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How to host a party for millennials

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Bringing people together for a good time is simple to pull off if you commit to these 3 things …

I went to a cheese-pairing party recently that was quite enjoyable. I wasn’t sure what to expect (and I didn’t know many people who were going), but the concept was interesting: bring a cheese you like and something to pair it with. It turned out to be so much fun that it got me thinking about what makes a party great, especially for a group of people around my age. Because let’s be honest, young adults love to get together as much as anyone else, but we don’t always know how to host a party with both simplicity and class.  

So from that party, and some party successes and failures of my own, I’ve compiled a few tips for hosting parties for a group of millennials.

The first key to a good party is a theme.

If a party is celebrating a certain event or milestone (birthday, graduation, etc.), you don’t necessarily need anything more than that. But when you don’t have a milestone to celebrate, and you just want to get some people together, you need something to center your event around. The cheese-pairing party was a great idea because it not only helped take care of the food for the party, it gave people conversation starters and an activity to enjoy.

A few more ideas for party themes: a board game party (either have people bring their favorite games, or center the night around one specific game that everyone can play), a millennial-themed party (tell everyone to bring a stereotypical millennial food, and enjoy a lot of avocado toast and LaCroix), a dinner and debate party where you watch an episode of something and then eat, drink, and discuss (this could range anywhere from a Bachelorette episode to an Oscar-nominated short film to a TED Talk), or a DIY paint and sip party (where everyone paints and drinks together without shelling out the big bucks at a studio).

Once you have a theme, it’s time to invite people.

I made the mistake recently of relying only on snail mail invitations that I sent out a couple of weeks before my party. People [millennials) don’t check their mail regularly because they so rarely get anything other than coupons or credit card offers. Instead, what works better is to invite people in person. If you’re excited about your party, that enthusiasm is a big help in getting people excited to attend. (And it will help them choose your party over other things they could do instead.) Then, send a follow-up text or group text with the details.  Evites work as well, but are much more effective when you text the link to your evite and have already invited someone face to face.

What was helpful at the cheese party was the fact that everyone had to RSVP with what cheese they were bringing and what they would pair it with. That got people more invested and committed to the party from the outset. Because let’s be real, millennials don’t like to commit to stuff. Guilty. So the more you can do to get your guests invested, the better.

Once you have the theme and have invited people, skip ahead to the day of the party.

Tidy the main areas of your living space. Clean your toilet. Buy some food and drink to fill in with what people are bringing. Make or find a playlist to put on. (The more variety the better, as you never know what songs will get people talking or relaxed). And that’s it! Don’t stress about deep cleaning or having a ton of food. Simple is better. And the less stressed out you are before the event, the more likely you are to plan another party soon!

Okay, the last step in this mini party planning guide is probably the most important …

It’s called breaking the ice. If you have a group of people who don’t know each other, it can be hard to get everyone talking and enjoying themselves. If your party revolves around an activity (like painting or game playing) then the activity breaks the ice for you. Nothing like a little competition to get people comfortable. But if your party doesn’t revolve around an activity, then it helps to introduce one at the outset. The card game Pit, a version of speed dating where everyone has to get to know a new person every five minutes when a bell rings, and a contest to see how many marshmallows everyone can fit in their mouths while saying the phrase “chubby bunny” are my personal favorites.

Once the ice has broken, conversation should be able to flow somewhat naturally. And then you can continue mingling and hosting until the last guest leaves.

Okay, you’re up. Go host a party.

Read more: 3 lessons from Martha and Mary on how to host a great party

Read more: Great host gifts (and proper etiquette) for a party at your boss’ home

 

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