How to Host a Cocktail Party with Kids: Alex in Austin

Alex Zub lives in Austin, Texas. He’s married and has two young children.

Alex read my book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party and used the exact formula to host a cocktail party for his friends and neighbors.

It was a huge success! Alex literally told me: “I LOVED IT AND I FEEL AWESOME.”

For further proof, just look how happy everyone is in the group photo:

group photo of Alex's guests in his cocktail party
Alex at home (white shirt and khaki pants) with his family, friends, and neighbors in Austin, Texas during his very first party.

Alex is special because he typed up a TON of notes afterwards. He’s allowed me to share those notes here in this article.

Keep reading to see:

  • What went well
  • Things that surprised him
  • Areas for improvement
  • Party photos and video
  • His party invitation
  • Next steps

Roses: What went well

These are Alex’s notes that he shared with me, so he’ll be typing in the first person now.

  • I welcomed each of the guests very well.
  • Working through the awkwardness of the first 10 minutes well, based on the book section “The Awkward Zone.”
  • Getting through the awkwardness of running the first icebreaker in my life, exactly at the 20 minutes mark after the party started. Surprise: I liked it!
  • My wife made mulled wine and it was a big hit!
  • We had a separate room dedicated to kids, with toys and a kids TV show on. We also had a bounce house outside that worked REALLY well. Most of the kids at the party didn’t bother their parents the entire time (only the youngest ones did).
group of people talking and having drinks in a cocktail party
  • I had someone dedicated as a photographer. He came with a DSLR camera and he loves taking photos wherever he goes. He’s now invited to all my parties, LOL.
  • We took a group selfie photo. That went well! The photo turned out great.
  • I was pretty nervous using the harmonica. But, just like the book said, the party harmonica worked wonders!
  • Everybody loved the party. I sent everyone a follow-up text message and got a lot of great feedback. People liked meeting new people.
  • The guests were a great mix. Most people didn’t know most of the other people.
  • Most important of all, I LOVED IT AND I FEEL AWESOME. I’m happy people had an excellent time and that gives me energy. SO AWESOME.
group of people talking in a cocktail party

Things that surprised me

  • EVERY SINGLE person who RSVP’d ‘YES’ actually showed up! Freaking mind blowing! I think the email reminders that the book talks about played an important role in it.
  • Even though the reminder emails to me felt like I’ll look like I am “trying too hard” in front of the guests, the guests I surveyed seemed genuinely appreciative of the reminders and the guest bios. None of my party attendees had this kind of experience before.
  • At the 20-minute mark, pretty much everyone had arrived. Just one family was late.

Notes on children and kids at the party

  • 15 adults and 10 kids felt easier to handle than I anticipated. But still, it feels like hosting a party with 25-30 adults. Going forward, we shouldn’t have more than ~10 kids.
  • Kids add a level of logistics that makes things generally more complicated. This is not advised for first-time party hosting 🙂
  • When a party is hosted with kids, I should expect that the parents from time to time will have to walk away at random points in time, including an icebreaker.
  • Next party will likely be adult-only. Might end up switching it up and hosting a kid-friendly one every other month, but maybe not haha.

Thorns: What I can improve

  • Nobody drank any of the vodka.
  • Nobody ate snacks until about 60 minutes into the party. By the end, most of the snacks were gone. We ended up making a pizza for the kids towards the end.
  • I’m going to have a bit more beer choice available. Even though the book says not to worry about beer, it also feels like having beers isn’t that big of a logistical problem. For this party, I just chilled the beers in the fridge like a lot of other stuff.
  • For my next party: Don’t need a ton of beer, but some is great. Ideally local/craft brands.
  • I realized that the guests (the +1’s) of some people never saw the helpful reminder message emails I sent out because… well, they never RSVP’d, so I did not have their email addresses. Only those that RSVP’d got the reminder messages. There is no way to specify the +1’s email when signing up with Mixily. So some people had excellent context on the guests, and some of their +1s had no idea that those emails were even sent out. Next time I will try to ask everyone to RSVP separately so everyone knows what to expect and will receive the full Guest Bios etc.

Also: Someone attempted to come over one week early, and another person almost came over the day before the party 😂 I’m glad that both sent me a message ahead of time. Both seem to have messed up when adding reminders on their own calendar. But shows the importance of reminder messages that tell exactly when the party will be!

Alex’s Party Invitation

I’ve pasted the entirety of Alex’s invitation below the screenshot.

He used several animated GIFs throughout, which are not included.

Event title: Cocktails & Icebreakers at the Zub’s

Event description:

It makes me happy to introduce great people to each other. I’m excited to help people make new friends. And I’m always wanting to keep in touch with great people who I haven’t seen in a while.

Super casual, meet new friends, see old ones, and have a drink on me. I’ll have name tags, a few bottles of wine, whiskey, cognac, and tons of sparkling water. There’ll be light snacks but no formal dinner.

My party is a little different from an average party.

I want all you great people to get to know the rest of the great people at the party you haven’t yet met.

Ever been to a party where you had to walk around awkwardly trying to join a conversation?

Or maybe you forget names (yeah that’s me 🙋). Neither is going to be a problem here.

I love it when people meet other fun, interesting people and make new friends.

Expect to wear a name tag, and at some point I’ll facilitate icebreakers so that you get to know more awesome people.

Don’t worry, it’ll still be informal (even chill!) and lots of fun.

=====

The party is kid-friendly. Bring your little one if you wish.

We have an outdoor bounce house that we will set up for kids to enjoy (weather permitting), as well as a separate room with toys kids can play.

=====

Our home is in the XXX neighborhood (ZIP CODE REDACTED). You may have to park a little down/up the street, just make sure not to block anyone’s driveway. Shoes off inside, please.

If you can’t make the whole thing, it’s OK to drop in for 30-60 minutes.

Hope to see you soon!

Video from the Cocktail Party

Conclusion

A few weeks after the party, Alex sent me this message:

“Nick, you made my 2021 special. Thank you for getting me excited about hosting parties and sharing your book before it was published. I appreciate your advice about how to host my first party. It’ll be remembered and forever appreciated.”

That makes me super happy!

This worked for Alex (even with his kids!), and it can work for you.

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

What you should do next...

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About the author

Howdy! I'm Nick Gray. Most people know me as the Founder of Museum Hack. I wrote a book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, about making new friends and building big relationships through small gatherings.

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