“Make sure you have a good relationship with the venue. When I first started the socials, it was easy to encourage people to attend. Then they pushed the prices up without notice, and I’ve started to feel very uncomfortable about promoting the club. It is a decision you have to make from the start…is your purpose to provide a chance for friends to get together, is it about introducing new people to the scene, or is it about making money?”
Ex- London Social Organiser
After a few forays into commercial and private swing parties, many people will rapidly come to the conclusion that they could more easily organise their own event- controlling the venue, guest list, and notably saving themselves a fair bit of money along the way. If this is a project you want to take on, there are a number of things to consider.
No date is ever going to work for everyone. If you have some reliable friends or couples you know are 99% sure to show up, try to work with them. Consider holidays, arrangements with children, and what other large events are on the same weekend. Is it the weekend of a big festival? Is there a commercial swing party on the same day? Scout around broadly to try to find a nice quiet weekend. Once you’ve set the date, you can rapidly find out who is a potential invitee and who isn’t. This will save you a lot of time.
I would say its really important to create the kind of environment you’d like to experience yourself. I also think its important to know your guest list as that could make or break the vibe of the party. The venue is important, it’s good to have a few different spaces so that people can chill as well as play. It should also be comfortable, clean and inviting, and there should always be a host or someone available to keep an eye on things or to answer questions.
Miss Genie, 30’s, sexually liberated woman
Location– Chances are, you won’t be hosting at your place, unless you have a large and luxurious property in the middle of a huge and liberated city. However nice your country retreat might be, you’ll struggle to get guests. By and large, people won’t leave London. Beyond the M25, Londoners may well burst into flames, for the reaction you’ll get. Travel costs and difficulties in getting there can scupper your plans. Most people will have several things they are planning to do that weekend, and won’t want to allocate you the time, especially if it’s your first party, they can’t stay over or they are worried they might not like it. Single girls in particular are likely to not show up, as there is an element of potentially being trapped in an unfamiliar place with an unknown crowd. You need to start with the right location. Central London will be the most expensive to rent somewhere, but it is also going to get you the most guests. The venue needs to be near good public transport links, and ideally have some free parking nearby for those travelling in from elsewhere. Easy to find is helpful. For every travel barrier you add, you are going to lose guests. People may have other plans the same night, before or after, or just like to keep their options open. Even the large commercial party companies can end up calling off events if they aren’t central, so you will struggle as an unknown organiser. You’ve been warned.
The property– Unless you are fortunate to have a reliable friend with a huge place you can use, your choice will be a big hotel suite or a short term rental property. Given that most advertised places will say strictly no parties, you will need to scout somewhere out very carefully, both online and in person before the event. Pictures mean nothing – they will only show the best aspects. What is the access like? Is the entrance to the building welcoming, or will it send your guests scurrying off at the last minute with broken windows and glue sniffers in the walkways? Is there security at the building? Will it be easy for people to come and go, or get outside for a smoke if so inclined? Are there enough bathrooms for the size of your party? How close are the neighbours? Can you contain the noise and music? Is there a large, open central area where people can mingle, and get a drink? Are there separate rooms which can be used as a more private play space away from this? Where will people change, and store their clothes? How easy is it going to be to clean up mess afterwards (and oh, boy will there be mess- from spilled red wine to high heel scuffs to used condoms every nook and cranny). How easy is it going to be to get whatever you need to prepare to? If you are carrying drinks, decorations and sheets up 6 floors with a broken lift, you’ll quickly regret your choice of venue.
Look carefully at the terms and penalties in the contract if you are renting- if there is a penalty for damage or for breaking non party conditions, make sure you’ve accounted for the full possible cost (£500 for a broken bed is no laughing matter). Some rental apps or agencies will also track your feedback and bear in mind the effect this could have on any future plans you have for using the service.
Ambience – Your venue needs to feel special and welcoming. How are you going to do a rapid makeover to create a sexy atmosphere with the space you have? You’ll want to set aside the whole day before the party to setting up. You’ll need to bring cleaning supplies, give the place a good going over, switch the bedsheets to dark or luxurious colours and fabrics (a good quality waterproof undersheet is a definite must), pack away pillows and duvets out of sight, and consider how you can best protect any other furniture that play might ensue on without making it look like the place has been covered with dustsheets. How is the lighting? Lighting can transform a mood. Battery powered fairylights in white can give a special feel, as can battery operated artificial tealights (be careful considering candles- risk of wax spill or fire are real). Switching the lightbulbs for red ones can instantly transform the vibe. What touches can you add that will create the setting you and your guests will enjoy? Does it work as a unified theme?
All things considered, you may prefer to rent a space designated for parties- if this is the case, what are the restrictions on alcohol and who will run the bar? What are the time limits? What sort of play space will there be? Is it suitably private, with the right furniture? Is it going to be cost effective? Running a party from a private room in a bar or club is unlikely to work out in most cases – unless the landlord is inclined to participate. There are a number of sex clubs and events venues that cater to the swing lifestyle- you might find it easier to negotiate a party deal with the licencee (say, a VIP area and other touches) for hosting your event, and rely on the set up, bar, security and equipment already being there for you to use.
The guest list
When inviting, always invite double the amount. You need to network to get the reliable numbers and build your reputation. Couples will attend if they know at least another couple there or a couple they want to meet. Let them get to know each other beforehand and build anticipation. Guestlists work that way. Organising an event isn’t easy- it’s a lot of hard work. If you do it often it seems almost like a full time job. Remember faces and names, it can be hard, but make your guests feel special and they will likely attend next time.
Mae, 30, unicorn
Size matters– How big is your party going to be? It might be a good idea to start very small and learn from what works and what doesn’t, before you scale things up. A nice dinner with say, one or two other couples can realistically be moved to a large hotel room for end of evening frolics. Anything more and you’ll need a much bigger space. It can be difficult to know how big it’s going to get, and plenty of new party organisers have ended up with it being just themselves, and perhaps a lone male stalking around, from what ought to have been a set gender ratio party of 10. How well can you scale up or down your plans to suit the numbers?
Who are your guests? – There are many types of swingers. As well as considering gender ratios, you need to consider the ratios of the types of people you are inviting, and how they will work together. Are the couples soft or full swap? Hotwives or unicorn hunters? Singles, couples, polycules? Straight, gay, bisexual, heteroflexible? Cisgender or trans? Will you allow single men, or just couples and single girls? If it’s the latter, consider the motivation for the single girls may be reduced significantly. Are there already existing friendship groups you can invite together? What is the age range of your guests? Will everyone feel comfortable together? Will they be attracted to each other? Who already knows whom, and how do they get on? Are there existing friendship groups you can invite together? Nobody wants to feel like they are the only one who knows nobody at a party, or that they don’t fit in for some reason. Consider who your core likely attendees are going to be, and ask them to recommend people they know and like. If you are approaching people to be guests from cold, you’ll need to spend time talking to them to build trust and meet them in person to establish they will be okay, and that they are in fact who they say they are. Consider the time and travel implications of this. Most commercial party sites will not allow you to advertise a private event on the forums, and may well ban you if you try.
A great way to build a sense of familiarity and heighten sexual tension before the event is to make use of technology and set up a group on Whatsapp, KIK, telegram or other messenger devices (not everyone will have the same ones). When your guests have been invited, offer to put them on the chat group. They can see who will be going, chat beforehand and get an idea of who they might click with in person. People can become great friends in this way, even if they rarely meet in person. You’ll need to set ground rules for conduct on the chat groups, and act as both moderator and entertainer pretty much 24 hours a day. You’ll need to handle complaints from potential guests about other guests, questions, changes of plan, problems that crop up, maintaining banter and flow. It can be great fun to have, say, selfie contests, make up limericks about each other, or ask people about their preferences (for drinks, food, and sexual play). Once people are looking forward to meeting each other, they are much more likely to show up on the day. Even so, bear in mind that some people will cancel a few days before, and some will simply not make it on the night. This can be from 0-100%. That’s just how it goes.
Most people appreciate feeling valued and you may find people volunteer to help out. Can someone make a song list and be the DJ? Mix cocktails? Help greet guests as they arrive? Help lead the chat in the run up to the event? Help recruit and vet people? It’s helpful if people feel like a part of the project rather than a customer, but you also have to be completely prepared to manage without them if they don’t show up or come very late. It’s great to give people roles they want, but always have a robust backup plan. Giving people roles makes them feel special, valued and important, and people on the swing scene absolutely love to feel important! One of the most successful commercial party organisers I know of has built their empire on just this premise- they get people to plug away heart and soul for free at roles with an enthusiasm they could never have generated by employing them, simply by giving them titles, a little power and kudos.
Your starter party won’t have that kind of clout, but you may be able to use the same strategy on a more personal level- if people want to impress you or be liked by you – cement their relationship/friendship with you- then they are going to go out of their way to show you just how amazingly they can perform in a role they enjoy. Your’s truly is no more immune to the lure of demonstrating my skill and usefulness for someone I like than anyone else is. We live in a world where everyone feels undervalued and unappreciated, so when we come to the scene to build our little sandcastles and recreate ourselves in the image we like to see, we are vulnerable to exploitation. You can use this to your advantage. It’s not necessarily an unkind thing to do; just keep in mind that your helpers will have their own rewards they are looking to get out of it and be sure you deliver on these. You will then be considered a great leader and social networker. If you don’t deliver on the needs of your helpers they will become resentful. Think carefully about what it is they need from you to remain happy.
Costs and adding value
Charging– Is this going to be a free event? If so, what will it cost you? If you are looking to break even, what do you need to charge, and how many guests will you need? Can you get them to pay in advance? How does the cost compare to the commercial parties? Are you going to charge everyone the same? Many events are free for single girls or very discounted. Will you do the same? You will, most likely, find the single women to be in shortest supply and hardest to retain. What happens if you end up with none? Can you get a unicorn heard on board with your event – it would certainly help.
Adding value – Some things to are consider are what you’ll be including. Can people sleep over afterwards? If so, can will you add a charge for this? How much space is there for this and how will you allocate it fairly? Is it first paid first served? Is there food? Snacks? Drinks? Free alcohol? If you plan to charge for alcohol have you considered you’d need a liquor licence? How much alcohol do you want people to have, considering you are responsible for controlling the party and maintaining safety?
Do you have entertainment? A show? Striptease? Sexy party games? Ice breaker activities? What is it that the people are actually perceiving they will get from what you are offering? How can you make it tempting? Can you share nice photos of the venue? Discuss the things that will be happening? You need to convince them that they are getting a great deal and can trust you, to both not run off with their money or put on a poor event, and to maintain safe and sexy environs, where they can relax and enjoy themselves. Single girls will be the hardest to convince, have the most other offers and be the most likely to bail for a last minute date. Think hard about what it is you are offering them in particular to ensure they come. There are a few things I’d suggest:
a) a sense of belonging: Make sure they aren’t the only single girl. Ask them to bring female friends. Consider what you will do if they ask to bring a male to the party. Although they may still be happy to swap and swing, they may not. But if you refuse, they most likely won’t attend. They aren’t a bowl of peanuts for the couples to share.
b) positive attention: Use your group chat to allow them to show off and feel adored. Things can actually get quite competitive in the selfie stakes! I’d never realised the easiest way to get beautiful women to send you hundreds of naked poses was to get them competing against the others.
c) Really good looking men and women, especially single men. Most of your unicorns don’t plan on being unicorns forever. If there are men they want to meet that they consider they have a chance for more than sex with, they have an incentive to show up. Add too many single men, and the men of couples will complain that it’s a ‘cock fest’. It’s a fine line. You also have to consider the atmosphere of a party that ends up male-heavy can seem incredibly intimidating to everyone. Choose very carefully.
By and large, the main attraction for all your other guests is going to be the single girls themselves. Consider what the unicorns are drawn to, and what puts them off. The better you can make it for them, the more of them you will get, and the more likely your other guests are to make the effort to attend. After all, who doesn’t love the idea of being in a party full of unicorns?
Hosting your own party can be quite an experience, but because you will be so busy both before and during the night it can also be exhausting and stressful. You may feel like you didn’t really get a chance to enjoy it in the way you’d hoped or make the most of it in the way the guests did. On the plus side, if you invite people to your events they will probably invite you to theirs too, so it can still be worthwhile. There is also a bit of an intellectual/power buzz about hosting your own event and arranging it all that you simply can’t replicate as a guest, and can be a great bonding activity to organise with a partner or small friend group. It’s a steep learning curve, and your fourth party will be head and shoulders above your first. When you attend other private parties, note what works well and where they fail. It can take something as simple as the wrong light levels or temperature to ruin the mood. Be sure to show your guests you value them personally and keep in touch with them between parties – this will keep them close to you and available for the future, as well as likely to say good things about your events to others they speak to. People who are only ever contacted when you want them to make up numbers for something will feel used and jaded. They may choose to go elsewhere.
Hosting is by no means a compulsory part of your evolution as a libertine or swinger, however it does often come up as an idea in the early to mid stages of your development. With these issues in mind, you may be able to pull off a truly stunning event, but there will always be compromises to be had between the various factors. Have fun my baby ducklings, and send me my free ticket on twitter.