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How to Host 15 People for $100

Last updated: March 27, 2024

Hosting people for a party at your home or apartment doesn’t have to be expensive.

In this article, I will show you exactly how you can bring 15 people together at your home for less than USD $100.

The primary party supplies that you will need to purchase are as follows:

  • Name tags, $7
  • Alcohol, $50
  • Non-alcoholic drinks, $20
  • Snacks, $20
  • Cups, $5
  • Sharpie markers, $3

Supplies: Alcohol

For hosting a small gathering of people for drinks, you just need some basic alcohol that can be mixed with the mixers or served plain.

Here are the alcohol that I like to buy:

  • Whiskey
  • Vodka
  • Tequila
  • Red and white wine

These are basic forms of hard liquor that can be mixed with seltzer or ice or drink on the rocks.

Some people like these with juice or some other mixers, which you will purchase next.

Supplies: Non-alcoholic

Seltzers seem to be the most popular drink option amongst my friends.

You can buy a 36 pack of seltzer from the grocery store for about $10 to $20.

You should also get some of these:

  • Sparkling water
  • Cranberry or orange juice
  • Diet and regular soda

Supplies: Snacks

Stick to the basics when choosing food. Buy these snacks a week before your party:

  • Chips: salted tortilla or potato chips. Add guacamole for bonus points.
  • Nuts: salted peanuts, cashews, or mixed nuts.
  • Fruits and veggies: grapes, baby carrots, and add hummus to dip.
  • Cheese plate: pre-sliced or cubed. I rarely serve cheese, but several hosts I talked to suggested it. You could also add sliced meat like salami. Charcuterie boards photograph well. Just keep it simple.

Supplies: Name tags

Name tags make it nearly impossible for guests to forget each other’s names. This reduces potential embarrassment. I’m not great with names myself, so I rely on name tags heavily as a host.

They are especially helpful when you mix friend groups. Your guests will talk to new people and not stick to their cliques.

When writing your guests’ name, write first names only. Their first name is faster to write and easier to read. And your priority is legibility at a distance, not penmanship. Write names in block letters with a black marker.

The number 1 on my current recommendations: Avery Name Badge Labels, $8.16 for 100. Great stick, compact packaging, five per page.

Second is, Cualtec “Hello my name is” Name Badge Stickers, $7.99 for 210. It’s a more traditional name tag. They stick very well, and they’re regularly in stock, too.

Supplies: Sharpie markers

Alongside name tags, I recommend purchasing a Sharpie or another thick, black marker to write your guests’ names with.

This will make the names easy to read. Whiteboard markers can work well too. Avoid the mistake of buying name tags and writing names in ballpoint pen or, even worse, pencil. Names written in pen or pencil are hard to read, especially from a distance.

Here are some of the black markers that I personally use:

Supplies: Cups

As a regular host who lived in an apartment without a dishwasher for thirteen years, I have strong opinions on disposable plastic cups.

Here is my most important suggestion: Use clear cups that hold around ten ounces.

  • Avoid cheap, flimsy plastic cups. To reduce waste, you want your guests to use the same cup all night.
  • Leave two Sharpie markers or these wine glass markers near the bar and ask your guests to write their names on their cups. If someone is helping with the bar, tell them to write people’s names on the cups before they pour a drink since it’s nearly impossible to write with marker on a slightly wet plastic cup.

Here are some of the cups I used and bought from Amazon:


Hosting doesn’t have to be expensive.

The biggest mistake I see people do is spend too much money on supplies, especially for food.

What you need to realize is this: it’s not the drinks or the food that matters.

The people are what’s most important.

When you bring together 15 of your friends, neighbors, colleagues, and acquaintances, you will be doing the work of helping your friends meet new people.

Nobody teaches adults how to make friends. You will be the special person who brings people together and helps them make new friends.

This is what is important! This is what the world needs right now! You can do it.

I wrote a book to show you how. Check out my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party on Amazon or wherever you buy your books online.

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About the author

Nick Gray is the author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and in a popular TEDx talk. He sold his last company Museum Hack in 2019. Today he’s an expert on networking events, small parties, and creating relationships. Read more about Nick Gray here.

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