— Consider a progressive dinner.
Assign each house a name of a country and a course, says Sarah Taylor of Rogers & Gala Creative Partners. For example, French dessert and Chamborde at the Smiths'.
— Have a dessert potluck.
"It can all be sweet and delicious," says Gallant.
— Skip the champagne.
Franciacorta, a sparkling wine from Lombardy, is an affordable alternative, says Saurabh Abrol, president of WineChateau.com., an online retailer. "It's as complex and sophisticated — at half the price," he says.
— BYO Bottle
Guests are in charge of inventing their own specialty drink recipe and bringing the ingredients, says Taylor. "As a thank you, compile all of the recipes in a book and send to all of your guests," she says.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.