Last updated: November 28, 2023
My friend Sarah hosted a cocktail party in Saudi Arabia. This event style is super uncommon in this part of the world, so she had an interesting time hosting it.
Read this post to learn about:
- Making the best RSVP page
- The agenda that will help you host
- Guest bios that boost your attendance rate
- What cultural modifications Sarah used to make her party a success
Why you should listen to me: I have hosted thousands of parties all over the world. Every place you go requires a little bit of a different style of party to make sure your guests are begging you for an invitation to the next one. New York Magazine once called me a host of “culturally significant” parties.
Sarah is an entrepreneur who lives in Saudi Arabia.
In this section, I interview Sarah to learn even more about her party.
Keep in mind that I did translate and edit her answers to be easily understood by western culture.
Q: What helped you to host this party?
A: I wanted my house to feel smaller and more personal. So I closed the doors to some rooms, giving the area a smaller feel. I turned the lights off in sections to make people more inclined to stay in one specific area. Too much open space for people kills the atmosphere of the party. I found that having it feel a little bit crowded made it feel more personal.
Q: Did you do any icebreakers with your guests?
A: Yes, after my first round of icebreakers, I took everyone outside, which added a new sense of energy. This allowed people to enjoy the weather and smoke with each other.
Q: What did your guests think of the party?
A: A ton of guests told me how much they loved the party a few days later! The common theme is that most people had never been to a party like this before, and the new party style made them happy. It really helped me meet new friends and connect with them.
I’m already planning my next party.
Q: What made you want to host parties like this?
A: I am an entrepreneur, and I wanted to grow my business in an authentic way. This has allowed me to deepen my relationship with my acquaintances and friends. Some of them even introduced me to new people.
Sarah’s goal was to grow her business in an authentic way. So she hosted a cocktail party to get her friends and colleagues together.
Her guest list was full of her friends, influencers, business owners, and acquaintances.
She even convinced a friend to help her host the party.
After sending out her invitations, she had 40 confirmed people.
Note: Honestly, this is too many people for a first-time cocktail party host. I don’t recommend having so many people unless you are an experienced party host.
This was her RSVP page.
We blocked out some of her info, but you can still see that she included all of the necessary info. This way, her guests know what to expect, along with when and where to be.
In Saudi Arabia, it is common for parties to start late and last for hours on end.
Sarah’s party started at 8:20 and ended at 11:30.
Normally, I don’t recommend a cocktail party to last this long nor start this late. But in Saudi Arabia, this is much more acceptable.
8:20 arrive any time. get a name tag!
8:35 first icebreaker
8:40 snacks? mix and mingle
9:00 second icebreaker
9:20 snacks? mix and mingle
10:00 third icebreaker
10:30 group photo
10:40 mix and mingle
11:30 The end!
Having an agenda like this really helps first-time hosts know what they need to do. The fewer decisions you have to make on the fly, the better.
Like all great hosts, she provided name tags so all of her guests could wear them. This makes the social atmosphere a lot more inviting for people to meet each other. Here is a guide to using name tags that I wrote.
The name tags were such a hit, one of her guests copied the idea and used name tags for the opening day of her daycare.
Hosting in Her Home
She wanted her party to feel personal and authentic. Sarah decided to host it in her own house to accomplish this.
Everyone should host a cocktail party in their own house. Read this article I wrote to learn why.
She went above and beyond by closing some of the room doors and turning off lights in specific sections. This encouraged people to stay in one area. A large open space can sometimes dampen the party atmosphere. But by closing some room doors and turning off the lights, she created a slightly crowded atmosphere that made the event feel more personal.
Here are some of the bios that she included:
Ahmed: an Award Winning Author and a Co-founder of Global Group Logistics. Ahmed enjoys good stories and is a foodie by heart.
Dinah: loves animals! Giraffes are her favorites! She finally went red 👩🏻🦰 she enjoys planning trips and adventure, she lives at Kaust and works as an international student recruiter.
Jawhara: a traveler, a photographer, a foodie and a storyteller! Loves cats and deep conversations about spirituality and the human connection., she is the founder of Manifest Currently living between Jeddah and Riyad.
Maha: most famous with her outstanding achievements at this Rally season. She is an official Rally driver, with a background in business. Working as a GM in Abdul Latif Jameel.
Ahmed: also known as Ahmed TA5TA5 he is a food and business marketing specialist, a radio host and podcaster, the founder of The Foodies Inc.
Rania: is an Endodontist at the ministry of health, she is a vegan, loves traveling.
Nesreen: Endodontist, MetaHealth and PEAT practitioner.
Samah: Samah is Samah :P, a Yoga Master and a cofounder of Zenzone, a boutique Yoga Studio in Jeddah. She also works at Cruise Saudi.
This does two main things. It makes guests excited to meet each other and know more about other guests. Also it creates a social contract with the guests. Since they see their name on the guest bio list, they are more inclined to show up since other people are expecting them to.
In Saudi Arabia, most parties last four hours or more, and serving food is very common. After some convincing, Sarah decided to shorten the length of her party to three hours and to only serve basic snacks.
She also did not serve any alcohol at the party since drinking alcohol in Saudi Arabia is illegal.
Even though smoking hookah inside is customary, she did not want people to smoke inside. She did have a nice area set up outside for her guests to smoke together.
Hosting a cocktail party is the best way to connect with people and grow your business. We are in a loneliness epidemic and people have fewer and fewer friends. This makes anyone who hosts a party stand out from the crowd.
I am so proud of Sarah for taking action and hosting a cocktail party! It’s awesome that she did it in a country that is unfamiliar with this style of party.
I hope this post taught you about:
I’m Nick Gray – the master of cocktail party shenanigans and author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. Do you want to throw a successful shindig that’ll make you the talk of the town? If so, you’ll need to grab a copy of my book. I’ve helped over 150 people host killer parties, and they’ve all made new friends and strengthened existing relationships. Some of them even grew their businesses!
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.