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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?