Do you struggle to find the time to plan a dinner party?

Are you completely drained after you worked all week to put one together?

Do you love to host but find it too expensive?

I believe a dinner party doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming to be memorable.

Putting in the right amount and kind of effort into your get-togethers can help build trust, give you and your friends a sense of purpose, and ultimately strengthen your relationships.

After hosting amateur dinner parties and gatherings for more than ten years, I realized that I was spending far too much time and money on things that didn’t matter. The most memorable get-togethers I hosted were ones that sparked fun and unexpected conversations, where there were experiences that made guests think and laugh.

These dinner parties were far from picture-perfect, but they were memorable.

I now spend far less time and money fussing over fancy (but forgettable) table decor and expensive food. And instead, focus my energy on creating experiences that my guests (and I) will remember and enjoy.

Imagine This

It’s half an hour before your dinner party’s about to start:

Your feet are up, you’re feeling relaxed, and you’re enjoying a glass of wine while waiting for your first guests to arrive. You sneak a couple of chips you’re serving as an appetizer to make sure they aren’t stale, and they aren’t.


You’re excited about the snake draft game you’ve prepared for your guests, and you feel confident about the wholesome, one-pot meal you’ve prepared that also happened to cost you less than thirty dollars.

You’re on top of things but didn’t spend all week or day preparing for this party, and it feels good.

kim pouring wine for people

I used to think a dinner party needed to be perfect.

When I hosted an event, I spent the entire week prepping. I cleaned every inch of my shared apartment and felt embarrassed I didn’t have a nicer place. I spent more time and money than I could afford to cook elaborate dishes and fussed over tiny details nobody seemed to notice. We had fun, but after my guests left, I always felt deflated and like something was missing.

When I met my husband Chris eight years ago, we started hosting blind taste tests, where we would compare a different food or drink at each party (wine, beer, sourdough, chocolate – you name it), and they were always a hit. We had fun, engaging, exciting conversations, and guests remembered these parties and brought them up time and time again.

Blind taste test with beer
Chris’ friends came to visit and we organized a Lager taste test which, unlike the beer, was a highlight of their trip.

But, when my budget changed and I could no longer serve a super fancy dinner, I discovered something important: Guests still appreciated the food no matter what I made and didn’t seem to bat an eye that they were sitting on plastic Ikea chairs and eating with mismatched cutlery and glassware.

I realized that it’s these unique experiences (and exciting conversations) that people remember and enjoy most, and not picture-perfect food or decor. Even months after a gathering, friends will share favorite memories that came about because of the dinner party I hosted. And this is why I’ve made it a priority and focus for any gathering (big or small) I have a hand in. I am now a much more relaxed and confident host knowing that I’m helping cultivate memorable and meaningful connections.

Outdoor dinner party with family

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    Kim at the dinner table
    My husband Chris and I at our backyard wedding in 2021

    I Almost Forgot to Introduce Myself…

    I’m Kim, a home cook and dinner party enthusiast from Vancouver, that (obviously) loves to entertain. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Masters in Marketing Comms, and zero qualifications in party planning or culinary arts.

    When I’m not working on this blog or planning my next dinner party, I design things and websites, hang out with my son Zac and husband Chris, and stay as active as I can (hiking, beach volleyball, calisthenics, etc.).

    My husband and I chase the sun and split our time between Cape Town and Vancouver.

    Emma chatting during a Second Degree dinner party
    A Pinotage blind wine taste-test dinner party we hosted in Cape Town last January.

    Don’t Be Shy!

    Whether you’ve got a general question about dinner parties, a particular problem you’ve encountered and need help with, or want some help building up the confidence to host your own, I’m here to help!


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    How to have better dinner party conversations cover image
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