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Kim’s First Cocktail Party

Last updated: March 27, 2024

Kim is a home cook and dinner party enthusiast. She splits her time between Vancouver and Cape Town.

Kim LOVES to entertain. She’s really great at dinner parties. She’s hosted dozens and is famous among her friends for her blind taste tests and intimate conversations.

But Kim was curious: could she host a party in only 2 hours and with no sit-down dinner? Would her friends still enjoy her gathering with more structure like name tags and icebreakers?

Kim Cocktail 01
That’s Kim, the dinner party expert. She even has a blog about it: Feed My Friends.

Cocktail Party Setup

Kim used the exact formula she read about in my book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party to help her host a cocktail party for her friends and neighbors.

She jotted down party notes on her entire experience, which she’s allowed me to share with all of you.

Here’s how it went.

Kim Cocktail 02
Kim’s friends gathering at her party in Cape Town, South Africa.

Party Highlights

These are Kim’s notes that she shared with me, so they are all written on her point of view.


The party icebreakers were surprisingly easy to do and appreciated by the group! 

I asked guests what they typically eat for breakfast. 

And then asked them about a piece of great media they’ve consumed lately for the second icebreaker. 

The second icebreaker generated some interesting group conversations.

Kim Cocktail 03
Kim’s guests standing in a circle and doing the icebreakers.

Self-serve bar

The self-serve bar was a hit! 

It was a nice change not to have to serve people their drinks. 

I noticed that many people had empty glasses at times, but were mid-conversation so that they couldn’t top up. 

Not sure if that was a problem or issue for anybody though but as a host, I felt like I wanted to top them up!

Areas for improvement


We only had a few pictures taken. At the beginning of the party, I should have done what you recommended and designated one of the guests to take photos

I also forgot to get a group photo at the time of the second icebreaker, which was entirely my fault! The book does a good job about noting when to take this.

End Time

Some people left right at 8:30 pm but most left around 9:15 / 9:30pm. 

I wasn’t very strict about saying, “okay, this party is over” which I now regret. I should have stuck to your guide, because those who left early felt like they were leaving the party early (when I did say it was only two hours). I’ll try that next time!

Kim Cocktail 04
Kim’s beautiful snack table that she set for her party.


After her experience, Kim sent me this message:

“I really appreciate you sharing your book with us and for creating The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. I think as a regular host it was a challenge to change the way I typically organize and run parties. But I really loved it and will definitely organize another in the future. Next time, I will use a bit more of your structure!”

Kim was able to host a great, easy, lightweight event that didn’t take as much time as a complicated dinner party. If she can do it, you can, too!

Check out my book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party to learn my step-by-step guide to hosting your first party.

Leave a comment on this article here.

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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