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Event Hosting

So, you want to host a Polydelphia event?

Polydelphia is a member-driven online and real-life community for non-monogamous folks. Hosting your first event can be a bit daunting, but with attention to some key considerations you can have an inclusive, fun, safe event that will build community and connection -- without too much effort!

Read this guide -- but also message any Steering Committee member if you have questions about creating an event.

Set Your Tone, Vibe, and Intentions

The first thing you need to do as an event host is figure out what kind of experience you want your guests to have. Loud, fun, lots of people? Maybe a brunch or happy hour in a public space. Quiet, with contemplation or adult conversations? Community spaces or living rooms might work. Activity-based? Consider the season and accessibility needs, or adapting it to be kid-friendly! Geared for a particular crew -- ladies? Queer folks? Cheese lovers? Kinksters? Dads? Is the goal romantic or friendship connections, newbie-friendly or something a little more… adventurous?

Polydelphia events & outings have so far included:

  • Happy Hours at Frankford Hall, Victoria Freehouse, Gojjo, Beer Love,
  • Full Front Street Burlesque Show
  • Make-Your-Own Pizza parties
  • Queer & Poly Lady Bowling
  • Casual porchfront cocktails after work
  • Apple Picking
  • Polydelphia co-founder Tiffany’s killer band Post War Dream (shoutout to my girl!)
  • Valentine’s Day Mixers involving a chocolate fountain
  • Game Nights @ member’s homes

Not to imply that all of these locations/venues were perfect in all ways. It’s a learning process.

Ok, this is the hard part. Picking a good location involves considering several important factors. Here they are, in no particular order of importance (they are all important!).

Accessibility of the physical space

Though your home or desired location might not be perfect in all ways, you should know if it is wheelchair accessible, has a lot of stairs, has strong smells or odors that might cause irritation, has a ton of loud ambient noise, would be inappropriate or unsafe for kids, etc. Some places just are going to be loud -- a concert, for example -- but other times there may be choices you can make as a host to improve accessibility. For example, look for locations with fewer/minimal stairs, single/gender neutral bathrooms, GF/dairy-free options on the menu, etc. Though few locations will satisfy every desirable quality, attention should be paid and a host should take responsibility for answering questions like these or be willing to reach out to an event space to get answers as needed.

Safety and Comfort of All Attendees

As event hosts, we understand that we need to choose locations for events that are going to be safe -- physically, and from other threats like harassment (racial, homophobic, sexual, any kind) -- to the best of our knowledge. This means that if you hear (or are told) that a location has a reputation for being unsafe, uncomfortable or unwelcoming to queer folks, POCs, femmes, workers, immigrants/refugees, etc -- choose another spot. And we should keep in mind, if hosting an event in a private home, that we assume any associated risks if something goes wrong.

We also understand that we cannot control everything -- please make sure to have thought about what you will do if a safety issue arises on the spot. What can you deal with yourself? When do you seek help, and who do you call (backup from friends, a bouncer, a manager, law enforcement, medical assistance, etc.? Please also remember that police involvement makes many people, especially people of color, less safe, so make such decisions bearing that fact in mind.

It is the host/organizer’s responsibility to inform the admins of any safety issue(s) that may arise at or related to your event, as well as whether/how they were resolved, to ensure that any appropriate next steps can be discussed and pursued.

Friggin’ Parking & Other Transportation Woes

How will people get to your event? Access to public transportation can help folks without cars come thru. However, many of our members live in the suburbs, and if you’re having an event that includes kids or that you want to be accessible to folks who might have physical limitations/mobility issues, try to identify a spot that has at least some parking options close by (ideally ones that don’t break the bank! Which brings us to….)

Cost of Attendance

A truly accessible event should mean that at least some members can attend, spend basically no money, and still have a pretty good time. Ask yourself: how can everyone afford to come and participate? Choose restaurants or bars that have a range of price options including GOOD ONES on the lower end -- and order some shared appetizers for everyone if you can. Be wary of any place with a dress code. Keep in mind the combined cost of attendance for members -- transportation to/from, cost, tips, equipment rentals, childcare, etc.

Cost of Hosting

Hosting can come with some up-front costs. Sometimes a venue might want you to put down some cash to hold or book a space. Maybe you want to purchase tickets at a group price in advance. Having a dinner party or mixer? You’re probably going to need to buy some food and supplies. Here are some tips:

  • Potlucks and similarly-structured events naturally have fewer costs since everyone contributes!
  • Look for group deals and post the info to FB in advance to gauge interest
  • Ask a trusted friend or partner to take charge of collecting donations to cover prep costs at the door while you greet your guests & mingle
  • To recoup expenses while keeping more cash-strapped members in mind, let your guests know you’ll accept additional donations to cover folks who can’t pay the full suggested amount

Best Practice to Get Your Money Back: First, announce on your event page the estimated costs of the event and how much each member would ideally donate ("suggested donation"). When paired with a reminder announcement at the event itself and an official "passing of the hat" moment or strategically placed, well-marked donations cup, this can have great results.

Any suggested donations collected should go directly towards event costs and not for personal profit.

Kids & Family Friendliness

Can kids attend? Can they fully participate? Will there be childcare? Will there be kid-friendly activities? Is the space safe and appropriate for all ages? Polydelphia loves whole-family events, but definitely be clear that the responsibility for the child is with the parent/guardian unless you have a qualified/experienced childcare provider on retainer. However, there are some easy steps to make an event child-friendlier. Hosting a discussion group for adults? Have a nearby “kids corner” with coloring books and an area for playing with their own toys. Potluck? Let attendees know if kids will be in the mix so they can plan their contributions to be more child-friendly (not spicy etc).

Alcohol, Substances & Sobriety

Currently, Polydelphia has no official policy on alcohol or substance use at events. However, hosts should make it their job to promote a responsible and respectful environment regardless of substance use, and there should always be options for sober participation. Make sure you have beverages without alcohol (and some regular brownies if you know what I mean) and provide smoke-free areas for guests to breathe easily. Want your event to be sober or substance-free? Just announce it in your event description.

Regularity

Is this a one-hit wonder or a stay and play situation? While no host should feel pressured to make their event a monthly, seasonal, or regular thing, recurrent or standing events are appreciated by the membership. Worried about the work? See if you can recruit a few buds to share the load. The Polydelphia FB page is also a great place to solicit partners for longer-term projects or event series.

Other Helpful Tips

  • Name your event! Specify "Polydelphia _________" or come up with something catchy or cute
  • Upload an Event Photo: From your own collection or the web, a striking photo works wonders in getting positive attention
  • Invitations and Publicity: Facebook’s invitation settings interact with the privacy settings of our group to make inviting large numbers of people difficult. Invite whom you can, and also post it on the main Polydelphia page, where the whole group can see it and join or invite others.
  • Consider using nametages with room for name & pronoun. They can help break the ice and promote conversation.

We know this is a lot to take in. We recommend giving these topics some thought, then going for it! Your event idea is probably a great one, and the admins are happy to assist you every step of the way.

Still need ideas? Our FB Community forum is full of folks all over the greater Philadelphia area who might be able to tip you off to a good event idea or location.