Nothing beats good food or the company of good friends. So why not have both in the comfort of your own home, and help support a great cause as well?
If you love hosting dinner parties (or any kind of party) or have always wanted to host one, March is the perfect time to do so by hosting a Big Dinner Party for MS Australia. If you're all booked out in March, never fear, you can host one on any day of the year.
Twenty-one thousand Australians are affected by multiple sclerosis. With no known causes or cures, it's important to raise as much money as possible to support this cause.
Check out the Big Dinner Party website for more information and to get started.
But for now, here are a few more ideas and tips to get your cooking juices flowing.
Don't let the thought of a formal dinner party scare you from participating. Try one of these instead.
- International feast – make each course a dish from a different country, including a range of drinks (mojitos, piña coladas, sangria, oh my). Don't be daunted by international cuisine, you eat more of it than you realise. To make things interesting, each guest can represent a different country for the night… wearing national colours, using bad accents, the sky's the limit.
- Cocktail party – if a sit-down dinner isn't your thing, hold a cocktail party instead. No one will be expecting as much food and you can invite more people, meaning more donations. Take turns passing around trays of finger food and drinks, and after awhile guests will be having too much fun to think about eating. Attire? Cocktail, of course, to make it all the more special.
- High tea – more geared towards the ladies, this is a perfect excuse for a girl's night in that's relatively easy to organise. If some of your favourites are too difficult to make, your friends will forgive you for just buying some instead.
- BBQ and beer – who said dinner parties have to be all fancy? Put a shrimp (or steaks) on the barbie and crack open a beer, put your legs up and enjoy. This is supposed to be fun, after all.
- Drinks and desserts – if you consider yourself more of a baker than a chef, then this one is for you. Set your party for just after dinner time, and casually serve a range of drinks and sweet treats – but be sure to provide enough, from cakes to tarts to pies to parfait... anything your hands and oven can handle. Everyone's inner child will be thanking you.
- Mexican buffet fiesta – treat your guests to tasty nibblies and drinks (margaritas, anyone?) on arrival. For the main course, simply set up a buffet table with a wide range of ingredients along with taco shells and burritos and let the guests serve themselves. You can go nuts decorating the place in the exciting Mexican colours, and who doesn't love wearing a sombrero all night?
If you've done your job right, your guests will be lining up to donate on the night if they haven't already. But why not raise a few more bucks while you're at it? All extra money raised should be donated to the MS Society.
- Raffles – sell raffle tickets at the door and announce the winner/s after your meal. Match your prizes to your theme for a more memorable win.
- Auctions/garage sale – this can also double up as a spring clean for your home. Gather unwanted items and auction them out or sell to your guests. Items can range from DVDs to clothes to kitchenware… but make sure they're good quality, you don't want to lose friends for a few extra bucks.
- Wishing well – organise a 'wishing well'. It can be a simple decorated box or chest, or you can go all out if you wish. Guests can throw in a coin (preferably gold) and make a wish (or prayer, for those more religiously inclined) for those affected by MS.
- Photographic memories – if you're having a themed/dress up party and have a knack for photography, set up a 'photo booth' for a portion of the night before or after dinner, where you take professional (or silly) portraits of your guests in their ensembles. Charge a small fee to print out the photos for your guests to take home. But remember, the higher the quality camera and paper, the better.
- Games – set up a selection of games for after dinner and charge a coin to play. It can be anything from cards, darts, or pool for those fortunate enough to own a table in their home.
These should just be used as an additional method of fundraising. The majority of fundraising should be done through donations.