How to Host an At-Home Meet-up

An intimate Lolita Dinner meet my friend hosted at their home.

Most Lolitas will agree that Meet-ups are an important part of Lolita culture. Whether you're a lifestyle Lolita who dresses up every day, or someone who just enjoys it among other hobbies, all Lolitas like to dress up in their best coord to "meet up" with friends.

However, if you're part of an active comm, meet-ups can start to get expensive between museum trips, fancy tea or dinners, tickets to local events or fairs, or other miscellaneous outings. 

That's why I've been thinking, wouldn't it be nice to have a low-key meet-up at home once in a while?

The only thing about having meet-ups in your own home, is that not everyone is willing to open their home to the comm. Of course everyone will have varying viewpoints on that- perhaps they live in an apartment with limited space and parking, or with relatives, or on a college campus, and it's just not doable. 

If this is the case, you can always consider looking for the following cheap or free locations for a DIY meet-up:
  • Community Center, sometimes found in neighbourhoods or apartment clusters
  • A local park, with a covered seating area
  • If you attend a church, perhaps they have a room that can be used for 'meetings'
  • I even attended a potluck party in a karate dojo, which the owner let us use after hours!
So, do you have a location in mind, if not your own abode? Then without further ado, let's check out some pointers about hosting your own "at-home" meet-up.

1. Decide your theme, possible time frame, and menu. These are all necessary before inviting others over. Will it be potluck-style? Afternoon tea? Will it be an evening event, with alcohol? All of these things will effect the wording of your invitations, and preparations you will need to make.

2. Invitations. They do not have to be physical snail mail invitations, but if you have the time and inspiration, it wouldn't hurt! Of course, most comms are connected on Facebook these days, and creating a simple event page would do. I would think of a date in advance, and check with your local mods to make sure it doesn't conflict with an event they are planning. 

You can also ask your mods' help in creating the event page for you; they may be able to set it up so only members of your Facebook group can view the event. Doing this can ensure privacy, especially while holding a meet at your own home or nearby. 

You don't necessarily need to release your address on the event page. At a recent potluck meet, a mod required that you RSVP and state what you'd be bringing, in order to receive her address in a private message. 

3. Shopping. Once I have an idea for a meet in my head, I start casually shopping up to two months in advance. That way, if I see something cute and cheap for decorations or favours, I just pick it up! 

I'm currently planning an at-home meet myself; and now that Valentine's Day is around the corner, there's tons of cute cellophane bags, decorations, and little favours on sale for as little as $1 right now. And I am sure there will be plenty of cute things left over on clearance, after Valentine's Day! So what a better time to save these things, instead of scrambling when I need them?

While shopping for food, keep in mind any information garnered from your RSVPs. Does anyone have food allergies? If doing a pot-luck, what things have people already said they're bringing? 

Don't forget the essentials, if having people over at your house- paper towels, TP, hand soap, anything you would normally need to have! 

4. If you're doing a tea party, brush up on tea etiquette. This isn't necessarily a need-to-know thing, but it may inspire you for a trivia game (more on that later), give you ideas on how to set the table and what dishes you need, and even aid you in which kinds of foods should be served when.

5. Day-of Prepations. Be sure to do these things the morning of, or night before:

  • Prep any food items you can, to help save time.
  • Make a little extra room in the fridge, in case a guest brings something they must keep chilled.
  • Be prepared to welcome people into your home. I like to pretend they will be there for the first time- make sure the space is tidy, clutter is put away, and the kitchen and bathrooms are stocked with all essentials.
  • Make your home easy to get around- no large obstacles or things blocking the way. Try placing chairs against the wall instead of crowding them all around a table. Creating a "flow" through your home will also make the space seem larger, even if there's several people coming over. 
  • If you have any valuables or personal items, such as jewelry, medications, or portable electronics, move them to your bedroom or private space. 
  • Decorate, if necessary. Even a simple tablecloth can go a long way to dress up a table! 
  • It may also be a good idea to prepare a side room or front closet for coats and bags, in case your guests need to set anything down. 
  • Don't forget to check your event page in the hours before your event! People may be lost, running late, asking if you need anything, or cancel at the last minute. 
6. Once your guests start arriving...
  • Have light music playing in the background. I recommend using Pandora to create a custom music station ahead of time. Some ideas for a Lolita station can be Classical and Malice Mizer; Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Hatsune Miku, and K-pop; or even Disney and other movie soundtracks, if that strikes your fancy.
  • Have something for guests to do right away. Maybe have a finger food available for snacking and socializing, or a DIY photo booth. Stock a photo booth with a selfie stick or Polaroid camera, and any funny props you like!
  • Be prepared to help people park if necessary; know your street and surrounding areas in case you need overflow parking. 
7. To keep parties from getting stale, or to break the ice, it might be good to have some games in mind. You can have board games available, a video game console set-up, or, prepare your own Lolita-themed game for when all of your guests arrive!

Some Lolitas have created their own versions of popular games, such as "Lolitas Against Humanity" (based on "Cards Against Humanity", of course.) It is pretty easy to get creative and come up with your own Lolita versions of popular games, such as, "Never Ever Have I Ever", Charades, Pictionary, or "Who am I?"

While trying to think of some games, I made up my own Lolita version of "Scattergories". I created a few, and decided to share with you for your own use! (If you think of more Scattergories, I would love to hear them in the comments!)

And this one may be a little more difficult, but I tried to make a Gothic-Specific one as well:

Scattergories is a great game for a bigger group, because people can play by teams as well as individually. Plus, it's a pretty off-the-top-of-your-head game, so people are bound to get laughing and having a good time with the responses!

Also, if you found some interesting information while researching tea etiquette, it might be fun to play Tea Trivia! Look up different tea practices from around the world, and interesting facts about different teas. 

Feel free to come up with your own games as well! Do you have a favourite you like to play at meets?

8. Before your guests leave, thank them for coming! Offer up left overs to anyone who would like to take them home. If you prepared party favours, make sure you don't forget them, and that everyone gets one on their way out. 

And of course, everything after that is easy! If you make sure to pick up trash throughout the meet as you see it, clean up should not be too difficult at all.

Have you ever hosted a meet-up in your home before? What did you do, and how did it go? I would love to hear all about it! 

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