I love to entertain my friends and neighbors, BUT, my schedule and my pocketbook are never quite as happy about my passion for parties. Solution? Progressive Parties! A Progressive Party is basically a traveling hybrid potluck for groups that live in close proximity to each other. Here's how it works:
You have a group of people (typically neighbors) who like to get together for an occasional evening. Food, drink, activities, but no one wants all the responsibility and cost of entertaining your group. Divide and conquer.
- Appetizers and Cocktails - Progressive Party
- Entrees and wine - Progressive Party
- Deserts/Coffee bar - Progressive Party
Divide your meal into three or four components and have someone host each part. Each segment host will provide the space, component and beverages for their portion. Schedule the rotations to each component. Joe's house for appetizers and cocktails. Taneesha's house for roast chicken and veggies, and Niko's house for desert and a coffee bar. You can even add in a stop for after dinner cocktails. Each party would have different hosts so that the effort and expense is shared.
Create a pre-party planning get together with the hosts. Plan how long you will be at each house, the number of guests expected and share your food/drink ideas. Make your guest list while everyone is present. (insuring no one is left out). This often leads to new faces being added to the group.
Note: Invites need to be sent at least 2 weeks in advance and you will need to keep track of the RSVPs.
- Timing Coordination. If Taneesha has her roast chicken on a timer and cocktails at Joe's goes an hour over, the guests are going to have some seriously dry chicken.. Plan a little extra time at each station to allow for successful preparation at the next station
- Minimal Distance. If you have to travel too far between stations this party won't work. Plus, if you are serving alcohol then actually encouraging guests to drive, that's definitely a problem. This party is ideal for a subdivision or close neighborhood.
- Have the right amount of stations for the crowd. If you have 5 couples, you don't want 4 stations - keep it at 3. If you have 10 couples, you can increase stations - perhaps add in a second appetizer station or an end of evening cocktail station.
- Rotate fairly. The Progressive Party can fail if certain individuals always feel like they are hosting. Make sure that you keep track of attendance/hosting so that everyone takes a turn.
There are a few key elements to a successful Progressive Party:
Taste Coordination. Each course needs to mesh with the others. Although there are breaks between, the palette remembers.