How I Throw Parties: A Thread (I am not the *most* experienced party-thrower, and most parties I've thrown have been for heavy nerd populations, so my strategies are targeted for this. And maybe my points are obvious to anyone who throws parties, but I like listing them anyway)
1. The people. I try really hard to get slightly more women than men (to dampen ambient male sexual aggression) and I have a 30% max rationalist population (or in-head-nerds) target. Cast a wider net for buner/festival/authentic connection ppl to balance it out.
2. The space. LIGHTING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, get it good and dim and inviting. Lots of flexible spaces of varying shapes for ppl to naturally congregate. Get the food/drink out of the kitchen or else the kitchen will be 100% packed. Have big space, loud space, quiet space.
3. The decor. Decor that makes ppl feel a bit altered is good, like you're on an adventure to a different world. I like odd pieces for conversation starters, things that are a little startling or strange, things people can point at if they don't know what else to talk about. 3b. In contrast to the strangeness, I also strongly prefer decor that communicates "you belong here" - the feeling of being lived in, soft, handmade (collections of low-effort paintings, floor cushions), that indicates maybe you could mess up and it's fine.
4. Dress code. Lots of people come to parties with only one foot in the door, where they're not committed to bringing all of themselves to this party. You want to encourage buy-in, so requiring a dress code (aggressively stated in the invite) is important.
4b. Dress codes both indicate that people are taking "being here" seriously, and also make you feel unified with the rest of the group. We're all here looking dumb/cool/hot, *together.*
4c. Good dress codes, imo, are things that are *accessible - easy to do or make
- distinct - cannot pass as 'normal clothing'
- creative - rewards novel thinking
- identity-driven - encourages something unique to the wearer
6. Odds and Ends - lots of small interactive things around the area for people to use if they want - fidget toys, low-effort games (like jenga, tarot, http://askhole.io), weird books or magazines, prank objects that startle you when picked up, musical instruments, etc.
7. Party Rules - often I try things that prompt or govern behavior in some way, that can be integrated with the party itself - like "come improv as your character" or for example recently had a party where ppl could wear up to 3 labels as color-coded wristbands around the party.
9. If you're going to do any creative or physical games/exercises, do them early on to get people loosened up. Establishing 'permission to look silly' is important. Don't underestimate the importance of how much physical movement can be a social lubricant.
I like to stand by the door with a sleeve of solo cups and a sharpie. When someone comes in I write their name on the cup and it becomes Their Cup. This accomplishes several things: 1. I get to ask who they are if I don’t know them. Helps establish myself as the host, hit on cute girls, or filter out any crashers. 2. Helps anyone who might be managing re-socializing after trauma control their environment a little bit with Their Cup. 3. Replaces nametags
Promise secret activities but don’t let anyone know how many or what they are.
When setting up, understand how having actual people in the space will change the look/feel. Will lights be blocked by people standing around them? Will bass frequencies need to be turned up as more bodies enter the space?