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4 Rules for Hosting A Successful Pre-Party

Written by eadelson on Saturday, January 16th, 2010

It has become social custom that before a night out, friends like to get together and have a few drinks. Particularly for students and young professionals, this tradition of ‘pre-drinking’ or ‘pre-gaming’ allows you to catch up with friends, meet new acquaintances, keep your nights affordable and walk into a club with a bit of liquid courage.
Throwing a pre-drink is fun and easy to do! The majority of pre-drinks are BYOA and take place after the dinner hour, so the host is not responsible for suppling booze or food (score!). Here are some tips for securing your pre-drink as the hottest pre-party in town and avoiding common pitfalls:
  • 1. Planning Properly
Make sure to specify a pre-drink start and end time when inviting friends over. My friends and I pre-drink anytime between 9:30-12:30pm, depending on our evening plans. Try this: work backwards to figure out a suitable evening game plan. First, determine what time you want to arrive at your final destination. Second, account for transportation time, including parking or hailing a taxi. Third, decide that time your pre-drink must start and end to satisfy these time requirements. If you are going to a hot, new club, plan to get there earlier than if you are going to an uncrowded bar.
When you invite friends over to your house, make sure to inform them of your plans after the pre-drink and invite them to join (this is basic common courtesy, but many people implicitly assume others understand this). Tell your friends what time your pre-starts and ends so that they can plan their nights accordingly (i.e., come over for 10pm, because we want to leave for Plan B Bar at 11:30pm and they don’t take reservations).
Tell your friends whether or not they can bring other guests. If you would prefer a smaller, more intimate gathering, say it! Otherwise, you don’t know how many people will show up at your front door. Additionally, if a friend of yours mentions that he or she is inviting someone alone (particularly a new girlfriend or boyfriend), ask for the name ahead of time. That way when they introduce themselves, you are more likely to remember them.
  • 2. Be Nice
When your guests arrive, give them a sincere greeting and introduce yourself to those you have not met. Offer to take their coats and ask if they would like a glass for their drinks. This shows respect to your guests and in return, your guests are more likely to respect you and your home. Nothing is worse than a snobby host who forces guests to walk on egg shells.
It is likely that many of your guests will not know each other, and as the result, it is important for you to introduce them. Engage them on a topic that they are both interested in, and if you notice they are hitting it off, casually slip away. This not only enhances your art of conversation, but it allows you to speak to several different party guests at the same time. If you notice small cliques developing around your home, don’t stress. As people have a few more drinks and chill out, they will warm up. If you invite one friend who doesn’t know anyone, spend extra time with them. After all, they are there to see you!
  • 3. Have The Right Supplies – Glasses, Snacks and Garnishes

If you remember anything from this blog, it is this: always keep large amounts of ice in your freezer! I can’t tell you how many pre-drinks I have attended where the host forgot to make enough ice. Sipping a warm vodka cranberry or scotch-sans-rocks is extremely unstoking.

Put out plastic cups or glasses onto your counter space so that people can serve themselves (despite what I said in the earlier section about offering a glass, a few people might beat you to it). This lets people know which glasses you intend on using, so they don’t head straight for your favourite coffee mug. Try to keep the proper glasses on hand. Go to the local dollar store to buy tumblers and wine glasses. No one likes plastic and it’s horrible for the planet. The clean up will be a little longer, but you will have a great collection of glasses for parties to come.
Keep garnishes like lemons, limes and celery salt available for guests to bedazzle their drinks.
Always have a secret stash of popcorn, pretzels or chips and salsa that you can serve at your convenience. A guest might inform you that they ‘forgot’ to eat dinner or they are getting too drunk. Having small snacks will curb the booze munchies and will keep your guests from getting sick. My room mate is a master at putting together little appetizers before people come over. She usually serves up pita chips and salsa, and a homemade hummus served with endives – healthy, full of protein and acceptable for almost every eater.
  • 4. Set The Mood
Make sure to remove clear enough walking area for guests to freely move around. This might mean rearranging the furniture for extra room, or pulling kitchen chairs out from under the table to allow for extra seating.
Clear boots and shoes from your entrance area so that guests have room to put their own shoes when they walk in. A cramped entrance space is annoying an unnecessary, so try to avoid it. In addition, refrain from asking guests to remove their shoes, especially the ladies!  While men can casually slip off loafers, women’s footwear is comprised of intricate  zippers, clasps, straps and buckles, which takes forever to put on and off. In addition, your guests might be wearing mismatched socks and feel uncomfortable. Refrain from sounding like a tight ass, and mop your floors the next day. It is not a big deal!
Have a playlist of songs cued up and attach your ipod/computer to a power source. Great playlists of songs keeps your crowd upbeat and keeps you with your guests, not fiddling with the music. Make some easy genius playlists on iTunes that you think your guests will like.
*So here you have it: the recipe for a killer pre-drink. Have fun and enjoy yourself!
Erica Adelson

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