Do you know when you envision how an event will go, and it then exceeds your original expectations by about a million?
That was my (Cathy’s) feeling when we wrapped up our first ever Perth Progressive Dinner Party last Saturday, Nov. 7. You can plan something only so much, and then it’s left up to fate. Or, in this case, it was left up to the participants, food and atmosphere; all three of which were amazing.
Here’s how the night unfolded:
We welcomed 60 people to the Perth Museum for cocktails and conversation before starting out for the night:
Right away, we knew it was going to be a fun night. The crowd was buzzing and the energy was…well, buzzing, too!
At 6 p.m., we broke the crew up into three groups of 20. I took my group to the Stone Cellar Restaurant, while our second host, Toby (and my husband), took the second group to East Meets West. Deputy Mayor John Gemmell then led the third group to Maximilian’s. Off we went onto the streets of Perth, filled with anticipation about what would await us at each restaurant.
When the guests arrived at their first restaurant, they were shown their menu for the first time. They got to order their appetizers while looking over the main course and dessert options that they’d have at the second and third restaurants. The hosts then gathered the participants’ main course orders and called them in to the restaurant where they’d have their main course. That was our effort to make the night flow smoothly as the groups transitioned to the next restaurant.
At about 7:20 p.m., we made our way to our second restaurant for the main course. While the guests waited for their meals, the restaurants drew gift certificates for one lucky winner. This happened each time we stopped at a restaurant.
And this is when we give a long, slow clap to the participating restaurants. East Meets West, The Stone Cellar and Maximilian’s all made huge efforts to ensure our guests were happy, and they welcomed our crazy (fun) groups with open arms. The wait staff and kitchen staff executed the plans so well, as they were organized and prepared for us. The owners all made an effort to say hello and expressed their appreciation for the guests who were there that evening.
Finally, we wrapped up our night by heading to the third and final restaurant for dessert. My group was assigned to East Meets West for dessert – hello, Raspberry Tartufo! (My other dinner choices included crab cakes and a chicken schnitzel with buttered potatoes).
The single most important part of the evening were the guests. They. were. outstanding. Most came in groups of four, six or eight, but the best part of the whole evening was that the group all mixed together and took different seats at each location. They took the time to get to know one another, even if they were strangers who had just met that night. There were a lot of laughs, jokes and good memories shared that night.
Over the past few days, we’ve had a few of the Progressive Dinner Party participants reach out to us. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:
Well done! Last evening was SUCH a great idea and SO well executed! I thank you for all your hard work and look forward to raising money in this manner more often. Myself and many others saw this as an event that we would attend monthly during the colder season especially. Thanks so much!
Wonderful evening last night. Very well organized and enjoyable. Looking forward to more of them in the future.
It was so well planned and all of the restaurants did a great job. The fact that they were so close together for a comfortable walk, and the starting point at the museum, were such good choices. We also liked the plan of the whole group of 20 sitting together to mingle and chat with new people at each location.
We know we sound like a broken record, but these things don’t happen without the support and services of some amazing businesses in town. Our thanks go out to the three restaurants: East Meets West, Maximilian’s and The Stone Cellar. We also want to extend our thanks to the Perth Museum and its staff. Ann from Tickets Please was also a pleasure to work with, especially since she sold all the tickets in just six days! Jaana Brett of the Paaper Shop designed our menus, Images Inter Alia printed them, and we ordered our glassware from Rental Village.
We’re thinking about putting together another Progressive Dinner Party this winter. We’ll be sure to announce it once we have ironed out the details.