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How to Host Fascinating Dinner Parties

I made a goal at the beginning of the year to host 52 dinner parties. So this weekend I put together a brunch for some friends (we’re up to party #40!) It’s so nice entertaining on the weekend because everyone is so laid back and leisurely about everything. People stroll in from soccer practice or the Farmer’s Market. It has such a relaxed vibe that you don’t get the rest of the week. Sometimes we invite a guests that know each other but sometimes it’s a new bunch of people so I’ve been experimenting with different ways to bring people together.

How to Host Fascinating Dinner Parties | Oh Happy Day!

1. Share High and Low. This is something I do with my own kids every evening but it works well with a group of friends too. You each take turns going around the room and sharing your high and low of the day (or week.) It’s a really great way to cut through all the small talk and find out what is going on in people’s lives. You can keep it general, or even hone in on a specific part of life (school, work, friendships, family, personal life, etc.)

2. Surprise Ball. If I want to keep the mood a little lighter I get one of these surprise balls that has prizes wrapped up inside. The first person starts unraveling the crepe paper until they get to a prize. Then they pass it to the next guest. Each person get the chance to unwrap the ball. All the prizes are different, so it’s fun to see what everyone finds! It’s a great conversation starter!

3. Favors with Questions. I love doing this with custom fortune cookies (I write all the questions and put them in fortune cookies.) But you can also do this with tiny boxes or any little favor. I usually search for ice breaker questions and then put one at each plate. It makes the conversation so interesting!

4. Prepared Activity. Sometimes when I’m having a party I ask my friends to bring some kind of prepared speech or story.  It can fit on a subject or theme or just be a general topic “Bring a four minute speech on the subject of your choice.” It is really fun to have people prepare a little and see how creative people get.

Meals are such great opportunities to deepen relationship with friends and family. So we’re really excited about Smuckers’ new Mealtime Moments Campaign. It’s not just about the food you make, but about who you’re spending time with! The site gives lots of tips and ideas for making mealtimes special and engaging.

Do you have any ideas on good ice breakers, or how to bring people together?

How to Host Fascinating Dinner Parties | Oh Happy Day!

How to Host Fascinating Dinner Parties | Oh Happy Day!

How to Host Fascinating Dinner Parties | Oh Happy Day!

How to Host Fascinating Dinner Parties | Oh Happy Day!

This post is sponsored by The Mealtime Moment

Photography by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day
Flowers by Wallflower Design

  1. Jeanette

    December 15, 2015

    Such great ideas Jordan! During the Olympic games in Greece, I hosted a dinner party. I made my favorite Greek foods, and then I asked everyone to choose their favorite Olympian and do a little spotlight/report about them. It was so much fun!

  2. Meredithe

    December 15, 2015

    Love that high and low idea. I think we will do that at Christmas for and talk about for the year!

  3. Kenzie

    December 15, 2015

    Love the high and low idea! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Angel

    December 15, 2015

    Are you going to do a year end post on all your dinner parties? I would love to hear how you managed them all.

      • Malia
      • December 15, 2015

      Yes. This is an excellent suggestion!

  5. Annie Abbey

    December 16, 2015

    I love that you are having breakfast for your dinner party first of all! Secondly how great is the high low idea! What a cute ice breaker!!
    xoxo Annie

  6. Daphne

    December 16, 2015

    Thanks for those great ideas, I’ll happily try them. I also like to make musical quiz for my guests, and if they come with little ones open my costume box to purpose them to make a kid show.

  7. Clara

    December 16, 2015

    I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year already! I remember reading about your idea when you published it. I’m glad it turned out well.

  8. Evan

    December 17, 2015

    Please do a recap about all the dinner parties you threw this year and some of the memories that standout to you – highs and lows 🙂

  9. kathleen

    December 21, 2015

    I do a version of the high/low discussion with my 10-yr-old (and my class full of 10-yr-olds) but we call it “peaches and pits.” I love the idea of a dinner party goal! Might start with a goal of one per month in 2016…can pizza and beer count?!

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