Mar 16, 2024 - Business

Millennials and Gen Zers are in their dinner party era

Photo: By Emily Bennett, courtesy of Beth Nash

A tablescape by North Carolina-based dinner party wares rental company Canary. Photo: Emily Bennett, courtesy of Beth Nash

Younger generations are setting the table for a different kind of dinner party tradition and new businesses are RSVPing to help.

Why it matters: Entertaining at home is one way for people to get the connection they crave, on a budget.

The big picture: A host of dinner party startups like Hauste and Canary are catering to younger adults, at a time when dining out is still expensive and many have soured on drinking.

  • The businesses aim to make food-focused fetês easier to pull off, offering menu ideas, plate rentals, Spotify playlists and other services.

What they're saying: "You're not going to be Martha Stewart the first time you host," Hauste co-founder Lea Raymond says. (And that's OK.)

Zoom in: Raymond and her sister, Hanna Flores, launched their curated dinner party guides in 2021 to make hosting more accessible for Gen Z and millennials.

  • Forget perfection and focus on how you want to make your guests feel, the sisters say. If cooking an elaborate meal isn't realistic, there's always takeout!

Zoom out: Searches for "dinner parties" on Evite increased 148% from this time last year, per data the online invitation company shared with Axios.

  • Millennials and Gen Zers are especially leaning into their "hosting era," with an emphasis on creative tablescapes and themed experiences — in part to share on TikTok and Instagram, "where visually appealing content around hosting is highly valued and widely shared," Olivia Pollock, senior brand director at Evite, tells Axios.

💭 Thought bubble from Axios' What's Next reporter Jennifer A. Kingson: The dinner party hype may be a cultural nod to the revival of 1970s fun, when pants were flared, the fondue flowed, and life was groovy.

What's next: More couples are opting for intimate dinner parties over large wedding receptions.

  • Pinterest searches for "wedding dinner party" grew 150% year-over-year, according to the platform's 2024 trend report.

Go deeper: How to make the most of your dinner party

Go deeper