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First-Time Party Hosts: Read This

Last updated: March 27, 2024

Your party is tonight! Or it is coming up soon.

How are you feeling? Are you excited? Nervous? Looking forward to meeting all of your friends?

It’s completely normal to feel nervous or overwhelmed about hosting your first party.

But let me help!

In this post I’ll teach you how to:

  • Overcome fear
  • Delegate duties to early guests
  • Make a checklist
  • Hold yourself accountable, and
  • Be thankful: you’ve already won
Why you should listen to me: I’ve hosted hundreds of cocktail parties all around the world. After helping more than 150 people host their own cocktail parties, I learned exactly what first-time hosts need to know. 

Overcome Fear

It is 100% normal to feel scared about what others will think of your party and house. Or whether anyone will show up, or if people will have fun.

But the best cure for fear is action. And you’re actually taking action!

After hosting hundreds of house parties in my small Brooklyn apartment, I learned that nobody cares as much as you think about the size of your home.

People are happy that you are hosting something. Everyone loves to be invited to a party.

And when you use my party formula with name tags and icebreakers, your party will have a sense of structure and energy that people appreciate and respect.

Plus, know that hosting your second party will be so much easier.

The worst thing that can happen is that only a few of your guests will show up. But you’ll still have a great time connecting with people! Trust me: this will be fun. Your party will be great.

Delegate Duties

When the first few people start to show up to your party, it can be a little awkward.

But that’s ok! It happens to everyone.

Here’s what I learned: Most people who arrive early to your cocktail party will ask, “How can I help?”

And just like managing a business, you need help.

So make it easy on yourself. Let them help.

Have guests who arrive early help out with these things:

  • Name Tags. Ask someone to show guests where the name tags are and write their names.
  • Drinks / Bartender. Have a guest as a bartender person who will help other guests get a drink.
  • Answering the Door. My apartment has a buzzer for entry. It is stressful for me to manage it during my parties. I’m always incredibly relieved and less stressed when I can ask a friend or two to help buzz people in and answer the door.

See the section called “Delegate Duties” in Chapter 11 of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party for a complete list of additional tasks to delegate. You’ll also learn exactly how to do it at your party for maximum success.

Make a Checklist

Making a checklist of things to clean and supplies to lay out helps me automate my planning.

Print out one of these party checklists that I made to help make it easy:

Printable Checklist Featured Image
Download two party checklists that you can print here.


The most difficult part about hosting a cocktail party is getting started and then keeping your momentum.

To make new friends and build big relationships, you have to make hosting a habit!

Fortunately for you, I can help by holding you accountable. I’ll also send you some bonus resources from my book.

Email me the date of your party, or send me your group photo after your party happens.

I will follow up with actionable advice to ensure that it goes smoothly for you. Feel free to ask me any questions, too!

You’ve Already Won!

Finally, and the most important part: If you have already invited guests to your first party, you have already won.

We live in a world that takes pride in not caring about others. But not you. You’ve already shown that you’re someone who cares about people and relationships by bringing folks together and inviting a great crowd to your party.

All of your great guests are your friends who want you to succeed.

You’re ALREADY succeeding because you have come so far to host and bring great people together.


I hope this helps. After helping hundreds of people host their own first party, I know for a fact that your first party will be a smashing success.


My name is Nick Gray. I wrote a book called The 2-Hour Cocktail Party that teaches you how to have a successful party regardless if it’s your first or hundredth time hosting. I’m really proud of it.

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.

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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