Group of people clinking glasses over a table of food

Last week we talked about some of this year’s top trends for food, but 2020 is also going to be an exciting year for entertaining. With the right inspiration and some creativity, you can treat your guests to a gathering they’ll never forget – here are a few of this year’s top entertaining ideas to help get your planning started.

  Experiential dining. Change up your guests’ experience and add a flair of creativity and interactivity. From classic themed events all the way to dining in the dark, go the extra mile by creating an event that’s more than just a meal. The Roaring ’20s are here again, so you can’t go wrong with an extravagant throwback affair that’s full of smoke, mirrors, and thematic treats. The 1920s, Great Gatsby, Casablanca, and Havana themes are all great ways to channel timeless class with organic roots.

  Family-style service. One of the biggest challenges with entertaining is getting people to put down their phones and engage with each other. A good alternative to individually-plated meals or a simple buffet  is to incorporate family-style dinner service into your event.  Larger sharing platters work really well to encourage more interaction and socializing at the table, fostering a friendly, cozy atmosphere that will keep everybody relaxed and keep the conversation flowing.

  Dry cocktails. Drinking habits are slowly changing, and an increasing number of people don’t want to drink alcohol at all when they’re at an event. Serving dry cocktails with seasonal ingredients can be a refreshing alternative to regular cocktails, and the alcohol-free versions can be just as interesting. As the Spring approaches and the weather gets warmer, consider options like the “fauxjito,” with thin cucumber slices and crushed mint leaves, topped off with lime juice, agave, and club soda.

  Stations. Action stations or “build your own” stations can turn food into an adventure, and they give your guests the opportunity to customize their meal. There really is no limit to the kinds of stations you can have, either – try a poke station, avocado bar, taco / fajita station, middle eastern sampler station, ramen noodle station, or any other kind of station your imagination can dream up.

  Sustainability.  Whether it’s asking your caterer to source locally or from environmentally-friendly sources, or initiating a recycling program at your event, reducing the overall impact will be top of mind for many.  Eliminating single-use plastics and Styrofoam, and incorporating other ways to avoid filling up our landfills and reducing our carbon footprint is vital to this long-term challenge. With the current focus on climate change, and a desire to adhere to the “Think Globally, Act Locally” mantra, every individual choice to prioritize the planet adds up to a significant difference.

These trends are all on the upswing right now, and they can work for any kind of event, large or small. Of course you can mix and match the ideas you like, take aspects from each, and add in touches of your own for a truly personalized gathering.

If part of your entertainment calendar in 2020 will involve planning a wedding, be sure to stay tuned – next week we’ll be back with this year’s top wedding trends.