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Dinner party activities?

This is not your typical dinner party...its formal and everyone is dressing up.There's about 30 people, all age groups, and all women. The plans so far are to take pictures, eat a formal dinner and one of the girls is performing a classic song...then what? I have no idea. There will be a few that are new to the area so I want people to feel comfortable and not put on the spot. I feel like conversation might not flow as easily since not everyone will know each other. Also, since its all age groups, there will not be alcohol served incase anyone was wondering. I need suggestions so whatever you got I'll take into consideration. Thanks!

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  1. All age groups but you call them women.....and alcohol is not being served because? A little confused about what this event is all about. IMHO if it is all women you will not have to worry about conversation "not flowing." If there are kids involved it won't be a late evening and once you've taken pics, eaten a formal dinner and listen to performers won't the evening be over? Signed, Confused

    1. I agree that you won't have much to worry about, I would think 30 women would be bound to have plenty to chat about without encouragement! But one thing I've done in the past is to put a small card with a 'talking point' on it next to each place; you could use ones from a board game if you have got them to hand, such as a dilemma from Scruples, or you could use brainteasers or riddles, or 'would you rather __ or __?' statements. The nice thing about this is that if everyone's getting on like a house on fire no one will bother with them, which is fine, but if there are awkward silences they can be used to trigger discussion.

      Also, if one person's singing, could others do something too?

      1. Can you serve the dessert after the song? That way, it won't leave people with the "now what?" feeling, can have dessert and coffee and let conversation flow naturally. The conversation cards are a good idea, too.

        1. Sounds like a lovely event, carnation! Is there is a common interest or cause bringing the group together? Knowing that might help with the flow of ideas.

          (When I read your post I had an image of the scene from Anne of Green Gables where Anne performs "The Highwayman", and the many Jane Austen and Downton Abbey dinner parties I've "attended"... )

          1 Reply
          1. re: AnneMarieDear

            AnneMarieDear, thats about what I was going for!
            We're all coming together for a chance to get dressed up, since we don't really all get to do that anymore, and to meet new people. I used the word "women" because thats what the majority of us are and some will be bringing their daughters. Teenage girls will be there too so that is why no alcohol. I do agree conversation should flow since we are girls :) I've just been to parties where there weren't any or enough games and activities and we all are standing around wondering what to do. And its not like we'll be having a three-legged race!
            I do like the conversation card idea so thanks for that! Serving the dessert later will promise everyone won't be leaving right after dinner. Thanks for the comments!

          2. FWIW, I'd feel more on the spot if I were forced to converse w/ people I didn't necessarily want to talk to and tend to find people I click with and chat. But, if you want a party to get people talking, a fun game I've played is to have name tags w/ pairs. It can be celebrities (Angelina and Brad), food (peanut butter and jelly), whatever joins you as a group. You could do it music related, eg. Sunny and Cher. Each person has one half of a pair on her back and has to ask others questions to figure out what she has and then find her pair.

            10 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              Thats a good idea, Chowser! I may use that! When they find their pair, though, is that the end of the game?

              1. re: carnation

                It's been a while but I think the first ones to find their pair were the winners. But there were assorted prizes throughout to keep people playing.

              2. re: chowser

                I think the idea of forced social activity is silly and juvenile. If you think the people will be too shy or reluctant to talk to each other, invite some more outgoing people to join the group.

                Just my opinion, but if I were invited to a dinner party and told that we were pairing up with name tags that said Angelina, Brad, Peanut butter, or jelly, I'd leave.

                1. re: taos

                  I can't imagine any instance that I'd walk out on a dinner party, short of their doing something illegal or immoral. I don't like games but have sat through my share of shower games because it's not about me and I'll be a good guest/friend. And, sometimes they can end up being fun. The pairs game was fun because it was in England and they had pairings like Bob and Sharon, which I had to be told were "typical" American names.

                  1. re: chowser

                    OK maybe I wouldn't actually leave, but I'd wish I could.

                    Yes some people play games at wedding or baby showers. There are also bachelor's parties where a stripper jumps out of cake.

                    Doesn't mean you should bring a stripper to a formal dinner party.

                    Adults generally don't want to be forced into playing games at a so-called "formal dinner party." Most adults should be able to socialize appropriately without props and a camp counselor.

                    I'm also questioning the woman singing a "classic song." She better be really good or this will be embarrassing all around.

                    1. re: taos

                      I've never seen games played at formal dinner parties but it might be fun to see a rowdy game of musical chairs while the singer sings the classical song. I'm actually not a fan of formal dinner parties, especially in homes. I'm all about comfort. But, the OP didn't ask our opinions on any of that, just for suggestions, so that's what I gave, trying to be helpful.

                      1. re: taos

                        "I'm also questioning the woman singing a "classic song." She better be really good or this will be embarrassing all around."

                        I suppose that depends on the audience, really. Judge the performance or simply appreciate the efforts of others. You decide.

                        1. re: AnneMarieDear

                          The idea is to allow the guests to enjoy themselves, not to have to endure an amateur performance just out of politeness.

                        2. re: taos

                          Um yeah, I am with you on all of this. But we obviously have different tastes. This is their idea of fun. I guess. I'd rather chew my arm off.

                      2. re: taos

                        I wouldn't leave, but otherwise I agree with your post. Why not give people the benefit of the doubt that they can converse with new people?

                    2. I'm afraid I don't see the point of the question. A dinner party can certainly have a theme - we have a serious weakness for that sort of thing, and a reputation as well - but once the table is set and occupied and the food served, the rest is entirely up to the assembled company. Whatever the age spread, I assume these are all intelligent, sociable adults, and would expect conversation to ensue. It does at every dinner party I've ever attended. What I do not like at all is when the host or hostess announces that we're all going to do some activity that has nothing to do with either conversing or eating.

                      1. Reconsider not serving the booze.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Chinon00

                          As much as I hate to say this, I agree with you. I've been to several parties where teens were present and the alcohol was served only to the adults who wanted it. I don't believe in pushing alcohol on anyone--I always take no as the final answer whenever I offer it--but there's a reason why the cocktail party was invented. Even one glass of wine or whatever could help these mutual strangers loosen up enough to start a conversation without the aid of embarrassing parlor games. I would far rather say no to booze I do not want than have to play a game at a party with no gracious way out.

                          OP: Please reconsider for the sake of the geeks and introverts in your group. If you must play a game, make it something like the dictionary game, which doesn't involve role-play or humiliation.

                          1. re: Isolda

                            Please explain the dictionary game.

                            1. re: melpy

                              You get one dictionary, enough pencils for everyone, and lots of paper. To start, give one player the dictionary, a sheet of paper (strips work best) and a pencil. To everyone else, give a strip of paper and a pencil. The person with the dictionary will find an obscure word, announce it to the group, and then write down the real definition. (If someone already knows the word, she's honor-bound to disclose it so that the person with the dictionary can find a different one.) Everyone else writes a fake definition (that sounds as much as possible like a real one or is so obviously wrong that it's funny), then passes her paper to the person with the dictionary. This person reads all definitions, including the real one, aloud and everyone guesses which is the real one. This game is ideal for English geeks, but it is often hilarious even for those who aren't into words.

                              There are no winners or losers and most of the teens I've introduced it to love it. The key is not to be serious about your definition (my son always manages to work a zombie reference into his) so that people will laugh.

                              We always end up howling, even when no alcohol is served, but we might just be strange.

                              1. re: Isolda

                                They actually sell a version of this game (no dictionary required) that I've played with my friends, and you're right... hilarity ensues!

                                1. re: kubasd

                                  Ah! We actually own one of those commercial versions. Only the one we have includes words, movie titles, acronyms and dates. LOVE that game.

                        2. There a a game that we play that is a lot of fun. I think the name is celebrity.
                          Each person writes down names of famous people or characters on slips of paper. The number various depending on the size of the crowd. For 30 people I would do 1 name each. Then break into teams. It is more fair if all the people who know one another are not on the same team. There are three rounds. In the first round one person in you team is trying to get you to guess as many people from the slip pulled from a hat as you can by saying anything but the name or rhymes with. You may pass once. This goes around to each team until all the names are gone. (it is either times or until you can't get one after te initial pass). Once all the names are gone the second round starts except you can only say one word. The same names are used just put back in the bowl. Same rules and play goes between the teams. Once the bowl is empty gather up the names again and the final round you act out the names. At this point you have already seen the names twice so while it is easier it is also a little harder. Team with the most points is the winner. Don't put all the kids on the same team because sometimes they son't know celebrities or fictional characters as well. With 30 people I recommend 5 teams. The goal is that you get to be the actor/clue giver at least once. In smaller groups you can have a chance to do each round. No cards go un guessed because there is at least one person in the room who knows it because thy wrote the slip. Don't take out repeats, sometimes it helps to know there are two in the bowl.

                          1. It's the OP's party, I wouldn't have the temerity to tell her to change the things she is already set on. If I were the singer I'd need some alcohol, but otherwise, I think people can survive one evening w/out a drink.

                            A conversation icebreaker doesn't have to be a game. I was at a party a couple of years ago when the hostess piped up with "although we all know each other really well, I figured there were some things we DIDN'T know about each other" She asked us to go around the table and spill a small fact that we suspected our friends didn't know. It was freakin' fascinating. I'm apparently extremely lame, because all I could come up with was "I used to ride horses ", but some girls...WOW! I thought "I woke up in a ditch after a Grateful Dead concert" was pretty impressive, but the best one was "I traded sex for drugs in junior high". Hopefully your responses will be more G-rated since there are youngsters present, but this little exercise certainly gave the room subjects for conversation.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: danna

                              now that is a game that sounds awesome