Hosting a Swinger Speed Date Party

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Hosting a Swinger Speed Date PartyWe celebrated summer by hosting a Swinger Speed Date and Picnic this weekend. We participated in a swing speed date with Life on the Swingset in Desire last fall and wanted to try it with our group. The format of speed dating allows couples or singles to meet many people in a short amount of time. Each date is only four minutes so it is really just a preview. Although the dates are quick, it's a great way to get to know someone a little and determine whether there is some attraction. This was one of our favorite events and our group loved it!

Our speed date party was 8 couples, 2 single females and 2 single males. A few of the couples were long time friends or friends with benefits. The experience in the lifestyle ranged from none to ten years.

We combined the speed date with a picnic, and followed the event with a trip to our local on- premise swing club.

The Set-Up:

We co-hosted this event with good friends and they coordinated the food for the event.

We arranged for a picnic shelter rental at one of our local metroparks several months ahead. This required that we pay a fee up front. We also paid an additional fee for the alcohol permit.

We posted an open invitation on the online forum of our local meet and greet group. The event was open to couples and singles. The maximum number of participants was 20 couples, 5 single men, and 5 single women. Everyone rsvp'd and paid ahead of time via Paypal. The cost was $12 per person and covered the shelter rental, speed date supplies, the main dish for the picnic and tableware. The event was BYOB and we asked guests to bring an appetizer or dessert. We stressed punctuality for this event on the invitation. Whenever we host a paid event, we give a general location on the invitation and then send the address after invitees have paid.

There was some concern about hurt feelings if people did not get matches, but the group also had a strong desire to know who was interested. We took a vote and decided to give the matches by email the next day. Another member of our group put together a computer algorithm that we could use to quickly determine the matches. Since we only had 12 dating units and everyone met everyone this turned out to not be necessary, but it would definitely be helpful for a larger group.

The day before the party we printed name tags and Score! Sheets (What can I say? I love double entendre). Each name tag had the person's first name, their online screen name and their speed date number. Assigning numbers makes the organization at the event much easier. The score sheet was a table with the information from the name tags plus a check off for interested or not interested. At the bottom of the Score! Sheet we gave some ideas for conversation starters and the reminder, “Don't talk about the mundane.”

We arranged the dating progression ahead of time and printed a copy to refer to at the event. We used numbers to arrange the dates. The first round was all evens meet all odds. From there the evens and odds meet each other, so 1, 3, 5 meet 7, 9, 11 while 2, 4, 6 meet 8, 10, 12. The next round the remaining odds meet each other while the remaining evens do the same. This was a little tricky to work out. During the last round some couples were finished. If there is an odd number of dating units, some people will have a break during the rounds.

At the event we welcomed each person with their name tag. Each dating unit received a Score! Sheet and a Kasidie shag bag with a pencil, condoms, Schweddy Balls wipes, glow rings, breath mints and 3ormore.com swinger bracelets.

The Dates:

Couples dated as a couple so our total number of dating units was twelve. Our group was small so everyone in the group dated everyone else. If couples were not interested in singles or singles were not interested in other singles they were instructed to talk politely for the date and let them know that they don't play with singles. If a couple already knows one of their dates they still spend the time conversing.

Twelve dating units was really the perfect number. The total dating time from start to finish was about an hour and a half. In the future if we have more than twelve dating units we will organize the progression so people do not meet people they don't already know, or don't meet singles if they are not interested.

The dates were four minutes each. We had several rounds of dating, the first being the longest with 6 dates. We gave people a chance to refresh drinks and use the restroom between rounds. I used my cell phone timer and a Staples Easy Button (plus yelling “Switch!”) to signal the end of each date. If there is an odd number, and people are on break during the rounds, ask them to talk quietly to themselves and not distract the active daters.

Assigning numbers to the dating units makes the flow much smoother. We lined up all the even couples on the north side of the tables and they stayed in place for the entire first round while the odd couples (They love being called that!) move one space each date. Then we re- arranged using the pre-set progression. It works best if one side of the table is stationary and the other moves.

After the dating part of the evening we collected everyone's Score! Sheets. One thing I would do differently next time is to provide everyone with a copy of the Score! Sheet that they could keep to remember names and screen names and make their own notes.

The Basic Space:

We held our speed date at a large picnic shelter. The picnic tables were 10 -12 feet long. We had 6 couples (three couples on each side) at each table. This was perfect spacing so we weren't distracted by each others conversation. I would highly recommend hosting speed date in a space with long tables or many small four person tables. A conference room or a bar with many small high top tables would work great. In my opinion, people are more comfortable and more focused when they are sitting at tables, so I would suggest this as opposed to everyone standing or just sitting in chairs.

We had some low volume background music. Songza's “Crowd Pleasing Dance Mix” channel

is one that our group likes. You could choose another channel based on your event's theme. Just make sure the volume is low so people can converse easily. The music definitely needs to be much quieter than what you would play at a party, club or meet and greet.

Refreshments:

We followed the speed date with a picnic. We provided fried chicken, coleslaw and watermelon and tableware. We asked each dating unit to bring a side dish or dessert and their own drinks. This was a nice opportunity for people to continue socializing with people they liked from the dating. A pizza party or light catered buffet would work great too.

The Follow-Up:

After dinner most of our group went on to our local on-premise swing club. I arranged a group discount ahead of time. If we host again in the winter we will most likely use a hotel conference room and have a large suite or adjoining suites for an after party. This isn't a necessity, but since our event was on a Saturday night, many people do like to have an opportunity to play.

The next day we used the Score Sheets to figure out the matches. Each dating unit received their matches by email through the swinger website. This is the email: “Here are your matches. These are people who you marked as interested and they likewise marked that they are interested in you. Keep in mind that interested means different things to different people so please don't make assumptions, but do feel free to contact them and engage in further conversation.”

Future Planning:

This is an event we will definitely host again. Our turn-out was not as high as we would have liked, but the feedback from attendees was very positive. We personally loved this party. Typically we have 20 to 30 couples participate in paid events and 60+ couples participate in free events. One attendee told us that they felt like more people would come if there was not an interested/not interested component with the matches. They said they had friends who were afraid they wouldn't get any matches. Other attendees made it clear that the matching was a major incentive to them.

We could use the Score! Sheets as a tool each dating unit makes notes on for their own personal use rather than collecting them and providing matches. This is something that we will continue to assess when we set up our next Speed Date event.

We hope this article has been helpful to you! We'd love to hear about your Speed Date experiences or thoughts you have about Swinger Speed Dating in the comments section. You can read about other creative parties we've hosted here on the SwingSet website: Team Fun Articles.

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Lisa and her husband have been married for 16 years and non-monogamous for 4. They live in a swing state and are active in their local community organizing events. Lisa's passions include reading, writing, crochet, aquariums and building an amazing local and online swing community.

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