Friday, January 13, 2012

The Progressive Dinner - The Planning Begins

Thanks to everyone for your prayers for our friends. C has been providing updates on Facebook daily, so I’m hoping she has some good news to share very soon. I’ll be sure to follow-up with you once I hear something.


Onto the question of the day: Have you ever hosted a progressive dinner party?

I may have mentioned this, but Hubby and I were strong-armed talked into hosting a progressive dinner party with three other couples. The dinner party will be an auction item at our school's fundraiser next month. Hey, anything for the kids, right? Ugh.

Now, the pressure is on to make the event extra nice - worth bidding on. So, I'm a little uptight about the whole thing. Pleasing the auction winners, creating the right mood, serving the right food and drinks, worrying about how my house looks compared to the other, larger houses hosting the event. (The dinner will take place in mid-to-late April.)

We've opted to host the first part of the evening: cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. One thing we're going to do to take a little pressure off is hire a bartender. Oh, and did I mention that the group (before I was asked to join) decided on a Willy Wonka theme? Well, that came out of one mom's desire to host a candy bar at the end of the night. So, when I heard about it, I just nodded with my crazy-eye face. But, I have to say, it has added some creativity to the evening. Hubby has come up with some great signature cocktail names: The Wonka Whiskey Sour, the Veruca Salt Magarita, to name a few.

So, dear friends, would love to hear if you have hosted a progressive dinner, or attended one, and tips you would offer for its success. What did you do to prep your house in advance? Any dos or don'ts worth sharing? What were some of your favorite things about one you attended?

Thanks for putting up with my party-planning anxiety. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

18 comments:

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

You have the easiest portion of it. Everyone loves the drinks and small bites segment of any evening... it's impossible to screw it up, especially if you have a bartender. Have fun!

Town and Country Mom said...

I've hosted a progressive dinner for about 20 and co-chaired a fund-raising dinner that went to four restaurants for about 300 people on four tracks. It was stressful working with the restaurants, developing the menus, and making sure we sold all the tickets at $100 a couple, but it raised a lot of money and ended up being a lot of fun. You have a great theme to work with--just find some fun striped fabric remnants, pick up some polka-dot balloons, and have fun. I would say the most valuable advice I have is keep it simple--a few drink choices and a couple of real hors d'ouevres and then stuff like flavored nuts, popcorn, and so on. Think Ina--it will be a smash! Please post some photos!

Renée Finberg said...

you will do beautifully.
no worries.

btw
what is a progressive??
hahahahahah

Danielle said...

I've never been to or hosted a progressive dinner but I've always wanted to! I definitely want to hear all about yours and maybe I can get some inspiration to host one of my own! If not, I can just live vicariously through you (:

High Heeled Life said...

WOW my friend, this sounds wonderful. I have neither attended or hosted one, but an most intrigued . The theme sounds crazy fun...Now wouldn't it be fun if you could find a WW costume (like Johnny Depp's) and convince the Mr. to dress up!! definitely a chocolate fountain (you can rent them). The chalk menu boards would be perfect!! You are going to do great!! Can't wait to see the photos ... wishing you a blessed week-end, xo HHL

P.S. Thank you for keeping us updated on C. Continued thoughts and prayers, she will be home with her new blessing very soon! xo

Suburban Princess said...

I have never been to one or hosted on...it doesnt seem to be very popular with anti-social Canadians.

I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Beth Dunn said...

I've never been to one but it sounds like fun! We do a holiday hop in our neighborhood but it's mainly cocktails
xoxo
SC

Glitterista said...

What perfect cocktail names! I think the idea of hiring a bartender will alleviate a lot of stress and allow you to enjoy the night. Can't wait to hear more about it! :)

The Entertaining House said...

I have never hosted one... Please tell me what a Sparkletini is! The name is right up my alley!

Neon Blonde Runner said...

I've never been involved in a progressive dinner, but this is a wonderful idea, thanks!!!! I'm going to have to organize a low-key one with some of my friends :)

Jill said...

I've never hosted one of these, but have to say I love your hubby's drink names. So clever! I wish you the best of luck. I'm sure you'll do great :)

sweetpea said...

love those names for drinks! So creative...sit back and enjoy! We have done a lot of those...we have a wine pairing dinner here (also through school auction)next month...I would get so uptight when we did the first one and now i am more relaxed! You end up having as much fun as the guests! Might want to do small chocolate themed food to go with the cocktails... you could tie in a winning ticket at each house somehow too...just a thought! You guys are creative though, it is going to be great! great idea!

JMW said...

Thanks for the input, guys! I'll definitely take photos and share post-event. Sweetpea, love the idea of the winning ticket. One of the hosts in planning to donate a dental visit - she's the one having the candy/dessert bar at the end. Perhaps we'll hand out chocolate bars and hide the winning ticket within. Perfect!

Gwen Driscoll said...

I haven't hosted or attended one which is amazing b/c I've always thought it would be great fun. Looks like you all are off to an amazing start though. Can't wait to hear & see how it goes. Post photos! Have a great week & thanks for stopping by RHS always!

Mariette said...

Dearest Jen,

Sorry but we've never hosted a progressive dinner, just complete dinners. As for your previous post, I certainly hope and pray that all will work out favorably for those involved. Often there is unnecessary stress put on too many people...
Love to you,

Mariette

LindsB said...

I've never hosted one or attended one actually, but they look like so much fun! I should talk my friends into doing one- it would be a blast!

Good luck with the rest of your planning, I'm sure it will be flawless!

Tiffany from HOLIDAY said...

I was part of a progressive party in December, and I requested to be the first house. We were a smaller group (10 people) so no need to hire anybody - but hiring a bartender is not expensive and so smart when you have more people. I wanted to be the first so that I could light all my candles and set the mood. I didn't want to be at one house, worrying the whole time about rushing out, racing back to my house to set the stage. I also took the Ina approach and made a few things but then set out easy things like olives, fancy crackers, dips from a gourmet shop, etc. I clean and set up as much as possible the few days before. For instance, if I want to serve chips, I'll go ahead and place a white linen in a basket and set it out on my table and set the unopened bag of chips in the basket until it's time. I hope everything goes smoothly!

p.s. I want to wear a Hooray sticker!

p.s.s. Happy to hear your friends and baby are doing well.

Dee Stephens said...

we just hosted one last weekend but it was more low key! come check it out at my blog!
Dee