a restaurant. I feel like the food is never worth the price. It’s noisy in a restaurant, it’s not relaxing, it’s very expensive. If it’s a big group, you can’t talk to everyone. Then you always have to sit around for ages waiting for the bill. We do eat out with friends (rarely since the pandemic) but dinner at my house or at a friend’s house is so much better.

I host people all the time, especially in the summer. I make it low stress. I almost always ask everyone to bring a dish. The goal is to see people. Sometimes we will do a fancy dinner party with the wedding china and I tell people to just bring themselves.

I love games and I have played a lot of games with friends, but I like the idea of game stations. Sounds fun!


We have had some turnover in the neighborhood but for obvious reasons, in the past two years we could not do a progressive dinner party to meet the newcomers. Thinking we might host Drinks in the Driveway of sorts to keep the event outdoors and informal. But that is not until after the kiddo’s wedding! I’m not hosting anything big prior to that. :slight_smile:

(Our driveway is hidden from the street as we live in a house with “zero curb appeal.” No worries about consuming adult beverages in public sight!)


Regarding dinner parties, we like to keep them small and sit down. And I was growing up in a household where guests were supposed to simply show up and enjoy the meal. If they wanted to bring a bottle of wine or champagne, fine, but no potlucks for indoor dinners!


Drinks in the Driveway sounds fun too!

I used to host a big Halloween party each year. I gave that up, but still enjoy Halloween. In 2018, I hosted an outdoor “scary stories by the fire pit” Halloween gathering. It was a lot of fun and we stayed outside the whole time, bundled up. It was the perfect Covid-friendly get together, so I continued it in 2020 and 2021. People brought finger food and we ate by firelight. We had the foresight in the summer to get outdoor propane heaters and those have proved to be worth the then-low price we got them for.


I think the best parties are the impromptu ones. “Gonna cook chicken tomorrow (or now) come on over!”
We now finally have neighbors that works well with. Looking forward to entertaining for first time in years! Everyone gets along and nobody needs to drive. Can’t get too much better than that!


Yeah, my husband feels the same way I do. I’m trying to psych myself up for a neighborhood outdoor potluck in a week. It’ll be even harder to get him to go. They are great neighbors, but we are just not party people in that way. I would rather be in a crowd (like an outdoor concert) or do an extended visit (like visiting relatives or going on vacations with friends which we do). I feel like there’s pressure to perform with dinner parties and I can never fully relax. Just not my scene at all. I will go to the neighborhood thing only out of a sense of duty.


I love dinner parties – going to them or, even better, giving them. Unfortunately since covid that hasn’t happened, and I’m starting to find that a lot of people aren’t into them anymore.


I like restaurants. I don’t do dinner parties often but am always up for an evening out at a good restaurant that will indulge our 3 hour (and sometimes boisterous) dinners.


My H and I are just like this. I can’t imagine any type of gathering like that being fun. My anxiety goes up as soon as the invite is accepted until a few hours after it’s over. It can be with friends or family. Doesn’t matter how much I love the people. Such things are the anti fun for me.


We enjoy hosting and enjoy going to other’s houses, too. H enjoys cooking for multiple people so he does the main entree as well as some sides. I do the salad and dessert (and most of the clean up). If someone asks what they can bring it’s appetizers. Unfortunately as we recently moved we haven’t had guests over recently (except family), but hoping to change that.

When I hear the phrase “dinner party” it makes me think of a formal dinner in the dining room with the good china! We serve good food and drinks, but it’s much more casual.

Exactly. Makes my blood pressure spike! I do not like.

I will make myself go to family things and things with close friends and I will try to drag my husband down the street to this thing next week, but I just really really do not like these type gatherings even if I love the people.

So any of y’all hosts and hostesses out there who get turned down, try not to take it personally, some people just really hate going to parties/gatherings at other people’s houses. It’s not you, it’s me!


I don’t mind going and bringing something but I get anxious when it is at my house. I always think my house looks tired and then the dogs…one of ours is young and quite a handful. I know not everyone wants a dog as a new best friend. I actually just quit a book club because they decided to stop doing wine and cheese and now are going to do a dinner meeting. Nope.


I appreciate hearing everyone’s different perspective. I love to entertain and I really miss having people inside the house.

We used to host big New Years Eve parties every year and haven’t done it in years because of Covid. I miss it!

1 Like