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10 Tips on How to Throw a Matchmaking Dinner Party
There are tons of ways to meet people, and one of the best of them is the dinner party. You get to spend a few hours with a ton of people who probably share similar interests as you. If someone catches your eye, it’s easy to go over and chat them up. If things get boring with one person, you can easily start a conversation with someone new. But what happens if it’s been a while since you’ve been to a party, and you’ve got the urge? Well, throw one yourself. But if you’re single, don’t just throw any party. Throw a matchmaking party. How does one do that? There are a few things to take into account, including who to invite, what to serve, what music to play, etc.
How to throw a matchmaking dinner party – Tip #1: don’t focus on the singles
The first tip for throwing a matchmaking dinner party is not to make it obvious that you’re throwing a matchmaking dinner party. If you focus too much on singles, and make it a “singles” night, then you’ll put way too much pressure on the event. You want to keep things loose and fun, and the best way to do that is to invite a whole bunch of people, single, and attached. Just make sure that you have a nice mix of singles. The best way to do that is to mention singles in only one place in our invitation: at the very end, as a PS. For example: “ps: singles are welcome!”, or “ps: couples are encouraged to bring a guest who is single!”. In this way, the singles become an extra bit of excitement for the party, and not its focus. By doing this you ensure a better turnout, a better mix of people (and conversation), and a better experience for your singles (and you).
How to throw a matchmaking dinner party – Tip #2: keep the meal simple, and focus on the drinks
Yes, you’re going to try your best and give a great party, and you want everyone to have a great time, but you also want to have time yourself – so keep the meal simple. The simpler the food, the less chances you’ll have of experiencing a culinary catastropy (OMG – I just burnt the almond-mango chicken and bluefin tuna caserole!), and the more time you’ll have to spend with your guests, make them feel comfortable, and, of course, meet some nice singles. So keep the grub tasty but quick to make… and focus on the drinks. Drinks are great because all you have to do is buy something interesting – perhaps an exotic wine, or a micro-brewery beer – and ta-da, you have instant excitement. Keep things fun by topping up everyone’s glass on a regular basis. This keeps the juices flowing, and also keeps you moving around and meeting people (and give you an excuse to get away of the inevitable boring leech). If you’re feeling adventurous, try some mixed drinks, but don’t overdo it: as with the meal, you want to keep the booze simple so you have time to mingle and have as much fun as your invitees.
How to throw a matchmaking dinner party – Tip #3: create a playlist to keep the vibe going
A dinner party isn’t really a dinner party without music, so create a long and varied playlist. Make sure that there’s a little something for everyone, and don’t just play the big names. Play some songs by unknowns – or some unknown songs by some big names. This will create a little curiosity for the people at your party, and gives everyone a great conversation starter. A mix of genres is great too: for example, juxtapose some ambient drum and bass with some old school 60s rock to keep people on their toes, but use your good judgement and don’t overdo it. Choose the location of your sound system strategically so that it fills your whole space with sound evenly, and don’t be afraid to have two (or more) stereos working at the same time, as long as they’re not close enough to clash with each other (there’s nothing worse than two competing musical keys). Finally, make sure you have the volume right: people should be able to hear the music without straining their ears, but they should also be able to talk without screaming their lungs out.
How to throw a matchmaking dinner party – Tip #4: invite people who want to be there
Most people make a big mistake when making an invite to a dinner party: they invite the whole planet, thinking that the more is always the merrier. This is precisely the wrong thing to do. By doing this, you’ll have guests who will be showing up late, and worse, leaving early (the ultimate vibe killer). You’ll have people who won’t mingle well, and who generally won’t help create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Instead of asking anyone to come, be selective. Choose people who you feel will really enjoy your party, and then ask them to invite like-minded people. This is easily done: “Hi, I’m having a dinner party on Saturday. The name of the game is Asian food. If you know of anyone who digs Asian food as much as I do, feel free to invite them.”
How to throw a matchmaking dinner party – Tip #5: invest in candles and flowers
It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or a girl: you need to invest in some nice candles and flowers for your dinner party. I don’t mean go all out and deck the halls with wall-to-wall roses, but you need to create a comfy atmosphere. An easy way to do that is to put some candles in strategic areas – ie: not where there’s a lot of foot traffic – light ’em up, and turn the lights down. It’s a great way to set a nice comfy mood. Next, buy some inexpensive flowers and put them in nice vases on a table. You don’t have to spend a lot: just choose a nice bouquet that shows that you actually care about how your place looks.
How to throw a matchmaking dinner party – Tip #6: enlist the help of a friend
A dinner party is a big deal, and it can be a lot of work. You should keep things as simple as possible, but another thing you should do is ask for some help. Talk to a friend of yours – someone you’re planning on inviting, of course – and ask them to assist you with a few tasks. Be specific: don’t just say “I need help” and make it sound like you’re going to take up hours of their time. Instead, choose two or three critical tasks that take a long time, and ask them to give you a hand. For example, a friend can buy food, organize your place before the guests start arriving, or cook a dish. Anything help, and it’s always less stressful to know that someone is there to contribute when you need it.
How to throw a matchmaking dinner party – Tip #7: Make sure you have enough food
You can usually count on people to bring booze, but food is another matter. Don’t leave it to chance: make sure you have a large main course, and lots of snacks to keep your guests satisfied. While wine and beer may loosen the tongue, food is the real conversation starter (think: “Wow, whatever you’re eating looks really good – where did you get that?”). If you can afford it, try and stay away from the chips and crackers, and pick up some cured meats, vegetables for a dip, and other interesting munchies to be a little different.
How to throw a matchmaking dinner party – Tip #8: Have one communal dish everyone eats together.
Every dinner party has a lull. It’s that point where a sudden silence comes over everyone. When that moment comes, be prepared. Whip out what I like to call a “communal dish” – a messy dish that gets your hands dirty and gets people laughing and eating together. A great example is a peel-and-eat shrimp cocktail, chili crabs, or oysters for shucking. The key is to make it more challenging than bite sized snacks, so people are forced to get active. Once your guests start rolling up their sleeves, jokes will ensue, and then, great conversation.
How to throw a matchmaking dinner party – Tip #9: Come up with a few games to spice things up
Since you are – after all – hosting a matchmaking dinner party, you need to help makes some matches. A great way to do this is by introducing some interactive games into the mix of the party. Everyone will grumble at first, but as soon as they get into it, they’ll start having a blast. You can do any kind of game you like, as long as everyone is able to participate, and as long as it;’s simple, and, of course, fun. One game I really like is called the “Toilet Paper Game.” Here’s how it works: pass around a roll of toilet paper, and ask everyone to take as many squares as they like – but they have to take at least one. Then ask everyone one by one, to tell the crowd something that no one present knows about them. Since most people at your party won’t know each other, this should be easy for everyone. It’s an easy game, and one which helps to open everyone up and get them mingling… and hopefully, connecting
How to throw a matchmaking dinner party – Tip #10: Don’t let things ebb out – be the one to end your dinner party
It happens at every party: one person leaves, then two, and then the slow trickle starts, and eventually, you’re stuck with a few people who simply don’t want to leave. To avoid this slow ebb of energy, ends things on a high note by specifying and end time for a party in your invite. You choose the time, and it can be as late or as early as you want. And your excuse is a simple one: clean up. Be cool by tagging on a joke to your mention of the end time, for example: “Part ends at midnight sharp, ‘cos clean up is hell and I hate procrastinating.” By telling people in advance when things will have to wrap up, you’ll keep the energy going on longer, and you’ll avoid having to entertain someone who just can’t seem to take a hint.
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