Forget the wine, chocolates and flowers -- but not your wallet: At a cash dinner party you pay with money, not gifts. Cash dinner parties are becoming trendy. It could be that you want to raise money for charity or that you need help to cover the costs of the meal; either way, it can be a bit of a dilemma when it comes time to invite people. But don't fret. Instead, join European celebrities -- such as "Strictly Come Dancing" Tom Chambers, restaurateur Antonio Carluccio and chef Adam Simmonds -- who advocate dining for dollars when it comes to raising funds and sharing fun.
Plan the menu and go for something exotic or something people would not make for themselves, such as live lobster. One of the first things people will ask when you invite them to the cash dinner party is "What's for dinner?" You want to be able to tell them.
Calculate the costs before you invite people. It could be that you want to invite people to help cover the costs of a dinner for $10 each or it could be a black-tie affair at $500 a person. Either way, the people you invite need to know how much it is going to cost.
Make a list of people to invite. Rather than just inviting everyone on the block, figure out those who are most likely to attend; invite them first. If there are dinner spots left over, you can work your way down the list of people to invite.
Assess the best way to invite people. If it is a casual dinner in the yard, it could be done in person or by email. For a more formal -- and expensive -- cash dinner party, send printed invitations.
List the event, time, place, menu and price on the cash dinner invitation. Also have an RSVP deadline so you know how many people to expect.
Offer an explanation as to why it is a cash dinner. If the event is to raise money for charity, include that information on the invitation. If it is a casual invitation for friends, say, "We'll provide the venue and the music, but would appreciate $20 to help with the food and wine."
Follow up with a phone call if you don't hear from people. They may have forgotten to RSVP; a call is an easy way to remind them about the cash dinner without putting any pressure on them to attend.
Let the people you invite to the cash dinner know how they are to pay. If it is a gala charity dinner, people need to buy tickets in advance. For a casual get-together, they can give you the money when they arrive for the event.
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