How To Plan A Killer Group Dinner

By Grace Hopkins
8th Mar 2015

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Celebrating a birthday, new job or surviving Feb Fast should be all about, well… Celebrating. However, planning a large group dinner with friends can fast become more stressful than fun. 

We chat to Grace Hopkins, Chief Event Operative at Agent Grace Events, who shares with us seven very useful tips to organising an amazing celebration dinner with friends.

Get cracking

With the hectic social diaries of most Sydneysiders, it is ideal to send a save the date eight weeks prior, then lock in a venue soon after. I once organised a 30th birthday (scheduled for the Australia Day weekend) the week prior which was nearly mission impossible. Make sure your booking is confirmed in writing and re-confirm details a few days prior.

Location, location, location

When considering venues, start with location. Where would be central for most guests? Is there good public transport and parking nearby? Where are the nightlife clusters? Choose an area with a mix of restaurants and bars, for easy access to a post dinner tipple. Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Potts Point are all brilliant options offering some of Sydney’s best bars and restaurants. Taking a taxi to your after party bar is a sure way to lose guests and kill the good vibes.

Gather intel

Search Google Maps for restaurants and bars in your selected area and, of course, use The Urban List to find the best new Sydney restaurants to check out. Read reviews and look online for group menus. If you can’t find any reference to functions on their website (or they don’t even have a website) then they may not equipped to accommodate group bookings, but it’s worth giving them a call to check first.

Looking for Sydney’s best restaurants to host your dinner? Look no further!


What day of the week are you holding your event? Beachside destinations are great for long Sunday sessions, inner suburbs for weekend nights, with the CBD is best for weekday events.


I recommend a communal table, rather than hiring a soulless function room. Having other diners around and watching the kitchen adds to the buzz. Besides, who doesn’t like a bit of people watching?

Food, glorious food 

Banquet menus work best for fussy eaters or your vegan, paleo, gluten free friends and can usually be customised. Consider the budgets of your guests – how much would they fork out for a dinner? You can often reduce the cost by removing dessert (which many people don’t eat on a night out) so negotiate with the venue.

Pre-dinner mixer

Meeting for a pre-dinner drink allows guests to freely mingle before they get stuck next to a few people they may not know so well at the dinner table! It’s also a great opportunity for guests to talk to others outside their usual friendship circles.

Remember, it’s the little moments that create the biggest memories, and the best memories come from kick ass planning. Get this part right and you’ll have your self one helluva evening!

If planning isn’t your forte, or just want it handled by a pro, get in touch with Agent Grace, then kick back with a martini. Mission accomplished.

Image credit: Candelori's

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