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How to organize a progressive dinner

Aimee Fortney is “Not the Perfect Cook.” Retiring at age 31 as a bilingual political consultant, Aimee is now a cookbook author, blogger, recipe developer and inspirational food lover, who lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband a...

Have a fun night with friends!

Never heard of a progressive dinner? This dinner party has not just one location, but at least four locations. So put on your walking shoes and get ready to party!
Friends having wine

Set a date on the calendar and get ready for a fun night of dinner parties! Just because you're sticking to a strict budget doesn't mean that you can't throw one heck of a stop! In fact, entertaining together, as a group, is much more economical than one host footing the entire bill. Learn how to organize your first progressive dinner.

Communication is key

Set up an online site where everyone can RSVP. Ask about any food-related allergies ahead of time. As a hostess, you never want to serve a dish that will cause your guests to become ill. Knowledge is power, so ask upfront!

Try these tips for relaxed hosting >>

Divide it up

Each neighbor provides one course of a typical dinner party, so divide up the menu and get started! The beauty of a progressive dinner is that there's less stress, and everyone gets to participate. Assign each course depending on strengths. If one neighbor outshines the others when it comes to cocktails and wine selection, ask them to to be the first stop for the progressive dinner. If another neighbor has a huge dining room, pick them for the main course.

Try these 5 Creative cocktail party appetizers >> 

Course by course

Ideally, the night will be spent within your neighborhood, so you can walk from house to house. First up is cocktails and appetizers, then you walk to the next house for soup and/or salad, the next house has the main course and you end the night at the dessert house!

Also keep in mind that you probably want to keep the cocktails or wine flowing at each stop, so pick inexpensive wines to complement your course. Neighbors could even consider purchasing a box (or two) of wines to carry from house to house. One box is the equivalent of four bottles, so the price is easy on your wallet!

Check out these great wines on a budget >>

Last stop

The grand finale of the night is the dessert house. This person has the greatest responsibility for making sure the party ends well. Whether there is a buffet of dessert options or one large dessert, keep the beverages flowing (water, coffee, wine or after-dinner drinks), the laughter glowing and the conversation knowing, then everyone will have a grand time!

More dinner party tips

Host a successful potluck party
10 Tips for a memorable dinner party
5 Tips for stress-free entertaining

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