Informal Dinner Party

Informal dinner party. I think the best thing to do is to make sure that everyone understands it's informal. Informal dinner parties are easy to plan and don't require the same rigid set of rules you need...

Informal dinner parties are easy to plan and don't require the same rigid set of rules you need to follow for formal dinner parties. Informal dinners can be planned in much less time, and you don't need to give your guests as much notice as with a formal dinner. Although you can mail invitations, it is also appropriate to just call your guests or even send them an email invitation.


According to Brian Hay, a chef and culinary instructor at Austin Community College and a sommelier who also teaches for the International Sommelier Guild, "I think the best thing to do is to make sure that everyone understands it's informal. So when you invite them (however you do that), just say it's an informal gathering. You can totally keep it informal and there is nothing wrong with that. I think if you are going to do an informal party and everyone knows about it, then you have less work to do. You are just trying to get everyone together so you can hang out. "


Informal dinner parties can have a theme or not, have decorations or not, and they can be as little or as much as you want them to be. The most important aspect of planning an informal dinner party is to let your guests know that it is informal. You don't want people to show up over-dressed or expecting something you hadn't planned on offering.

You can make even less work for yourself by hosting an informal dinner and asking each guest to bring something as a contribution of the meal. You can provide the main dish and then have the guests provide side dishes, desserts, bread, or drinks. If you have invited enough people, you will have a feast with each person being responisble for just one item.

Informal dinners also bring up the question of seating and serving. With informal gatherings, you can either set all of the food on the table and pass the dishes, or you can set up a buffet style area and let people pick up their own dishes and choose what they want and then find their own place to sit. This can be done with either indoor or outdoor seating, but you will probably want to keep the food and plates in the house. This eliminates having to worry about bugs and wind.

Hays says, "It is not necessary to set the table for an informal dinner party. It depends on where you are planning for your guests to eat. Are they eating outside, inside, or are they grabbing the plate and walking around? If they are going to be walking around, you need to have a few tables so that people can sit and eat, but you don't have to do anything particularly fancy. If it's a formal gathering, you definitely have to set the table."

© High Speed Ventures 2011