Organizing A Progressive Dinner Party

Organizing a progressive dinner party is fun, easy and the answer to boring get-togethers.

Do you have the "boring party blues"? Are you tired of the same old get togethers for every holiday or Saturday night? Do the same people host time after time? Are you the "best hostess" who's tired of preparing and cleaning up all the time? Your answer could be a progressive dinner party. They are easy to plan, different every time, and no one gets stuck with all the work.


The first thing you'll have to decide is who is going to coordinate the event. You'll either want one person or family in charge of arranging all the details or a few people who are each in charge of specific parts like maps or games. Either way, everyone else has to agree to follow the plan as closely as possible. Next, invite your guests and require a definite RSVP at least a week ahead of time. Once you know who is coming, the organizer can start matching hosts and responsibilities.


1) Time: First, determine how much total time the event will need including the length of time between stops and at each stop.It is very important to figure this out because it will dictate how many homes will be visited, what foods can be served and what type of other activities you can include. Also, don't forget to allow each host time to leave the previous stop a little early so that they will be home and ready before everyone else arrives.

2) Theme: Are you going to follow a theme? Having a progressive dinner around a holiday like Christmas takes care of this for you. If it is at another time, having a theme can add to the fun. You could try tropical island, a night at the movies or a Mexican fiesta.

3) Menu: How many courses will you serve? Appetizer, soup/salad, main course, and dessert are common. If time is short, make finger foods as much as possible so that sitting down at a table is not necessary. Serve yourself buffet style is the next easiest. Also, be careful about serving alcohol since driving is a big part of the night.

4) Activities: Will you do anything besides visiting and eating? If you have time, plan for an activity at one home such as a trivia game or touch football. Spontaneous events like a snowball fight can also be loads of fun at any age. If there are several age groups involved you can plan different activities, but it's best to do them at the same stop.

5) Participants: How many households will be participating? Will each household host a course or activity? If there are more houses than activities, have two families share duties at one location or go to the other homes another time.

6) Schedules and Maps: Make sure each family gets a time schedule. Try to stick to it as much as possible, especially for the benefit of those who are cooking. Also, be sure everyone knows how to get to each home. Carpool whenever possible unless everyone has adequate parking.

7) Remembering your party: Put one or two people in charge of taking pictures or video all night to make sure every stop gets a few shots. This should be left to someone who is not cooking.

Last, but certainly not least, plan to enjoy each other's company. Don't get too fancy if it means some will be stressed out. Remember, just make a few plans, travel a little and eat a lot and your progressive dinner party will definitely be a success.

© High Speed Ventures 2011