We have some friends who do this all the time. Sometimes we can make it, sometimes we can't. Sometimes we go and we're the only ones, other times it's a full on party.
Regardless of how many people show up, our friends are relaxed and happy - and so are we! They dim the lights and put on some music to fit the evening. Drinks start getting mixed as soon as we walk in the door, and after a while, a simple family-style meal appears on the table for everyone to share.
Following our friends' example, we've started throwing similar parties whenever we realize that we're making more than enough for dinner and we'd welcome a little company. The spontaneity and low-key feeling of these dinners creates a very different atmosphere than a dinner party that's been planned ahead. And one that we enjoy just as much!
What kind of dinner party do you normally throw - planned, spontaneous, or some of both?