Sometimes anyway. I was just thinking about how, for example, my sister has rarely if ever gone on a formal date. That her relationships have come from meeting someone in her friendship circle, or within the context of some activity she's involved with, or through some other informal means.
This has happened to me as well. But I have also been on numerous dates with either strangers, or near strangers, where there was something formal set up. And where we deliberately got together to "see" if we had any connection and attraction between each other. Which often the answer has been "No." or "Not really."
I don't think one way is better than another really. However, if pressed, I would say I prefer just meeting someone, and having things develop as they will. Just seems more natural that way, and less likely to be forced.
Of course, that preference doesn't stop me from continuing to do the more "formal" thing.
It's just something I got to thinking about again, having spent the day with my family yesterday.