The Blog

Why You and Your Neighbors Should Host a Progressive Dinner




Photographer: The Beautiful Mess Photography (100 Days of Real Food)















This summer I had the honor to speak on a panel held during the week long Charlotte Shout festival on the importance of building our communities here in Charlotte through events. As the resident hostess of my block, I spoke on neighborhood events. Neighborhood events come in many forms. Many start small and have the possibility and momentum to make a larger civil impact on its surrounding community outside of the one block or neighborhood. When you host neighborhood events it boosts morale and creates pride in your neighborhood Creating pride is something so basic, yet so important. Neighborhoods can easily fall into disrepair and despair. However, when people care, you will be able to maintain and improve that place that you call home.

Some of my fondest memories of growing up is playing with the kids on my block, riding my bike around my neighborhood and having the best time during our annual summer block party.

My block just hosted our first progressive dinner last month and it was a hit! A progressive dinner is a party where each course is eaten at a different hosts house in the same evening. Guests progress from house to house across three or four locations. The dinner does not have to be themed but encourage the hosts to bring delight during every course with decor or food and beverage that will create interesting conversation.

On the menu for our block’s progressive dinner was,

Cocktails and Appetizers 

Our block bartender is always ready for a good gathering of neighbors and served up several signature drinks that you could select from a printed cocktail menu, including a refreshing summer “Ruby-tini” a mix of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and ruby red grapefruit vodka. (My daughter’s name is Ruby and for her Sip and See last summer this neighbor put together the sweetest gift basket with the ingredients to this specialty cocktail in ode to my daughter. I have the best neighbors.) For appetizers, they keep it simple with an assortment of nuts, cheeses and summer sausages.


My hubby and I hosted dinner and we decided to cater some of the meal, since to our delight, 16 neighbors (including the older children that live on the block) committed to attending. We served up chicken picatta, garlic herb shrimp, cilantro rice, sweet and savory brussels sprouts with pancetta (my hubby cooked this item) and spinach and corn salad with red onions and feta cheese (I prepared this dish). We served red and white wine. Timing the meals is simple, if you’re the host of the next event, you should leave 10 minutes before the start time of the next meal to get set for guests. Our timeline for our progressive dinner was cocktails and appetizers at 5pm, dinner at 6pm and dessert at 7:30pm.


Our newest neighbors to the block hosted an assortment of homemade desserts, ice cream, coffee, wine and a yummy after dinner Blueberry Collins specialty cocktail. The evening ended at 10:30pm and fun was had by ALL. We’re already planning our next block event for the fall.

Bachelorette Party Survival Guide




Do you get a gift for a bachelorette party?

Gifts for the bride are not necessary for a bachelorette party, as traditionally the maid of honor and bridesmaids plan and pay for all bachelorette festivities including costs for the bride and the bride spends her time preparing for the big day instead.

Gifts for the bride tribe has become increasingly popular. Brides are gifting everyone attending the bachelorette party with a personalized gift, especially if everyone is traveling for the event. A little gift that shows your appreciation for everyone joining in is always nice. The goal is for the bride and her guests to bond and have a blast before the wedding.

What is a good gift for a bachelorette party?

Anything personalized is always a nice gift for the bride tribe: robe, pajamas, sun hat, swimsuit, wine glass, luggage tag.

Treating your girls to a little rest and relaxation is also a great idea with spa treatments: massage, mani/pedi, facial.

Tote bags filled with goodies is also fun. You can include mini bottles of liquor, lipstick, sunglasses, gag gift and sweet treats.

What goes in a bachelorette survival kit? 

Aspirin, Gatorade, mints, tums, eye drops, shot glass, hair tie, stain and makeup remover wipes, water, sunglasses, eye mask, nail file.

What is the difference between a bridal shower and a bachelorette party? 

The bachelorette party is a time for the bride to let her hair down, forget about wedding planning and hang out and have a blast with friends. The bachelorette party is a more intimate affair with a bride’s closest circle of friends; siblings, college roommate, childhood best friends, cousins, and so forth.

The bridal shower is meant to “shower” the bride with love, gifts and encouragement for her new life as a married woman. It’s a nice occasion for the bride to spend relaxed time with her family and friends before the big wedding day. Games are played, funny stories are shared and advice is given to the bride.


What are some fun things to do for a bachelorette party? 

Selecting a theme for the bachelorette party will help guide the activities. Here’s a fun list of things to do: wine tasting, cooking class, distillery tour, charter a small boat or yacht, book a glam squad for a fun night out on the town, scavenger hunt, casino, spa day, try a unique class (trapeze, soulcycle, ballet barre, pole dancing, rock climbing, etc.).

What does the bride do for the bachelorette party?

The bride sets the parameters of the bachelorette party; do you want to travel, stay local, discuss with your bridesmaids any wants or concerns you have about the bachelorette party. If you want the activities to stay within a certain price range so that everyone can attend let your bridesmaids know what you are comfortable with for the event. Think carefully about the guest list and invite your best girlfriends who you are excited to celebrate with. Be sure to provide your bridesmaids with the contact information for your invitees rather than have them guess about whom to invite. Traditionally, the maid of honor and bridesmaids plan and pay for all bachelorette festivities, and the bride spends her time preparing for the big day instead.



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