As the season draws to a close, you’re likely looking forward to that last hurrah with your neighbors. Something fun to commemorate another great summer spent with family and friends, enjoying all that Michigan has to offer. But rather than coordinate a traditional potluck, consider mixing things up with a progressive dinner!

At a progressive dinner party, each attendee takes a turn hosting a course, and partygoers travel from campsite to campsite as the dinner progresses. You can coordinate as many, or as few, stops in this traveling food tour as you want – whatever works best for your group.

Each person should set up and prepare for guests before the dinner begins. Have your picnic table wiped down, plates and silverware washed and easily accessible, and an outdoor trashcan prepared for a quick cleanup before you depart for the next stop. If seating is going to be an issue, have each attendee bring a foldable lawn chair or blanket. If anyone has a golf cart, especially one where the back seats fold flat, use that to carry the chairs around the park.

Don’t forget to decorate! Since you’re site is just one stop of many, you don’t need to go over the top. Simple, small touches can really elevate a gathering. Have a vase of fresh cut flowers on the picnic table and a few votive candles. Hang delicate string lights from your awning. Play upbeat music lightly in the background. Get a head start on your guests, and depart for your campsite a few minutes before the rest of the group to get everything squared away. Your friends will really appreciate your added effort.

Some groups prefer to have a theme to add a little more cohesiveness to the meal, but that’s up to you to decide. Try going around the world (highlighting a cuisine from different countries) or pick a crowd-pleaser, like Mexican fare. Your courses should flow in a normal order – appetizers to main course to dessert. If this is an adult’s only tour, feel free to throw in a few drink courses, too! It is a party after all. You should also consider making dishes that can be made in a crockpot or quickly warmed up on the grill if you’re one of the later stops. You’ll want to relax and enjoy yourself, not fret over your meal cooking back at home.

  • For those cool, autumn evenings, prepare a pumpkin cheesecake. It’s delicious and seasonally appropriate!
  • Have all of your ingredients chopped and prepped before your guests arrive, and allow them to customize their own kabob.
  • Crockpot honey garlic wings are a great option for an appetizer!

You can find more recipe inspiration on our Pinterest page!

The key to any good party is preparation, and this is especially important with a progressive dinner party. Give your group a few days to work out the details rather than deciding the day of. Make sure everyone is aware of their stop on the tour so they can time their meals accordingly.

If you’ve ever participated in a progressive dinner party, please share your tips in the comment section below!