Weekend Entertaining: Ideas for Themed Dinner Parties

We're throwing a dinner party in a few weeks, but are still stuck on a theme. Tapas? Breakfast for Dinner? Down-Home Southern? Classic French? Ack!

As a guest or a host, what has been your most memorable dinner party theme?

Some of you might be asking why we need a theme at all. The simple answer is that we just like it! It's a way for us to flex our culinary muscles and have fun in the process.

We like to choose a theme that is specific enough to narrow down our recipe choices but still flexible enough to allow for creativity. With a theme like "Tapas," we can follow traditional Spanish recipes, or we could go with a liberal interpretation of "lots of small hot and cold dishes."

A good theme should also be fun for the guests. We love the quirkiness of an elegant "Breakfast for Dinner" party, complete with champagne and strawberries, elegant French omelets, and crepes for dessert.

We like to put our theme to work outside of the kitchen as well. With a southern theme, we might set the table with mason jar glasses and a vase of wild flowers. If we go classic french, we'll dig up some old Edith Piaf CDs for background music.

What ideas do you have for themes and making a memorable evening?

Related: Dinner Party Timing: Five Tips for Cooking a Full Meal

(Image: Flickr member sporkist licensed under Creative Commons)