I recently hosted an end of year party for parents of my daughter’s current classmates and next year’s classmates (she is in preschool and the classes will be mixed up next year so she will make new friends). It was co-hosted by another family and the goal was to get to know the parents better for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to celebrate our first school year together, get to know each other better for next year and to have a fun time. I used our Lantern Party invitations because to me the design said “outside” and “fun”. Here is how the invitation looks with the initial design of a black background:
I chose a navy background and had half printed with “bring a side to share” and half printed with “bring a dessert to share” so that we would have a good assortment of food:
I also had some matching 2″ round labels made up and kept them blank. These were for guests to write their name on the label and stick it to their glass so they would know whose solo cup or wine glass belonged to whom.
Most of us didn’t know one another very well so I wanted to come up with an icebreaker that wouldn’t be cheesy or uncomfortable or so incredibly lame that guests would just want to avoid it all together. After guests arrived, I asked them to write on a piece of paper a story, a fact or a talent that their spouse possesses. I asked them to leave off any names and to fold the paper and put it in a bowl. Later, after dinner, I asked everyone to gather and picked a guest at random to pull one of the papers from the bowl. We then had to guess who was who and passed the bowl until all papers had been removed. It was so fantastic and we learned some great things including:
- One of the men wore a women’s blouse on the couples first date
- One of the women had been hit in the head by a 9 iron when she was 9 years old
- One of the men had a Mohawk and green hair in high school
- One of the men was the Star Wars Club President in high school
Needless to say, we learned things about one another that we never would have learned and had great things to talk about long into the night. In fact, many guests underestimated the time they needed their babysitter that evening and couldn’t believe how quickly the time passed.
This was a great way to get everyone talking and involved. I will definitely use this tactic if I ever host a large gathering where folks don’t really know one another and I can’t wait to learn the interesting, strange facts of the guests.