How to Make Your Dinner Parties More Interesting

A boring, predictable dinner party is any host’s worst nightmare. Instead of relying on emptying your liquor cabinet to make your dinner parties more interesting, try one of these ideas instead.

After hosting countless dinner parties, I learned how not to throw a dinner party. I’ve also discovered why spending more time on expensive decor and wine doesn’t equate to a better party. To make your dinner parties more interesting, think about what’ll keep conversations alive, how to get exciting anecdotes and stories out of people, and how to surprise your guest without too much effort. Read this post and find an idea that works for you and your group. 

outdoor picnic with friends
This “fancy” looking picnic setup is actually an incredibly lightweight Ikea table top sitting on top of a rubbermaid Tupperware container and wine box!

Eat in a Unique Location

Switching up where you eat makes dinner parties interesting because it’s not something you typically do. And, who doesn’t love new things? Experiencing something new can also help boost your memory, making your guests more likely to remember this experience and associate your party with something positive.

A simple example would be eating on the floor on pillows, around a low set table instead of a typical dining table. This option works particularly well when you don’t have enough chairs for all of your guests!

Or, if the weather is nice and you can logistically make it work, throw your dinner party in a public park, beach, or your backyard.

Serve Multiple Courses

Keep your guests excited, and make your dinner parties less predictable by serving your dinner in multiple courses. Doing this will add extra preparation time and work, but if you’re hosting a smaller dinner party for four, for example, it can be easily managed.

By serving multiple courses, you’ll keep your guests on their toes. They will likely pay more attention to the food, and each change will allow for a new topic of conversation to be introduced.

Move Around

On the topic of keeping your guests on their toes, you can make your dinner parties more interesting by moving them to different rooms or parts of your home during your party.

For example, you could start with appetizers and drinks on your patio. Then, move to the dining table for dinner. Finish your meal by serving a simple dessert and taking a stroll around your neighborhood.

We did this with friends last summer down to the beach and it was such a pleasant away to end the evening.

Freestyle Rap

If you just listened to the above video and laughed your head off, you can see how freestyle rapping can be a great way to spice up a dinner party. While your raps are probably not going to be nearly as good or as long as theirs, rap “battles” are fun with the right crowd and can make for some hilarious entertainment.

All you need to do is play a playlist of instrumental tunes (try this one) and start your group off with a set of lyrics. As the host, you should start and let people chime in when they feel comfortable. This activity is best played after a few drinks once everybody’s a little loose.

My husband’s go-to first liner (which I recommend you steal) is:

My name is Chris, and I’m here to say I hope you have a wonderful day.”

Don’t worry about rhyming. Just blurt out whatever comes to mind. The less you think about it, the funnier it becomes. 

And if you need more inspiration, check out the Comedy Bang Bang Freestyle Rap skits, which are insanely funny.

Tip: Pick slow songs or go half speed. You’re not a professional rapper or comedian, so the slower you go, the easier it becomes.

2 Hour Cocktail Party group shot

Use an Icebreaker or Conversation Starter

If you’ve read my post about Nick Gray’s 2-Hour Cocktail Party, you’ll know that using icebreakers helped me host a successful cocktail party with 16 guests, most of who didn’t know each other. These icebreakers helped me bridge the connection between guests without feeling like I needed to babysit and make sure everyone was getting along.

Icebreakers help make dinner parties more interesting because they allow your guests to quickly “meet” other guests. And no, they don’t need to be cringe-worthy or make you feel vulnerable or exposed.

Dinner party guests laughing

An icebreaker gives you quick insight into what you and another guest might have in common without prying it out of them one-on-one. And using fun, easy-to-answer icebreakers in the right way can spice up a party.

Digging into a freshly made paella dish
My Spanish friends taught us how to make an authentic Spanish paella. It was better than anything I had tasted before.

Serve Something Unusual

Just like eating in a new setting, serving something unusual will make your dinner party stand out. You don’t need to serve your guests parts of an animal they’d rather not eat, but rather serve something they don’t typically eat at a dinner party.

For example, you could:

  • prepare a meal made entirely with home-grown produce
  • serve breakfast for dinner
  • incorporate edible bugs or serve them as an appetizer
  • cook dishes from a place you just visited and teach your guests a little bit about them or a new cuisine.
  • swap out a typical holiday meal such as a Thanksgiving turkey with something completely different 
2-hour cocktail party book

Host a 2-Hour Cocktail

While a 2-Hour Cocktail Party is not technically a dinner party, it’s a perfect way to keep things exciting, especially for a larger group. Nick Gray’s 2-Hour Cocktail Party is an awesome way to connect with different groups of friends, have engaging conversations, host on a weeknight, and have guests leave at a decent hour.

2 hour cocktail party mingling
Girl wearing red dress and sunglasses

Give Your Party a Theme

Specificity is a very powerful source of meaning and connection for people.

Priya Parker

Giving your party a specific theme can make your dinner parties more interesting for a few reasons. 

First, it helps build anticipation and excitement before your party starts. A themed dinner party is one you want to tell everybody about it. And you can’t help but count down the days until it starts. 

Second, give your dinner party a theme; you’re less likely to have guests who bail last minute. They will likely feel more committed and feel that if they cancel, they will suffer from FOMO or feel bad they left you hanging.

Lastly, having a theme makes your party different and feel more special. It requires more planning and organization, but the effort is worth it, especially if your goal is to make your dinner parties more interesting.

Some themes and ideas you can try for your next dinner party:

  • Family Heritage
  • Progressive Dinner
  • Murder Mystery Party
  • Taco Night
  • 70s Dress-Up Party
  • DIY Pizzas
  • Casino Night
  • Sushi-Making Night
Blind taste test with beer

Involve Your Guests

Involving your guests in activities will make your dinner parties more interesting because your guests will be required to think and be less passive. How do you get your guests involved in your dinner party? Here are some ideas:

  • Organize a blind taste test (check out this post for ideas on what food and drink items you can taste)
  • Play a game like Cocktales where guests are required to plan and bring ingredients for a cocktail competition
  • Host a sushi-making or dumpling-making night where your guests make sushi or dumplings together as a group.
dinner party games for adults cover image

Play an Old-School Board Game

Play a board game, and you’ll naturally make your next dinner party more interesting.

No matter how you look at it, playing board games is always a good time. The feeling you get when you play board games triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals. Plus, a sense of bonding and connection occurs, strengthening the relationships between you and your guests. 

Tip: If you have some guests that maybe aren’t so extroverted or talkative, a board game will allow everyone to feel included.

Some fun board games you could play include Monopoly, Risk, Trivial Pursuit, and Scrabble.

Which One Will You Try?

Hopefully, these ideas will help you make your dinner parties more exciting or inspire you to do something different and unique for your next gathering. Leave a comment below and let me know which ones you tried and which ones you loved. 

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