Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

June 6, 2019

FAMILY DINNER: My Dinner Club + How to Start One!

     I'm so excited to be sharing today's blog post, since it's about one of my very favorite things! In December, myself and three of my friends decided on a whim to start a weekly dinner club, which my friend Eden named Family Dinner. Since then, our little has expanded to six of us, and we meet faithfully most Wednesdays (and the occasional Thursday) to share dinner and fellowship together.
     For my Tuesday blog post series this month, I wanted to talk about different favorite things of mine! Unfortunately I wasn't able to get today's blog post up for Tuesday, since I had quite a busy weekend. So forgive me for getting this up a couple days late- I promise next week's post in this series will be up Tuesday as planned! 😉

     How it started:
     It's no secret that I love to cook and bake, and I also enjoy hosting people at my place for meals! While I still cook a full dinner from scratch now 1-2x weekly, back when I had more normal work hours I was cooking more like 3-4x weekly. As fun as it is to make myself food, I believe that home cooked meals are best shared in the company of those you love.
     One of my favorite parts of college was all of the shared breakfasts, lunches and dinners with friends in the campus dining hall. I lived on campus all four years, and while I didn't love the cafeteria food (loathed is more like it), some of my favorite college memories were of the conversations shared with friends new and old in the dining hall during meals. As a single adult who has lived alone for the last couple years- I really missed that having that type of companionship with peers over dinner especially.
     Anyways, as I said above I love to cook, so I back in the fall/winter of last year I'd frequently text my girlfriends to come over when I was trying out new recipes. One night in December, I was making a new pasta recipe and invited my friend Eden to come over and try it. Our other friends Kelly and Abigail wanted to hang out too, so they came over as well. As we all shared the meal together, I suddenly looked at the three of them and said "We should do this weekly!" And so Family Dinner was born! Eden came up with the name. Our foursome grew to six people after the holidays, with the addition of our friend Lily, and our friend Emily who had just moved to Charlottesville!

   What we do:
     Every Wednesday at 6pm, the six of us commit to meeting for dinner. We have a six week rotating schedule, and take turns hosting everyone at our respective apartments/homes. The host of the week is responsible for making the main dish! Everyone else is in charge of bringing everything else: wine, dessert, vegetable, and a side dish. Sometimes we adjust the schedule and switch out one person's week for another to accommodate things like work commitments, travel plans, etc, but as a generality we stick to the rotation. We don't have 100% attendance of all six of us each week as life does happen, but we all prioritize Family Dinner and really try to attend each week.
     The person who is hosting for the week is also allowed to bring a guest to the table, especially if not all six of us girls can come! We've had roommates, boyfriends, and college friends join in for various dinners. One other fun thing that we've done a couple times (including this week's) is take Family Dinner on-the-go and have it at one of our older friends' houses- two wonderful girls from our larger church friend group are married and have each had babies in recent months, so it is fun for us to get to see those friends of ours and bless them by bringing a meal to their house!
     We also always take a picture together before eating! Most of the time it's a blurry selfie of everyone, but sometimes we get a decent picture of everyone (like the one I used above!). I usually have no makeup on and gym clothes since I often go to a 4:30 workout class right before- but hey you don't need to be dressed to the nines in the company of close friends! 😉Here are a couple more photo memories from Family Dinners past:

    How to start your own: 
       I can't recommend starting your own Family Dinner type dinner club with your friends enough! Wednesdays have seriously become the highlight of my week. It's such a nice break in the routine of weekdays: work, household responsibilities, running the blog, working out, and other things (like going to bed super early!) can start to seem a little monotonous sometimes. Family Dinner gives me something to look forward to, and reminds me I've made it halfway through the week since we meet on Wednesdays!
     I encourage you to talk to some of your close friends about starting a dinner club! You don't have to meet every week like we do- even once a month could still be something great! Also decide if you want to keep it to just ladies or guys, or make it a co-ed or couples thing. While I normally live by the phrase "the more the merrier," once you figure out who all you want to dine with, ask everyone what the space capacity for hosting is like in all of their homes. One person might have a massive dining room that could fit 10+ people, but for another person in a studio apartment, four people could be a stretch. For my friend group, six of us (sometimes seven with a guest) has always worked great, but if we made it any larger it might be a stretch to fit everyone.
     If you do decide to do one, I suggest making a schedule (my friends and I use Google Cal) and also sending out reminder texts a few days before so that everyone knows what they're bringing! Other then that, have fun with it!! This type of get-together isn't hard to host.

     Are you a member of a dinner club like mine, or have you ever done this before? I'd love to hear about it! Stay tuned next Tuesday as I continue to share another one of my favorite things on the blog. 😊

     And P.S. - may or may not be sharing a little life update in yesterday's Midweek Ramblings post, did you catch it?

     God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese


  1. I love that you do this- time with friends is so important, especially the busier that life gets and the more everyone settles down!

    I watch Bachelor/Bachelorette every week with my girls and it too is one of my favorite nights of the week! :)

  2. I can't tell you how much I love this idea!! What a great way to stay connected and enjoy each other's cooking. I'm sure your friendships are tighter than ever because of this!

  3. GIRL, YOU ARE THE COOLEST! I need to start a dinner club, stat when I get my first home! I love the idea of staying connected and sharing a delicious meal!

  4. Oh my gosh, love this idea! My friends and I all are going to be off campus this school year so I'm so excited to have my friends over for brunch!


  5. I have a monthly supper club where we all meet at a friend's house. Our themes are picked out for the whole year and we all email what everyone is bringing.

  6. What a nice idea! We do this often but never on a weekly basis! Maybe I will try something weekly!

  7. Yay!! This is such a great idea! I used to run a 'Foodies' club that et once a month. We would rotate who hosted and the host would choose a theme in advance of the meet up ex. tapas, food in cups, pumpkin recipes, etc. WE HAD A BLAST!!!

  8. We do this with a group of friends and ours is supper club! We’ve done it for years and it’s so much fun!

  9. A dinner club sounds so fun! My friends and I have been getting together for girl's nights a lot recently, I might have to start something like this!

  10. This is such a great idea! Creating a dinner club with friends is brilliant. Thanks for the inspiration. Cheers!

  11. I love this idea! This sounds like such a great way to stay close with your friends and support one another.

  12. I follow a food blogger who also has a dinner club. It sounds like so much fun!

  13. This is awesome and the perfect excuse to meet up with my friends on a regular basis. Thanks for all the great tips!

  14. I love this idea! You guys seem like the sweetest group!

  15. Oh my goodness, this sounds amazing! I want to start a family dinner club. I go to a monthly ladies game night,i'll have to see if some of the ladies are interested in making a dinner party. I really love to entertain although I don't too often.


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