5 Tips For A Perfect Matchmaking Party

Bring all your single friends together by hosting a party, and you’ll increase their chances of making a spontaneous love connection. Just follow the five tips below to make it a fun night for everyone!

By Laura Schaefer

h, spring — the time when meddling friends poke their noses into the lives of their single counterparts and attempt to play Cupid. Wait, what’s that you say? You’re the meddling friend? At least take our advice, then, and be subtle about it! Here are five tips that will help you throw
After all, you never know who will click.
together a fun (and effective) party while encouraging your single friends to forge their own love connections:

1. Don’t tell anyone it’s a matchmaking party
If you have bunches of single friends who insist they don’t want to be set up on dates, respect their wishes. Instead, let them think they all met each other naturally at your get-together. After all, everyone needs to eat. Until the wedding, that is — then you can tell them all about your crafty, double-purpose dinner parties. Jon Schmig, 37, a statistician in Minneapolis, MN, says, “Just get them together. Proximity and alcohol are half the battle. Maybe incorporate a sly game of sorts that requires each person to meet and learn something about the other guests without needed the simultaneous attention of the whole crowd.”

2. Invite an eclectic mix of people
After all, you never know who will click. Wayne Elise, founder and professional dating coach, advises: “Try mixing up people like you’d toss together an interesting salad. I usually try to
Three mistakes people make when playing matchmaker to their friends
By professional matchmaker, DeAnna Lorraine (

1. Setting two people up that have nothing or very little in common (for example: they’re both single parents and/or like cats). One or two shared interests or commonalities isn’t necessarily enough to make a good match.

2. Trying to pair people who are physically “mismatched,” such as someone who’s into marathons and someone who’s sedentary. You should only set people up who you truly feel will be attracted to each other. Physical appearance is very important, so don’t try to push someone who you know isn’t quite up to a friend’s standards but “has a heart of gold” or a “great personality” into a blind date situation. It generally isn’t going to work and will just lead to disappointment for everyone.

3. Not getting enough specific information about what people are looking for and how they define their preferred “type” before they start trying to match them up with other singles. If you’re going to play matchmaker with your friends, be sure to understand what is on each person’s “non-negotiable list” and “wish list” of attributes, along with any deal-breakers, and find out what each person typically finds physically attractive in a date.
invite at least one Communist. Make a rule that your guests must each bring a ‘date’ who they believe is more interesting than they are, and that they must submit their date choice ahead of time for approval. This is the best sort of networking; it’s controlled and culled.” Don’t put all the pressure on one potential couple, either. The best matchmaking parties create opportunities for multiple potential couples to connect. If the whole party is being thrown just to put two people in a room together, everyone will stare at them all night long. The idea isn’t to make your friends squirm; rather, it’s to get people together who wouldn’t meet otherwise. Don’t go overboard with your expectations — or forced seating charts.

3. Create a relaxed, romantic mood
Ashley Kaylor, a professional matchmaker in New York, suggests: “First, you need to choose a beautiful location. Second, create a romantic ambiance.” Choose flattering lighting — a few candles, maybe? — and put on a classy crooner for your background music. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to dress up. Think ahead of time about fun topics to discuss at the dinner table. Give your guests an opportunity to shine by bringing up things they feel passionately about… as long as it’s not religion or politics. “As a host, you should strike a balance between schmoozing, facilitating conversation and giving people their space,” counsels DeAnna Lorraine, an internationally-acclaimed dating coach and matchmaker known as “Ms. Hitch.” She adds that “a good host will introduce people and get them talking but not dominate the conversation or hover too long, which will prevent two people from really connecting. Don’t interrupt two people already talking by introducing another person to either of them.”

4. Don’t skimp on the booze
Beth McIntyre, 31, a children’s librarian in Boston, MA sums it up perfectly: “Buy a lot of wine. Like… cases of wine.” It’s true that a cocktail or two can makes everything easier when you’re meeting new people. If you want your friends to mesh, have an abundant bar or choose one special concoction to mix especially for your party (think mojitos, sidecars or something else that fits well with your menu) and augment your selection with beer or wine. Give different people the chance to play bartender.

5. Make it a memorable night
“Have a central theme for the party and have people dress up to match — such as Hawaiian, 80’s, cocktail, or all-white for the party’s colors,” suggests Lorraine. A fun theme immediately gives people something to talk about and participate in, since everyone had to make a little extra effort to track down the outfit they’re wearing or items they’ve contributed to the evening. “You can also have all the men bring a tie, put them in a big bowl when they walk in, and then have the ladies each take one and find its owner,” Lorraine continues. “Other great ideas to create chemistry among your attendees includes dividing the party into teams (based on who you think would make good matches) and playing a game, like Catch Phrase.”

Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls and the forthcoming sequel, The Secret Ingredient (Simon & Schuster, June 2011).
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