Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dinner Party Update

It's been a couple of weeks since I decided to host my first-ever dinner party and already, I'm behind schedule.

All I have managed to do so far is set a date -- Saturday, March 6, 2010. I don't have a guest list and I certainly haven't gotten around to planning a menu.

Granted, I have been soliciting advice about the menu from none other than Martha Stewart, Giulia Melucci, and chef Sara Jenkins. Not to mention my friends and family. It seems everyone has an opinion about what I should serve, but I still can't decide.

The truth is that I can always come up with something to serve -- even if I take Martha Stewart's advice and order in. But the one thing I can't do without is guests.

Aside from Giulia Melucci and her new beau, nobody has agreed to come.

Then again, I haven't formally invited anyone. I made the mistake of e-mailing the date to a few folks asking if they might theoretically be available for the night of the 6th.

The response was lukewarm at best. People seemed downright disinterested. I thought friends would be vying for a spot at the table, not fabricating excuses.

"I'm a freelancer, so it's hard to commit," said my friend Ken.

"I've got co-op duty that night," said Dori.

"Who is going to babysit?" asked Kathryn.

Another friend just rescheduled her Belated Chinese New Year's party for the same night, which is sure to siphon off some potential guests.

"I feel dissed," I told Avo last night. "I finally get around to throwing a dinner party and nobody wants to come."

"People are busy with their own lives. Plus, it’s easy to ignore an e-mail invitation," he said. "You've got to go the whole nine yards and send out snail mail invites. Maybe even hire a calligrapher. Then people know you're serious about this."

Not sure about the calligrapher, but he's right about the handwritten invitations. In the age of Evite, nothing gets people's attention as quickly as an invitation sent via the good old U.S. mail.

"With a cocktail party, you just invite a bunch of people and see who shows up," said Avo. "There are no RSVPs. A dinner party is much more problematic."

You're telling me! So I went out and bought fancy letterpress invitations and addressed them myself. Maybe that extra effort will make all the difference.

"You have to invite a last minute mystery guest who changes the whole equation," said Avo. "Don't tell me about it."

What does he think this is? An Agatha Christie dinner party? I think we'll have enough mystery without this added element of intrigue -- especially since at the moment all of the guests are a mystery!


Bernie Bernstein said...

It's Me, Mom - We'd love to be your mystery guests. Too bad we live 900 miles away. Send us an invite to your next party. We'll save the date.

Gary Di Franco said...

Really, Paula, who wouldn't JUMP at the opportunity to witness your finest hour? And Avo - I think the Mystery Guest is a FABULOUS idea! What's a party without some DRAMA???? I would drop everything, reschedule the furnace resurfacing and sell the kids if I had to to RSVP "Yes" to this soiree. I know you'll be a FIERCE hostess and the shin ding will be a smash...

Muffy Sainte-Marie said...

if i could, i would...!!!! good luck!!

Kathy N. said...

Uh oh! I think I warned you that getting people together would be the hardest part. And not b/c people don't want to come...it's just so hard anymore, esp., I find, with kids in the mix!

So what's your plan to get a crew together?

Zephyr Eurova said...

As for dinner invites, I've always (always being like, maybe five times in my life) polled the people first by e-mail and phone, then landed on the date. It's so special to be invited to dinner, that if I don't have anything on my calendar, I immediately commit.

Jen said...

Oh no!!! I'm so sorry, Paula. I didn't know about the conflict until after my note went out and my date was set. I'm sure your soiree will be a great success. Looking forward to the revelation of the mystery guest in your next post.