Intermission: is a dinner project designed for connection, relaxation, and nourishing one’s mind and body. The dinner evening is constructed to recharge each woman’s motivation for anything she has going on in her life by catalyzing a specific type of self-care: connecting in a real way with other women.
Please join us for an evening of Intermission:, a women’s dinner for connection on the weekend of ________.
It’s more than a dinner party.
It is about questions that have no words, and ending the day feeling better without being able to articulate why.
It is about kindness and engagement in a place where the art of conversation and finding our common ground seems nearly lost.
It is about women reclaiming the days and times when women brought up other women, buoyed other women, allowed themselves just to be.
What this all means: You'll meet women you've never met before and connect more deeply with those you already know. You’ll talk about yourself and listen to other women talk about themselves.
You'll have a nice time. You'll share a drink and some delicious food.
All you need to bring is a bottle of your choice, and your desire to be in the room. Please let us know if you’ll be coming.
Timeline for the dinner night::
Time = 2.5 hours. Committal time for a guest who is on a tighter schedule: 1.75 hours
Schedule (obviously adjust the hour of the day as you see fit)
8:00 - 8:15 arrival and hand pictures
8:15 - 8:30 welcome announcement // overview of the night
8:30 - 9:00 course 1 with place card color 1
9:00 - 9:30 course 2 with place card color 2
9:30 - 10:00 course 3 with place card color 3
10:00 Thank you announcement and invitation to mingle for dessert/course 4
Schedule repeated with notes::
8:00 - 8:15 arrival and hand pictures -
At the entry of the dinner, set up a small table with a white piece of paper, a camera, and a sign that says ‘Welcome to Intermission: please take a picture of your hand with X camera.’ I used my cell phone, which I left at the table. The hand pictures will be what you send in for record project and are also an easy, noninvasive portrait. B
Be firm on the sit down time. It is pretty much guaranteed that by this time some women have already felt nervous or anxious. The structure of the dinner is built to eliminate this so get to the fun part!
8:15 - 8:30 welcome announcement // overview of the night -
You as host(s) are not at all trying to moderate the evening, but at this moment you get to provide a short ‘Welcome and Thank You For Coming’ along with one line about connection or women or wanting to make time to meet know one another. Then tell the guests how the evening will go: ‘This dinner is a combination of a progressive dinner and musical chairs. Your names are placed at your seat, where you will enjoy the first course for 30 minutes. On the table you will see there are a number of Crystal Bowls [hold up crystal bowl] with slips of paper inside. The papers each have questions on them for you to answer about yourself and to listen to others answer themselves...and also, most importantly, to jump to the chase of knowing one another. Let’s just say none of the papers have ‘What do you do for work?’ or ‘Where are you from?’ written on them! Feel free to draw from the Crystal Bowls as much or as little as you would like. At the close of the 30 minutes, I will [ding this bell/use this rainstick….]. At that time, please flip your place card to the next card underneath it, take your plate with you and find your next seat. We will do this three times.” Close this with asking guests to take a moment to fill their drinks, take a picture of their hands if they have not already, and find their seats!
8:30 - 9:00 course 1 -
Try to avoid becoming a moderator and doing any verbal announcing. Use your bell or whatever it is you are using and everyone will be just fine!
9:00 - 9:30 course 2 - Straightforward
9:30 - 10:00 course 3 - Straightforward
10:00 Thank you announcement and invitation to mingle for dessert/course 4 -
Use this time as a brief Thank you and a reminder to take a hand picture if one hasn’t already. At this time you can say something in the tune of ‘This is the [insert Intermission: # here] time the Intermission: dinner has been held. I’m so happy you made it and I’ll follow up with you this week! I’d love you to do three more things: 1. As a token of appreciation for your coming and a visual reminder for you about your evening, I’d love for you to take an Intermission: card. 2. Take a picture of your hand if you haven’t already done so. And 3. Please stay and enjoy dessert, mingle, and keep talking!’
What you need / Order of Operations / Follow Up::
Ideally, decide a co-host for your dinner and the number of people you can have over. The ideal number is 15 - 30. I recommend splitting the number of invitations between you and your co-host and then allowing for each invitee to invite one woman along. For example, if you want to have a group of 20 - 40, You and your host should invite 5 - 10.
Send an invitation for Intermission: here is a link to the standard invitation
Drag the image into an email body and underneath the image write co-hosted by name: email & name:email.
Send as a bcc: email. Do not send as a group email or facebook event. With the bcc: email, the intimacy can be felt and the anxiety of not knowing everyone isn’t as tangible. The other methods cause a feeling of ‘it’s not important if I go or not..there’s a lot of people who are invited’ along with seeing a lot of names that they do not know. On facebook events, answers/information that some women need will not be helpful to others.
Make a copy of the Intermission: contact spreadsheet template and personalize. This is important for the master contact list of all Intermission: dinners so that in the future we can have a dream Intermission: dinner, make all card images available, etc etc etc . Make sure to share the file with me for the master list.
Follow up with your invitation a few days before your event asking for a firm rsvp. Emphasize the start time and sit down. You may use the .gif Intermission banner here which you can drag into an email. You may also use the image for the note to remember which is available here. Here is an example::
Have cards printed before your evening as a small memento to your guests. If you made a new card image, please send along to email@example.com
Create place cards and make three per woman planning to attend. Choose three different colors for each set of place cards.
Print or write out questions for your Crystal Bowls.
Figure out seating/layout of your night with three sets of seating arrangements. It is best to have a minimum of three different tables for your evening or have long skinny tables. FYI for floor seating, milk crates with plywood on top make a perfect height floor table.
Have an entry point into your event for women to be able to take a picture of their hands. Make a simple sign. Provide a phone or a camera.
Have an area for drinks / wine available for them to serve themselves upon arrival. Make sure you have your timer and/or rainstick/triangle/pleasant soundmaker ready in the dinner area.
Have ‘Crystal Bowls’ ready…..along with obvious prep items: music! Candles! plates/napkins/etc!
Prepare sets of food ready to eliminate women having to completely self-serve/join a buffet line between rounds. This brings us to MENU::
Example menus are on the website, but I would like to take this moment to emphasize that ease and simplicity is an overarching goal of this project...and that this extends to you creating a dinner menu. At our dinners we have been stuffed and very few foods took much, if any, prep work….
Have a great time…..
Follow up :
Send your guests a Thank You For Coming Email and link them to the website here::
Email pictures of your night , hand pictures , and your menu to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have links for any must-have recipes, include those! It is incredible how many women ask for the recipes that were used within the evening….might as well put them on the website.
Send any feedback!
Postcard for guests::
Back of Card [Text at Bottom of Card changed to specific dinner] :::
Guidance on what to tell women::
The invitation used above has been enough information for some women while others have had questions. Following the project’s goal of keeping women at ease, there is no need to not answer questions/keep women who want more information in the dark. That being said, I have also found that sharing every detail/overarching goal can also cause anxiety.
This is the most informative text I have sent (and this woman came to dinner and had a great time) :: I host 20-30 women for a sit down dinner, we have a bit of construct for conversation and we have a wine and hang out. No one knows everyone, most people don't know more than 3 others. This is not a meet n greet and we're not doing icebreakers or anything. It's designed for that easy space in between where you come and have an easy, great time (no awkward silences!) and leave thinking 'Yeah that was nice and I met some people I wouldn't normally meet'. Sometimes that equates into hanging more in the future, sometimes it doesn't, but that isn't even the point anyway. There's a range of women from 18/19 into their 60s.
Questions for the crystal ball::
History of the project with dates and locations::
Intermission: 1 ~ March 15 2013 - St. Ann’s Ave in Juneau, Alaska
Intermission: 2 ~ March 11 2017 - Dreamers Welcome in Brooklyn, New York
Intermission: 3 ~ March 19 2017 - High Shoals in Dahlonega, Georgia