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Dinner parties - a thing of the past? or athing of your class?

(116 Posts)
SpeckledHen Tue 28-Jul-09 14:30:52

My parents had these. TYhey were form,al affairs and my mum went to a lot of troubler. Now I only know of a couple of folk in my neighbourhood who have them. Do any of you still have them and if so what is the format? Have they largely been replaced by BBQs?Are dinner parties, dare I say it, class related?

Dophus Tue 28-Jul-09 14:35:15

I wouldn't say I have dinner parties but do have friends around for dinner / barbies whatever. Is there a difference?

SausageRocket Tue 28-Jul-09 14:35:21

We have what I suppose are dinner parties but are really just having mates over for food (sometimes cooked by DH, sometimes not) and lots of drinks. Isn;t that all a dinner party is really ?

Not formal as we don't have a dining room (kitchen is huge and so table is in there). I suppose if you were being wanky then we have 'kitchen suppers' but as far as I'm concerned we just have friends over for dinner.

stillstanding Tue 28-Jul-09 14:35:22

My parents had rather formal dinner parties. They also had a lot of party parties iyswim.

We tend not to have so many of the party parties unless it is for a special occasion (birthday/christening etc) but do have people over for dinner regularly.

Our dinner parties are very rarely the formal stuff of my parents - no tablecloths and place names here! - but more casual affairs. I do go to quite a bit of effort with the food though.

No idea whether it is class-related - suspect only the names change depending on class. People of all classes have mates over for dinner surely?

SausageRocket Tue 28-Jul-09 14:36:35

If DH is cooking then he does go town on the food. He is a perfectionist

Dophus Tue 28-Jul-09 14:36:54

before children I may have gone out on the town with people - this rarely happens now due to babysitting costs. Kids watch DVDs together until they, one by one, fall asleep.

SpeckledHen Tue 28-Jul-09 14:41:31

Maybe its just me then. I have mates to stay who live far away and I cook dinner and I have had parties for work mates but I do not have people from the small village where I live over for dinner. My acquaintances all have small children like me and it would mean baby sitters or whole family dos unless we had a BBQ. Do you have lots of mates who ae parents in your kids classes? I have lots of acquaintances but no mates

UnquietDad Tue 28-Jul-09 14:46:56

"Dinner party" sounds a bit formal and (s)wanky. We do "having friends over". I believe this is quite normal.

SausageRocket Tue 28-Jul-09 14:47:43

No, I don't socialise with any of the parents of the kids' schoolfriends.

Our get-togethers include kids too, although our friends either have no children or teens so no house full of rugrats. DD, at almost 7, is the youngest child in our group by about 7 years.

Dophus Tue 28-Jul-09 14:48:14

I have NCT, nursery acquaintances some of whom are becoming friends. I have always been someone that has a few close friends rather than a large social network. Strong friendship take many years to build.

Try inviting them over for dinner

It's not necessary to get sitters - just let them watch DVDs. It works even with the young ones.

SpeckledHen Tue 28-Jul-09 14:53:00

Hmm there are a couple of couples I would like to invite over anyway to show them stuff that has come up in conversation and which may interest them. We coulod do a BBQ for them and their kids. Another couple of mums new to the area I would like to invite on a picnic. I will do this. I think I am a tad paranoid that I am the odd one out or something and that everyone else is having a merry old time.

SausageRocket Tue 28-Jul-09 14:53:25

I don't have stacks of close friends. I have 3 I am very close to who I met through work and friends who we met through DH's work.

I didn't really make any 'baby friends' with DD as I didn't go to antenatal groups and most of the women in post natal groups/toddler groups I attended were either on their first baby or their older child was a couple of years older. My DS1 & 2 were 10 & 8 when DD was born so I suppose I didn't make close friends with them because DS1 & 2 would be dragged along to toddler / baby houses and/or activities and bored witless and also vice-versa in that the mums of first borns or small age gaps prefered to mix with each other so they they wouldn't have to accomodate a 'difficult' age gap.

diedandgonetodevon Tue 28-Jul-09 14:54:39

When we have houseparties we will have a formal dinner but more regularly do the "having friends over" thing and we'll eat in the kitchen.

Nothing worse than getting trussed up like a prize chicken for people to come over, eat you out of house and home and than leave wink

SpeckledHen Tue 28-Jul-09 14:58:17

Do you mind me asking how many you would have for a house party? Would you fill the house with kids and adults and out out food in the kitchen?

SpeckledHen Tue 28-Jul-09 15:02:30

Recently I have been invited to several summer partis whihc said from 11am and whihc gave no end time and basivcally the idea was that people come and go throughout the entire day and evening. I thought they were lovely. Never come across them before this year. To do that though with small kids you have to not mind the mess or keep everyone outside as these folks did and the last one wasn't easy as it kept raining. I feel very isoalated though I know lots of people and somehow having people over brings them closer. I don't know.

diedandgonetodevon Tue 28-Jul-09 15:04:55

As an example, last weekend we had 18 adults and 4 children from Friday till Sunday after lunch. Any more than that and people end up spread all over the house and you can't find anyone.

I have a very big table in the dining room grinblush

SpeckledHen Tue 28-Jul-09 15:06:31

Wow that is a lot of people for a long time.

ChoChoSan Tue 28-Jul-09 15:34:05

We have quite posh dinner parties, in that DH is a fantastic cook (and show off grin), and likes to pull out all the gastronomic stops sometimes, with 6 or 7 courses, amuse bouches etc., champagne

I always dress the table nicely, loads of different glasses, linen napkins and tons of candles.

However, they are only 'formal' in appearances, and no standing on ceremony is required, and everyone usually ends up rolling round drunk and having a laugh.

diedandgonetodevon Tue 28-Jul-09 15:45:23

<angles for a invite to ChoCho's>
Sounds fab!

HuffwardlyRouge Tue 28-Jul-09 16:03:53

We have what I suppose would be called dinner parties. Nothing particularly Margot Leadbetter about them though.

It's just friends coming over for food and wine and chatting. We often invite people who we don't know so well as it's a great way to get to know people. Eg I will get to know one of the mums at toddler group, and then invite her and her husband over for supper as a way to meet her husband and chat without children.

I have a maximum of 6 people (used to be 8 but we have a smaller table now). I make an effort with the food, but nothing like on the scale my mother used to for dinner parties. I might put on something clean and brush my hair but I don't dress up. I also invite couples who don't necessarily know each other but who I think would get on.

I would like having people over twice a week or more, but dh has to reign me in.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Tue 28-Jul-09 16:08:10

We have small dinner parties. We have a kitchen diner so space is limited, but we still do proper appetisers, starters etc, coffee and port/brandy to end. We still do candles, napkins, soft music and wine, get dressed up in posh togs and nice perfume, house perfectly tidy and smelling delicious.

When we get a dining room I cannot wait to be able to do larger ones again.

HuffwardlyRouge Tue 28-Jul-09 16:08:38

I've just remembered, I mentioned on a thread recently something about a dinner party and lots of MNers told me to "stop having dinner parties!" in a perfectly nice, joking way, but I was a bit surprised nonetheless. I love having people over for supper.

EachPeachPearMum Tue 28-Jul-09 16:13:50

Kitchen suppers are the way to go...

ChoChoSan Tue 28-Jul-09 16:21:36

I used to volunteer to do some of the cooking, but it just pisses DP off if I am in the kitchen, and I would get stressed out running between guests in the lounge and the kitchen, and therefore forget to get dressed up, ending up in jeans and birkenstocks - I even did this on my birthday once blush.

I have since then realised that DP prefers to take all the glory for a meal, so I now say I am in charge of entertaining while he slaves in the kitchen, and he can call me last minutes for help with plates, but I don't want to set foot in the kitchen unless I am on a booze run!

I do usually end up stacking the dishwasher before pudding, but that is just because I am taking time out to drink gallons of water and sober up a bit...hic!

We are quite lucky because we have got a separate dining room, plus a big kitchen diner, so we can just close the door on the mess and left over glasses/ashtrays, and go to bed. I must confess that we have forgotten to go back in for a couple of days in the past, which is a bit slummy of us...especially if someone else walks in before you realisegrin!

dinosaur Tue 28-Jul-09 16:23:11

I haven't had a dinner party since I was a student blush.

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