Divine Dinner Party

Family Dinner Parties Ideas:
Planning a Special Family Dinner

When you're considering family dinner parties ideas, you might have to stop and think a little about how to put things together-- after all, we live in an ever-moving society where people don't often get to sit down for special family meals!

Planning a Special Family Dinner Party

But it's really fun to turn a regular ol' family meal into a fancy or whimsical occasion around your dinner table! And it's these kinds of memories that make family dinners so special and important. Cheesy as it sounds, it's true!

Thinking about planning a special family meal? Well, where do you start? Right here, you'll find lots of tips and resources for family dinner planning, and putting together a special meal your family will love. But there are tons of ideas for planning a special dinner right here on Divine Dinner Party. So check out:

1. Plan Your Location

Well, step one when looking for family dinner parties ideas is figuring out where you're going to serve the food, of course! During summer, it's fun to eat outdoors together, and the natural backdrop gives you a completely different option in decorating than the indoors does. Some good ideas for a casual summer dinner party for the family are:

Of course, you can always choose to have a special family dinner party inside-- just be sure you've got plenty of seating space for everyone.

2. When to Plan Your Party

Your next step in working through any family dinner parties ideas is to think about the date or event. There doesn't necessarily need to be any particular occasion for a family dinner party... but sometimes having a meaningful event helps with food planning. For example, if it's someone's birthday then you can make food that person likes for your key offerings. Some occasions for planning a family dinner party might be:

3. Choosing a Theme

A Special Family PicnicWhether you're coming up with family dinner party ideas to fit with a special event --like a birthday-- or just want to get the family together for a special meal, there is one BEST way to make it feel special: Pick a theme!

Want to simply make a special night with your kids and bring the family together? Plan a themed family dinner party, and go all-out! For example, "Family Night in France" (one I tried with my kids and loved). For this family dinner party idea, you'd set your table with beautiful tableware and candles, and serve various traditional French dishes playing café-style music in the background. A few cheap berets and some striped t-shirts, and you're having a ton of fun.

Some more fun theme ideas for a special family dinner might be:

  • "Favorites" Night: (make one of each family member's favorites
  • Floor Picnic (plan a winter picnic on the floor of your living room!)
  • Rustic Cowboy Dinner
  • "Foods from the Day You Were Born" (one for each family member!)
  • Hawaiian Luau Dinner
  • Thanksgiving in May
  • Family Fondue Party
  • "Food Illusions" Party (all foods that look like something else!)
  • 1950's Diner Dinner
  • Around the World Dinner Menu
  • Build Your Own Tacos, Burgers, Burritos, etc.

There are tons of great ideas out there-- just get creative. Looking for more help? You'll find some more ideas on these pages:

4. Fix a Budget and Guest List

No matter how great your family dinner parties ideas are, you've got to be able to pay for them! Knowing what you can spend affects not only what food you'll prepare but also the number of guests you can comfortably entertain. With your budget in hand you can now make a list of guests and start really thinking about the food.

5. Plan a Fun-Filled Menu

Of course, when you're planning a special family meal, most of the family dinner parties ideas you're searching for are going to revolve around food. That's because picking the menu is the hardest --and most crucial-- part!

Fortunately, all of that is easily solved when you start off with a theme for a family dinner. Your menu will easily fall into place if you choose a "Food Illusions" theme, and every dish needs to look like something else. No matter what your theme, though, your meal should generally include: some type of appetizer or finger food, a vegetable, salad and/or soup, main dish, and beverages.

You can find some good ideas for creative family dinner menus one some of the following pages:

Some Fun Family Recipes

One fun and meaningful way to approach your family dinner parties ideas is looking to traditional food that your family already treasures. Those recipes that have been handed down from grandma --those specialties that everyone craves even when it's not a holiday-- are good places to begin. Here a quick and easy one that's often on our table:

Honey and Apple Chicken Breast Recipe

Quick Apple Chicken Recipe

I love making this recipe for a family dinner, because it's tasty, kid-approved, and takes very little time to put together-- leaving you to focus on some fun side dishes with the kids!

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast per person
Apple juice or cider (enough to cover for a marinade)
1 capful white vinegar per breast
1 tsp. brown sugar per breast
Pinch of seasoning salt per breast

Basting Mixture:
1 Part Honey
2 Parts Apple sauce
Garlic powder, to taste

Instructions: 1. Marinate the chicken breast over night with the juice or cider, vinegar, brown sugar and salt. Drain the next day for grilling.

2. In a sauce pan mix together honey, garlic, and applesauce and warm until well integrated. Use this to baste the chicken on the grill.

3. Cook chicken over a medium heat until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees of the juice of the chicken runs clean.

Hint: One of my favorite family dinner parties ideas for this dish it to change the apple out for a wide variety of fruits. Strawberry is a favorite here (we use frozen daiquiri juice for marinade). You can also try this with ham or pork chops.

As you can see from this example, your family dinner parties ideas don't need to be complex to be satisfying, filling, and a lot of fun to eat. Just remember to adjust your portions based on how many courses you plan to offer. And, hey... cook up a little extra so you can put your feet up and have leftovers tomorrow!

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Coming Up...

Hippity, Hoppity,
Easter's on its Way

The date for Easter falls on April 20th this year!

Take a look at Easter Dinner and Party Planning for recipes, edd dye tips, assembling Easter baskets, and more!

And plan to make this adorable...

It's so cute, it may be the best thing you do this Easter.


Share and share alike! If you have a great dinner party idea or tip, send it in!

After all, what better way to pass on your knowledge than to share it with other hosts and hostesses?

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