8 unique dinner party ideas for a memorable evening

Several hands serve themselves from a build-your-own taco spread on green tile.
Paperless Post BlogGet-Togethers > 8 unique dinner party ideas for a memorable evening

Whether your dinner parties are the talk of the town or you’re planning your first one ever, make this dinner party the most fun, effortless, and memorable one of all. 

Planning a dinner party around a theme is a surefire way to make your night one to remember. Food, décor, favors, dinner party invitations—as long as everything matches your vision, you can’t go wrong! Keep reading for unique dinner party ideas—paired with matching dinner party menu ideas—to make your next bash unforgettable.

1. Breakfast for dinner

A square invitation with a colorful watercolor of a floral dish with a fork and knife; powdered sugar being sifted onto a stack of pancakes with strawberries.
Countryhouse China” by Happy Menocal Studio for Paperless Post.


Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? A breakfast-for-dinner theme is a fun, quirky way to spice up your typical dinner party. 

  • Invitation: Send the classic “Countryhouse China” invitation by Happy Menocal Studio or “Fantaisie” by Ladurée. Let guests know about the breakfast twist in your dinner invitation wording.
  • Refreshments: Serve pancakes or waffles, and invite everyone to bring their favorite toppings and syrups to pass around. Top off your menu with drinks that pair well with your breakfast, such as classic mimosas by Love & Lemons.
  • Décor: Serve breakfast for dinner on pretty plates that match your party palette (and are able to hold a large stack of flapjacks).
  • Activities: Make it a pajama party and invite guests to wear their favorite PJs.

2. Soupapalooza

A variety of earthy-colored soups in small bowls on a wooden table; a square orange invitation with gold foil border of berries, leaves, and flowers.
Gilded Harvest” by Rifle Paper Co. for Paperless Post.


There’s nothing like a cozy atmosphere and a bowl of soup to warm everyone up on a cold day. It’s the perfect fall dinner party idea, especially as the weather gets cooler (and before the holidays begin).

  • Invitation: Celebrate autumn with the “Watercolor Fall Leaves” invitation by Paperless Post or the “Gilded Harvest” invitation by Rifle Paper Co. 
  • Refreshments: Take this theme and make it a potluck. Ask guests to use the Comment Wall on your invitation to share what soup they’re bringing. Pair the soups with sides like salads and bread, and offer a simple dessert, like this dreamy apple pie by The Pioneer Woman
  • Décor: Choose fall party décor that combines bright and muted colors to complement the delicious soups.
  • Activities: Set up a soup bar with all the choices as well as some toppings like green onions, cheddar cheese, or cilantro so everyone can take a little sample of each.

3. DIY pizza party

An invitation for PIZZA NIGHT with a bright red-orange stripe at the top and an illustration of a pizza and wine; rectangular pizza slices with peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Big Pizza Pie” by Paperless Post.


Making pizza is fun, but making pizza with friends is even better. Use this popular birthday dinner party theme any time of year—just make the sauce and dough beforehand.

  • Invitation: Send the aptly named “Big Pizza Pie” invitation by Paperless Post or “Table Doodle” by Pulp Templates Co.
  • Refreshments: Serve up a great bottle of wine and add a delicious dessert like this New York cheesecake by Once Upon a Chef.
  • Décor: To add to the pizza party theme, choose orange party supplies—from tableware to hanging decorations—to decorate your party space.
  • Activities: Have guests bring their own toppings and set them out buffet-style. Then, everyone can make their own pizza to pop in the oven. 

4. Taco madness

If you love Taco Tuesday and never pass up an opportunity for extra guac, Taco Madness is for you. Bring your culinary passion to an epic taco contest, where guests compete to be the Taco Titleholder. 

  • Invitation: Set the theme early with the “Fiesta Banner” invitation by Paperless Post, or make your message loud and clear with “Food Booze and You.”
  • Refreshments: Make watermelon margaritas by Minimalist Baker for everyone to drink with their incredible tacos and dip.
  • Décor: Decorate with brightly colored décor or piñatas to set a festive tone. 
  • Activities: Add to the contest by organizing more awards to be won, such as the “Messiest Eater,” “Biggest Taco,” or “Most Ingredients Used” so everyone can be a winner with this dinner party theme.

5. Charcuterie party

A cheese and charcuterie board; an invitation with a marble board, cheese, salami, wine, and grapes emerging from a gold foil-lined envelope.
Charcuties” by Paperless Post.


Ask your guests to build a charcuterie board with you for the ultimate French picnic-style dinner party. This summer dinner party idea works best when the weather is nice and you can gather outdoors.

  • Invitation: Let guests know what your dinner party is all about with the “Charcuties” or “Apertivo” invitation by Paperless Post.
  • Refreshments: Set out staples like brie, crusty bread with tapenade, and chicken liver pate and baguettes. Provide hot, fresh croissants, preserves, and plenty of butter to keep the French theme going. And make sure the wine and Champagne flow freely.
  • Décor: Pass out platters from Party Shop so guests can create their own charcuterie boards. For large groups, make a board to share.
  • Activities: After everyone’s finished creating their individual boards, take pictures and post them on social media for friends to vote on their favorites.

6. Retro diner party

For the ultimate themed dinner party idea, try a retro diner party. It’s like a time machine—without the tear in the space-time continuum.

  • Invitation: Invite guests to your diner dinner party with the retro “Rasymatto” invitation by Marimekko.
  • Refreshments: Cook up classic 1950s diner fare like hotdogs, hamburgers, milkshakes, and root beer floats, or check out our dinner party recipe ideas for a more rounded menu.
  • Décor: Deck the table out with checkered tableware from Jollity for that quintessential retro diner look.
  • Activities: To bring the ’50s diner theme to life, consider renting a cotton candy machine and playing jukebox tunes in the background for ambiance. 

7. Sushi extravaganza

A die-cut invitation made of overlapping gold striped circles with a white rectangle in the center; hands slice a sushi roll with more sushi nearby.
Fillmore” by Jonathan Adler for Paperless Post.


No one’s turning down sushi—especially when they get to make it themselves. Sushi night is an interactive dinner party theme with delicious results as well as a fun activity built into the theme. 

  • Invitation: The “Fillmore” invitation by Jonathan Adler gives sushi vibes with a touch of elegance. Add a Guest Question to ensure none of your guests have an allergy to ingredients you may be using. 
  • Refreshments: You can make the rice and provide all the basic equipment to roll the sushi, such as bamboo rolling mats and nori seaweed sheets. Ask guests to bring their favorite sushi ingredients for the filling. 
  • Décor: Decorate the table with traditional Japanese décor like bamboo tableware or placemats and tiny bowls for dipping sauce. 
  • Activities: Create a playlist with traditional Japanese music, like Gagaku, or set up a karaoke space. 

8. Family heritage

Learn about your guests’ family history with a potluck celebrating their heritage. Each person can make a dish that showcases one of their treasured family recipes. 

  • Invitation: Add a Guest Survey to the “Small Portions” invitation by Stephanie Fishwick to ensure there’s a good mix of people bringing entrees, sides, and desserts.
  • Refreshments: Set up a bar with samples of different wines and spirits from each country. 
  • Décor: Set out place cards and accents to let everyone know where they’re sitting or to label dishes on a buffet table.
  • Activities: Have guests bring their family recipes on cards to share with everyone.

Embrace your dinner party theme with Paperless Post

An invitation with a yellow taco surrounded by taco filling confetti; an invitation with a blue illustration of an outdoor table set for a dinner party with yellow string lights overhead and a blue envelope.
Taco Placeros” and “Under the Lights” by Paperless Post.


From planning the dinner party to tips for hosting the actual event, Paperless Post is here to make your next dinner party a smashing success—no matter the theme. When the party is over, get started on your next shindig with more beautiful online invitations that’ll get your guests excited to come back.

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