When is the last time you went to a dinner party? Not a brunch buffet or a chili cook-off around a big game, but a proper dinner party with the good dishes, flowers, and a table full of guests? Dinner parties aren’t as popular as they used to be as friends tend to gather at buzz-worthy new restaurants or order in pizza to eat in front of a movie, tailgate at a game, or sit around the kitchen table with nary a napkin on a lap. While each of those informal events can certainly be a fun way to spend an evening, they’re not quite dinner parties. Back in 2009, a British study said that the formal dinner party was dying out, in favor of more casual get-together's, potlucks, and dinners where everyone just helps themselves.
As asked in 2016, “What happened to the dinner party? What happened to white napkins and tablecloths and bread rolls and prawn cocktails?” One of the experts they spoke with suggested that the lack of dining rooms in many homes has hastened the demise of the formal dinner party. After all, it’s hard to gather everyone at the dinner table when you eat in the kitchen. A 2012 article in The New York Times, asked about dinner parties, “Remember those?” In the same article, etiquette expert Judith Martin, better known as Miss Manners, bemoans the fact that “people don't even respond to dinner invitations anymore,” claiming it was too difficult a commitment” and thinking “nothing of canceling at the last minute — by text message!” Over at The Huffington Post, an author blamed the lost art of the dinner party on our “fast-paced society” where everyone is talking on their cell phone while “simultaneously writing an email on [they're] BlackBerry.” (The article was from 2007, hence the mention of a BlackBerry.)