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Cathy’s Fiesta in DC: A Post-Partium

Last updated: March 27, 2024

Cathy is a yoga instructor who lives in Washington, D.C.

She told me she was hosting a Mexican-themed party on a Saturday night for 15 of her friends.

I convinced Cathy to do four little things to upgrade her party:

  1. Guest Bios
  2. Name tags
  3. Icebreakers
  4. Huddle cheer (or “The High Note Ending”)

How did it go?

We had so much fun. The huddle you suggested at the end is so ridiculous but makes me crack up when I see it!???? Thanks for all your ideas. My friends are interested in checking your book out when it’s out.

Cathy T. in Washington, D.C.

How were the name tags?

People loved the name tags, even though I thought they would be weird. Because my party was Mexican-themed, I got ones on Amazon that said Hola. My name tag kept falling off and at one point landed in my friend’s drink (haha!).

I mentioned the benefits and importance of name tags here. Take a look at the supplies and where I bought those too!

Did you tell guests about the name tags beforehand?

Yep. Your book said to warn people about the name tags, but because I didn’t know that beforehand, I included this message in one of my reminder notes: “Excited to see you all tomorrow! I wanted to let you know I’m trying something new and will have name tags for everyone at my party.”

Marble top with yellow flowers before a party
Setting up for her party: HOLA name tags, fresh flowers, festive napkins, and plastic cups.

How did the icebreakers work?

I’m a teacher and I’ve done these types of things with my class. It felt a little strange to do them at my party. But it was great.

We did the first icebreaker like your book said: name, what you do for work, and favorite breakfast.

For the second icebreaker, my friend suggested that I ask everyone: If you were in Mexico right now, what would you be doing? I did this because I’m hosting a yoga retreat coming up in Mexico. It was a nice tie-in.

What did you send for your Guest Bios?

My friends all loved the bios!! I’m so glad we did these because it really helped increase the conversations. Here’s the email with the Guest Bios that I sent the day before my party to everyone who RSVP’d:


Overall, did you have any problems or issues at your party?

People brought little gifts with no names on them. I don’t know who brought what. How can I thank the right person?

I suggest that Cathy should say this in her follow-up message the day after the party:

Thank you everyone for coming!! Our group photo is attached. Email me back if you brought a gift, please. I want to say Thank you ???? And thanks for everyone who came. It made me so happy to see you all.

How did you end the party?

We did the huddle like you suggested. Here’s a video of how it looked (below). Most of my friends left on time, but a few of us might have been guilty of staying up late doing drunk pilates…

Cathy used a huddle and a cheer like my book suggests to help end her party on a high note. Yes, it’s corny. But also, Yes: it works. As Cathy said: “The huddle you suggested at the end is so ridiculous but makes me crack up when I see it! ????

What advice do you have for other hosts?

Decide on the shoes vs no shoes policy beforehand and tell guests in your reminder messages. Don’t wait to the day of the party.
Keep the food and drinks menu simple.
Post fun signs around the home that go along with the theme. The host at an Oscar’s party I attended did this and I loved the touch!
Try to not have anything planned the next day so you can relax. (My mistake!)
If you’re nervous remember, “Fear is excitement without breath.” (I heard this years ago when I read The Big Leap but can’t remember who the author quoted.)


Cathy’s party was already going to be great before she read my party hosting handbook. She has a strong friend group, she invited people far in advance, she was using an event platform to solicit and manage her RSVPs, and she embraced a theme.

When she added Guest Bios, name tags, icebreakers, and a group cheer to end the party, I think it helped take her party to the next level. But don’t take it from me. Here’s what Cathy said:

We had so much fun. Thanks for all your ideas. My friends are interested in checking your book out when it’s out.

Great job to Cathy for being the first person to try using my handbook for an upcoming, already-scheduled party!

You can use my tips to help upgrade any party.

Now if I can just convince Cathy to host another party… with cocktails only… and limited to two hours… on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday night… stay tuned!

Other Stuff

  • Cathy’s Concerns Before the Party
  • See Cathy’s Invite

Cathy’s Concerns Before the Party

“I’m from the DC area but I am inviting close friends. I’m also inviting a few people who I want to get to know better. I’m a little nervous now because I have a 600 sq ft apt and have about 16-17 people who RSVP’d yes. ????

It’s a Mexican-themed party (since that’s where my retreat will be) so I’m planning to serve homemade tacos and margaritas. Your point in the book on sticking to just simple snacks and drinks is smart because I’m starting to feel nervous. Planning to prep day ahead though! I ordered Mexican decorations and Spanish name tags and sent out a cute taco Evite weeks ago.”

See Cathy’s Invite

Cathy used Evite to host the RSVP page.

See a ranked list of my favorite event platforms here.

She invited people several weeks in advance. Her party had 19 Yes RSVPs, 1 No, and 7 “No Reply” (one of which was me!).

I am not sharing the Evite because it includes personal information about her and her guests. Here’s a screenshot:

Fiesta, Cathecita's Housewarming Fiesta
Header graphic for Cathy’s party, as hosted on Evite

Event title: Cathecita’s Housewarming Fiesta

Event description:

All you need is love & tacos. <3 And if you don’t like tacos, I’m nacho type.

Please wear something spicy (or colorful) for my Mexican party! I’ll have some veggies and shrimp tacos, and margs. Bring whatever love you’d like to share!

… the end.

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom of this case study from Cathy’s party!

I’ve shared this information because maybe it will give you the courage or confidence to use a few “best practices” to upgrade your party.

When you’re ready, check out my tips for how to improve any party.

Need help? Have questions? Send me an email and I’ll try to support you.

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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