Last updated: September 6, 2023
Is your first thought when deciding to host a party, “Will anyone even come?”
That was exactly what Andrew L. told me when I talked to him about his party. Imagine his shock when he sent out invites and quickly received 29 RSVPs!
From Nick Gray: I hear this regularly. Readers wonder and worry, “Will anyone come?” Then they’re shocked that so many people are interested. This speaks to the hunger that people have for a unique gathering like The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. It is also very special to be invited to a party in someone’s home!
Read this article to see what Andrew did to make it successful, what he’d do differently for his next party, and the lessons he learned from hosting his first 2-Hour Cocktail Party.
Meet Andrew in Maryland
Andrew is a software engineer by day and stand-up comedian by night. He also enjoys challenging himself physically and mentally by learning Brazilian Jui Jitsu.
Andrew is naturally more introverted, so his core group is just a few close friends.
“I’m lacking in higher quantity, looser friendship as well as connecting people I know with each other.”
He wanted to develop more weak ties and become a Super Connector. After that, he read Nick’s book and decided to use it as an instruction manual for how to host a great party.
Andrew hosted a successful party for 29 friends. Let’s hear more about how it went and his advice for anyone who wants to host a gathering of their own.
Q: What were your favorite parts of the party?
A: I can think of two. The icebreakers and the “introvert break.” That’s when I went upstairs to spend some time alone and FaceTime Nick! The icebreakers really helped with group management while still allowing conversations to flow naturally. In the end, guests coordinated getting home together after the party that didn’t know each other beforehand.
Q: What’s your advice for hosting a great party?
A: Follow a proven step-by-step guide like Nick’s book. Don’t skip on the harmonica or icebreakers, especially if you’re hosting a large group. Adjust the structure when necessary. Be intentional about where you put your snacks and drinks.
Q: What tips do you have for a first-time host?
A: Follow a known-to-work playbook so you have fewer unknowns and it’s less work/stress for you. After you get it down, you can customize it to your taste. The harmonica was a game changer because people get loud, so a noisemaker that sounds nice is a good way to control a crowd. Also, make sure your core group of friends arrives early to avoid any awkward silences.
Andrew’s Cocktail Party
Andrew hosted 29 guests at his place in Maryland on Memorial Day. Here’s what he did to make it a success.
Hosting as an Introvert
Andrew isn’t new to hosting, but he is an introvert. He feels scared that people won’t come every time he sends out invites, but it doesn’t stop him.
To minimize the fear, he outsourced the logistics of hosting a party by following Nick’s book. Andrew knew by following the steps outlined, people would come and enjoy themselves.
Plus, a shorter party (2 hours) and a finite end time are great for not using up all of his social battery.
Being Intentional with the Snacks and Drinks
Andrew used my party shopping list to buy the right amount of snacks for the number of people he invited. But he noticed that no one ate that much food because they were so chatty. They drank a decent amount but not as much as expected given how many people showed up.
Andrew’s advice is to be intentional about where you put your food and drinks. He put the drinks on one side of the room, sweet foods in the living room, and savory foods at a bar on the other side.
From the guests’ point of view, they have to pass through the room, bumping into people and starting conversations along the way.
Making Adjustments to the Structure
The biggest thing to remember is that you don’t have to be too strict with the structure of the party. Because so many people RSVPed, Andrew needed to make small adjustments like only doing 2 icebreakers instead of 3.
Dealing with Post-Party Exhaustion
Andrew reminded me that post-party exhaustion is a real thing. He didn’t send out follow-up emails but wants to next time. His goal is to have better energy management post-party.
Check out Chapter 15 in my book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party for an action plan on how you should handle the day after your party. Post-party depression is real! And you can handle it the right way when you plan for some relaxation or reward.
Advice for Your Next Party
The next time Andrew hosts a gathering, he wants to do a few things differently:
- Experiment with not having it on a holiday.
- Prep a little earlier by talking to and inviting people sooner.
- Have an energy management plan post-party so he can execute all of the tactics in the book.
Andrew said that hosting one party is not a silver bullet for fear. He’s not as worried about the next one, but he still gets anxious about attendance and everyone having a good time.
But his fear didn’t stop his party from being a success. It doesn’t have to stop yours either.
When I asked Andrew what he thought made it so successful, he told me 3 things:
- He put chairs away so people would stand and engage in conversation.
- He kept the drinks and snacks separate.
- He made sure to plan but then let go once the party started.
Congrats to Andrew on hosting a party that everyone was excited to go to!
Hi! My name is Nick Gray. In my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, I provide helpful guidance on how to host a great party for any event. I wrote this book to support anyone attempting to meet new people and develop closer bonds with their community.
When is your party? Send me an email and I will give you some bonus tips, including a pre-party checklist that you can print out. Plus I’ll answer any question you have, free of charge. I love talking about parties and I’m on a mission to help 500 people host their first party.