Four Set-And-Forget Summer Dinner Parties To Celebrate Mom’s Birthday


It’s nice to be able to do something special for your wife’s birthday and sometimes the best birthday gifts for mom are the ones that let her forgo her day-to-day household duties and take a break. Dinner parties can be a great way to take the pressure off of your wife on her birthday, and summer is a great time to throw them. There are many different ways to throw a dinner party, even for those of us with less than adequate cooking skills. Here are just a few suggestions that you can try out if you’re nervous in the kitchen.

The Do-It-Yourself Buffet-Style Dinner

Mexican food can be prepared in ways that let people create their own dinner platters. Set up a buffet line from which the guests make their own tacos, burritos and tostadas. Provide a couple types of meat such as ground beef and shredded chicken. Refried beans, whole pintos, and rice are traditional side dishes. Have plenty of tortillas available (both flour and corn) sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, chopped onions, and some sliced jalapeno peppers and various hot sauces.

Don’t forget to have big pitchers of sangria handy or a good Mexican beer, whichever mom prefers. And remember: this concept works perfectly for Mexican food, but you can make almost any menu easier to implement by asking the birthday guests to serve themselves. If you’re worried about what to cook, here are some creative, fancy (and completely do-able) dinner party menus that are easily delivered buffet-style.

A Surprise Picnic in the Park

Tell your wife that you are going to make a picnic basket and take her to her favorite park for a little outing. Arrange for several friends to meet you there. After you set out your picnic gear, your friends can begin to arrive with their own picnic items. This is a nice surprise and because everyone brings their favorite picnic food to share, you don’t have to stress about cooking for a large party. If the park (or beach) has facilities to grill, you can have guest bring their own food to cook on the spot.

If you act like you’re having a simple outing alone (or with the children), your wife will be completely taken by surprise. Guests can even hide gifts for her in their picnic baskets and give out presents later in the evening so that she’s receiving birthday surprises all night.

Winning with Wine

It’s easy and fun to set up a small wine tasting party to accompany dinner. It takes the focus off of the food and puts it onto drinks, making menu preparation less stressful. To plan, select several wines from two or three local wineries. Pick a variety so that everyone gets to taste sweet, dry, fruity, or woody varieties.

At specialty stores, you can often ask a sommelier or other wine expert for advice about local wines. They usually will recommend a number of foods to have on hand as well. Fruit, cheese, and bread are all good options. Your local wine shop can also teach you how to instruct your guests at the tasting. It’s possible that the shop may actually staff someone who can come to your home and run the tasting with you.

Plan a light dinner after the tasting that compliments the wine theme. Wines have a certain character when consumed alone, but it’s fun to experience them with a meal. Be sure, of course, to choose at least one bottle that can be paired with the birthday cake.

If a wine tasting is not an option, then you might consider doing a coffee or tea tasting. Or, depending on your wife’s preferences, beer or cocktails. Any of these can be done in a very similar way, with instruction from local experts.

Getting Away

Sometimes the best choice for mom’s birthday is to just get away. Find a bed and breakfast or inn close by and have an intimate birthday celebration with your wife. It’s likely that you’ll find a nice place within a couple hours of you. Tell the innkeeper the purpose of your visit and they will want to help you create a wonderful time for your wife. They can often offer help with preparing a nice meal or decorating the rooms. There could even be options for gourmet meal delivery. The owners will have many ideas for you to consider. They will be your most valuable resource!

Celebrating your mom’s birthday in a special way will create good memories that will stay with you both. Be sure to be clear that a dinner party is her opportunity to put her feet up and enjoy being showered with gifts and attention, rather than another cooking responsibility. If you plan correctly, your wife’s birthday will be relaxing for her, and not too stressful for you either.