5 Tips For a Great Dinner Soiree
Jobs, internships, family commitments, classes: twenty-somethings today are booked beyond compare! As a result, it isn’t often that we get all of our favorite people in the same room...and that’s a problem, because as Christians we are called to live in community and to be present with one another.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.” Hebrews 10:24-25.
I want to encourage my family and friends toward love and good deeds, which is one of the reasons I love dinner parties! Everyone needs to eat and I've realized food is a great way to bring people together.
Without further ado, here are five tips to make your dinner party a soiree to remember:
Not only is it fun to whip out your grandma’s 100-year-old pasta recipe or try out a new recipe for avocado chocolate mousse (it’s good, I swear!) but it also starts the ball rolling on dinnertime conversation.
“Wow, I thought this pasta tasted super old!”
“No, it’s just the recipe that’s 100 years old!!!”
If you’re having trouble coming up with a full menu from Pinterest, check out RachelRayMag.com for fun and easy menu ideas. If you’re feeling like an entire menu is a bit ambitious for one person, invite a few friends over to help or have everyone bring a dish, potluck style. Or, you can always just have some friends over for tea and dessert!
Too often, our conversations quickly shift to things like someone’s scandalous Instagram photo or other gossipy topics. To have fruitful dinner conversation though doesn't necessarily mean discussing a specific chapter of the Bible - just try to keep the conversation genuine and pure.
I really like these Table Topics cards for help in starting conversations. Also, encourage everyone to put their phones away. Because how many times were you hanging out with friends and everyone sat in their own corners, scrolling through social media feeds and texting. I love the idea of everyone stacking their phones in the middle of a table or a basket in another room.
Let’s be with each other, it’s what we came here for, right?! It is through get-togethers like these that I have been able to best bond with friends!
From board games to a local fireworks show, there are plenty of options to fit the style of your friend-group. Summer is the perfect time to have an outdoor movie, bonfire with s'mores and charades or a rousing game of flashlight tag. These are the types of activities that get everyone involved and foster the fellowship that our souls crave.
If you want to do something totally unique though, ask each friend to bring a few small items - toiletries, toys, baby stuff - and put together small gift bags. It takes each person spending $5 at the Dollar Store to make a difference. Add in a few Bible verses or a card of encouragement and deliver the bags to someone in need, whether it's a homeless shelter, a nursing home, or a family in your community who is struggling through a tough time.
Have some fun and get silly, make some memories with your friends and family! Plus, it will take the pressure off you to keep everyone entertained and talking the entire time your guests are there.
To make your dinner party aesthetically pleasing, get your hands on some Christmas lights, plastic tablecloths, fun paper plates or bunting! Putting just a little thought into the details makes a huge difference!
You don't even need to spend a lot of money though - Target’s “Oh Joy!” collection has lots of cute, fancy, and cheap party supplies to make your soiree more festive. Or, there are always lots of DIY ideas on Pinterest.
It’s great to get all of our loved ones together, but sometimes the pursuit of perfection is stressful! If you start to feel overwhelmed ask a friend for help and take a few deep breaths! Some of the best stories come out of moments that are seemingly stressful at the time.
Jesus acknowledges the importance of being present with your guests in the story of Martha and Mary:
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” -(Luke 10:38-42).
Follow Mary's example and be intentional about spending time with your guests.
What are you waiting for?! Make that Facebook invite, send some group texts and call your favorite people to love one another! My prayer for you and your friends is Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.”
The best thing about dinner parties is that they are meant for connecting. This is a time to put down the phones that can so easily chain themselves to us and be present to each other.