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Lauren Burt: Why I love dinner parties

Dining with others is one of the oldest, most enjoyable pastimes. It’s been said that, “one should never eat alone.” Sharing a meal enables people to engage in conversation, create fellowship and practice the art of dining. An evening dinner is a unique moment of the day that should be reserved to pause in a busy schedule, enjoy each other’s company and partake in specially prepared food. A shared meal should be celebrated, especially when it takes place in someone’s home.

As a dinner party guest, you have a unique opportunity to get to know someone differently when you spend time with them in their living space. For the invite list, a dinner party allows the host to connect friends that may not have met otherwise. Great friendships, business deals and love connections have all started by breaking bread.

Socializing budgets also benefit from dinner parties. Everything from progressive neighborhood dinners to Sunday night potlucks can ease financial strains. Dining out frequently can be stressful on the wallet — especially for young professionals. Houses have dining rooms for a purpose, so make use of the space. For married couples, it may be the perfect reason to break out those wedding dishes and all the houseware gifts. Hosting a dinner for the friends and family who gave those items would be a lovely way to say thank you.

One does not need to be a master chef, live in a mansion or prepare a six-course meal to impress guests. The styles of dinner parties run from casual to formal. A host can choose a holiday to celebrate, types of culinary experiences or have no reason whatsoever besides simply bringing people together. For those who decide to host a dinner party, endless hours spent browsing Pinterest will no longer be in vain. And hosting a party is one of the best incentives to clean and beautify the house.

I am always honored when people invite me to a dinner party. The gesture carries an appreciation and thoughtfulness that isn’t found in a restaurant reservation. A dinner party offers an authentic experience. I think the world needs more dinner parties to spend more evenings around the table, sharing stories and lives with those we know best and those we’ve just met.