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The Nice Dinner Party Out

The nice dinner party out is by far one of the easiest parties to plan. You simply tell all of the guests when and where to meet for dinner. (Be sure to get reservations, especially with a large group.) This can be done just with family, or with a group of friends, and can be very informal or by invitation. Unless you know the guest of honor won't like it, be sure to tell the restaurant staff that you are celebrating. Especially for birthdays, sometimes the staff will sing or take your picture, hit a gong, or whatever, depending on the restaurant. I was once serenaded by a man walking around with a guitar singing Italian opera tunes! The Nice Dinner Party Out is very simple, but can be expensive, depending on what restaurant you go to. Typically, you can expect everyone to pay for themselves and pitch in for the guest of honor (but make sure everyone knows that ahead of time).

Where

The guest of honor's favorite restaurant, of course! And again, be SURE to make a reservation, especially if your group is large.

Invitations

If you're sending invitations for the nice dinner party out, they could be something that is like the restaurant. For example, if the restaurant is super fancy, the invitations should be simple and elegant; if the restaurant is a sports bar, the invitations should be more casual and sporty. If it's a Mexican restaurant, invitations with a chile pepper or cactus theme, etc. Get invitations (or ideas) at eInvite or FineStationery.

Decorations/Favors

Ask the restaurant; sometimes it's nice for you to bring balloons to tie on the chairs and flowers for the table (but the restaurant may have nice centerpieces and may be able to provide balloons, so be sure to ask).

Depending on your party's size, you may want to put small mementos at each place setting, such as a picture of the guest with the guest of honor or if you aren't pre-determining seating, a trinket that "matches" the invitations.

Also, with any celebration, putting a few single-use cameras on the table is a great way to get party shots you may not be able to get yourself.

Although the restaurant may not want a lot of decorating, you can get some great nice dinner party out ideas on the Decoration Ideas page, and get whatever you may need at discount prices at this excellent party supply resource.

Food/Cake

Each person orders what they want, or if your group is large enough, the menu will be determined beforehand between you and the restaurant. If you choose a menu, the restaurant will usually give at least two main course choices.

If you're having a birthday or other appropriate celebration, the restaurant may provide a cake (for a cost). Be sure to ask. If you want to bring your own cake, most restaurants don't mind that and will even serve it for you (again, be sure to ask). Get some excellent cake decorating ideas here.

Games

Since you are in a restaurant, playing games that have you move around and such is probably not an option, but you can play games on paper. A popular one is a list of questions about the guest of honor to "test" how well everyone knows him or her. Whoever gets the most answers correct wins.

You can also have each guest mention a funny or poignant memory you have with the guest of honor - it's especially meaningful (and can be very funny) for parents and grandparents to listen to their kids and grandkids give accounts of different events.

Entertainment

Some restaurants have entertainment such as background music, live music, or TV with sports or videos. More elegant restaurants might have strings or someone playing violin. Regardless, entertainment is not usually something you arrange with the Nice Dinner Party Out "theme."

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