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7 Inspirational Dinner Party Ideas By Top Event Professionals

Dinner in the Field; photo courtesy of Molly Scott

Whether you’re hosting an outdoor reception at a communal table surrounded by hundreds of twinkling lights, or a cozy indoor assemblage, dinner parties symbolize the gathering of friends, food and conviviality. No matter the size or theme, the following seven pros prove the devil is in the details when it comes to executing a dinner party your guests will be talking about for years to come. Here are a few inspirational dinner party ideas from some of our favorite industry experts.

Hamilton-Inspired Dinner Menu

Dinner party menu ideas - Broadway's Hamilton Chicago
Photo courtesy of Bob & Dawn Davis Photography & Design

Entertaining Company channeled the life of Alexander Hamilton as inspiration for their dinner experience at In Studio Live in Chicago,IL. Waiters greeted guests with Painkiller cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres including pulled jerk chicken, tuna tartar and shredded short rib popovers. Guests dined on a “West Indies Salad” —  inspired by Nevis, the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton. Dinner was spice-encrusted baby lamb chops, parsnip puree and roasted vegetables.

Kehoe Designs drew inspiration from the authentic recording studio and amplified the space with a custom speaker backdrop as guests entered the venue. The cocktail party featured the Rockwell crank table and a custom step and repeat. The intimate dinner featured four of Kehoe’s spoke tables accented with Tablescapes Event Rentals black mirage chairs, and four additional tables dressed in steel linens with Kehoe’s phantom chairs.

A Table Runner Made of Candles

Candlelight dinner party decoration ideas
Photo courtesy of Gold Grid Studios

For their launch dinner, the Gold Grid team assembled a gathering of some of their favorite industry professionals to create an inspirational evening in Chicago that celebrated all of their hard work.  Kesh Designs, M&M Special Events and BBJ Rentals transformed Seasons 52 restaurant into an elegant, glowing atmosphere complete with lace and sequin touches and a twinkling “runner” made out of candles.

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An Unexpected Venue

Vintage themed dinner party
Photo courtesy of Swoon Over It Photography

This dinner party in Pennsylvania was hosted in a vintage greenhouse and the unique venue directed the style of the event.  Momental Designs, a custom stationer, is beloved for its hand-painted stationery, so this celebration began with hand-delivered invitations. Each was delicately and extensively hand-painted with shimmer and opaque inks, along with sheer watercolor. The dinner party, hosted in a vintage Greenhouse, featured herb and floral patterns. Rounding out the organically inclined event was rustic cuisine, an abundance of greenery and sofa-style seating.

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Petite Bites

Cocktail style dinner party ideas
Photo courtesy of PhillipVN Photography

We love so much about this WIPA dinner party at Second Floor in New York, but one of our favorite dinner party ideas is the fashioning of petite bites. From pint-sized starters to the artful tiny cakes, cocktail-style dinner parties afford guests the opportunity to visit with many guests and try a sampling of different cuisine.

Dinner in the Field

Outdoor dinner party ideas
Dinner in the Field; photo courtesy of Molly Scott

Paisley & Jade — a furniture rental company specializing in vintage, eclectic and custom fabrications for events, weddings and photo shoots — made this beautiful Dinner In The Field experience at Seven Springs Farm complete, thanks to pieces like gorgeous hairpin farm tables and a grapefruit sideboard, which served as both a champagne bar and a serving station for sumptuous appetizers and cheeses. At this outdoor dinner party, guests feasted on Italian fare on long communal tables surrounded by hanging string lights.

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A Progressive Dinner

Luxury dinner party ideas
Photo courtesy of Drew Altizer Photography

The Loews Regency San Francisco Hotel partnered with “Modern Luxury Weddings California” magazine to celebrate two fantastic new additions to the world of weddings in the San Francisco Bay Area: the launch of the magazine’s spring/summer 2017 issue and the hotel’s newly remodeled space. The event, which spanned several event spaces in the hotel, proves that a dinner party on the move brings a twist to the party.

The Hotel Chef, Kevin Tanaka, and his team prepared various bites including chicken salad in a waffle cone and mac and cheese fritters with Sriracha aioli. To complement the ballrooms’ new look, Sage McRae — the hotel’s social catering sales manager and resident wedding design expert — set a display table in the California room using a decorative white table offset by a mix of clear acrylic chairs on one side and grey X-backed chairs with white cushions on the other. She chose place settings from Standard Party Rentals along with a gold sequin table runner and honey-colored napkins from Napa Valley Linens. Small floral arrangements from Urban Botanica showed moss, fern, and air plants accented by single white Phalaenopsis orchids in small white geometric containers to mimic the sleek contemporary design of the room.

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Apres-Ski Dinner Party

Ski dinner party ideas
Photo courtesy of Damion Hamilton

All Set turned a happening San Francisco lounge into a ski lodge for the night to recreate an après-ski themed dinner party. This corporate affair was a night filled with upbeat music and delicious nosh, including fresh sushi served off skis and specialty winter cocktails like the Snowcat. Second to the dance floor, the photo booth provided by Two Dudes and a Photo Booth was the popular spot. For an added bit of whimsy, the All Set team had the idea to source old school ski gear from local thrift stores and made “snowballs” as props.