The Dinner Party
By Megan Jones

Start a company, make a baby

Most singles today are familiar with online dating fatigue – that all-too-common feeling of being overwhelmed with choice, but devoid of real connection. Luckily, Vancouver's Andrea Hill is working to combat this ­– plus find loving partners for her clients – with The Dinner Party, her company connecting groups of singles over a delicious meal in a fabulous local restaurant.

Founded on Valentine’s Day in 2015, The Dinner Party has already resulted in one marriage and one baby. “My company made a baby! I was so thrilled, that’s more than I could ever ask for,” says Andrea, who founded The Dinner Party, in part, in response to complaints from friends about their dating lives. “I knew I could help,” she says.

She certainly could. A former fashion publicist, and now dating mentor and love coach, Andrea has always been fascinated by relationships. While working in New York City for prestigious outlets including a PR firm that represented New York Fashion Week, she wrote a popular blog about dating and relationship dynamics. She counselled friends, led professional workshops in communication and researched and studied romance in her spare time. “The Dinner Party felt like a natural step in my career,” she says.

My company made a baby! I was so thrilled, that’s more than I could ever ask for. - Andrea Hill, founder and owner
Andrea Hill founded The Dinner Party in 2015.
Andrea Hill founded The Dinner Party in 2015. Photo courtesy of The Dinner Party

Strength in numbers

Andrea is not against online dating. In fact, some of her clients use it with her guidance and support. However, she is an advocate for group dates that emphasize connection over quantity or frequency. “In a dating industry that’s quickly speeding up, I want to slow things down, and focus on human connection again,” she explains.

The Dinner Party does not merely connect singles – it connects the right singles. Through a rigorous process – including in-person meetings with each client – Andrea curates dinners for up to eight people, matching guests that may share the same values, expectations for a relationship, lifestyles – a brilliant alchemy that can lead to fruitful connections. Andrea's unique process of matching singles means that timing may vary. "I will wait weeks for the right people to come together before I schedule a dinner. I won't compromise on that," she explains.

Throughout the meal, guests are encouraged to interact (with Andrea’s subtle steering) but must wait until post-dinner to express their interest. Andrea follows up with each guest personally in the days following the dinner, and any mutual matches are then communicated to both parties. Andrea believes this rule reduces anxiety and competition. “A beautiful thing happens on this type of group date,” Andrea explains. “Once you sit down, there’s so much happening at the table, you can’t keep up a façade. All you can be is authentically yourself,” she continues.

Outside one of The Dinner Party venues, Beach Bay Cafe.
Outside one of The Dinner Party venues, Beach Bay Cafe. Photo courtesy of The Dinner Party

Love yourself to love someone else

After each dinner, Andrea calls her guests, and encourages them to reach out to someone they were interested in. If no one struck their fancy, she uses this information to plan the next outing.  “Throughout this process, guests have access to my support, should they desire it,” she says.

Andrea's support services range from one-on-one meetings with clients to workshops, web tutorialsblog posts, a bi-monthly e-newsletter and much, much more. Her sound advice encourages singles to be curious, open-minded and, if they’re ready, to go deeper, safely examining past relationships, heartbreak and what they want from a future mate.

“People connect more authentically when they accept themselves for who they are and are comfortable with others seeing their true selves,” says Andrea. In today’s world, where singles may spend more time perfecting an online dating profile than actually dating, authentic connection often seems impossible. But with formidable expertise, a positive outlook and a profound love for love itself, Andrea and The Dinner Party are set out to make the impossible, well, possible again.

[Header image courtesy of Ellie Ericson Photography]

The Dinner Party
Intimate connections – and conversations – are the fruits of Andrea's labour. Photo courtesy of Ellie Ericson Photography
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