How to be the host with the most this Summer

We Kiwis are a social lot. 38% of New Zealanders primarily drink outside their own home and we love a good party—the outfits, the drinks, the company, and the cheer!

This puts a load of responsibility on our hosts to make sure we have a great time and by a great time, we mean a sociable and safe one! Responsible hosting is not about being a “kill joy” – it is about helping to make the good times even better, so whether it’s a work function or a private affair, here are some simple ideas to help you be the host with the most this summer:

  • Set expectations before the event begins and include a finish time on the invitations
  • If the event is stretching over a long time, organise activities to take the emphasis off drinking
  • Suggest to your guest that they plan how they will get home before they come and offer some options especially if they are coming from out of town
  • If it’s a work function, make sure it is clear who is in charge. This person needs to monitor their own drinking and set the right example
  • Make sure you’ve got a great selection of low and mid strength drinks and encourage guests to choose them – see here and here for our top picks
  • Have a variety of high-quality non-alcoholic options available – not just orange juice!!
  • Serve food throughout the function —high protein is great but make sure the food is substantial and that it starts early
  • Keep an eye on everyone – you want to make sure they remember your event for the right reasons
It’s a Wrap:
  • Start offering tea, coffee, and other non-alcoholic drinks only
  • Make sure everyone has a safe way home, and don’t let anyone who has been drinking leave alone
  • And if all else fails, turn on all the lights and turn the music off, or put “I will always love you” on repeat!! My old boss used to get out the vacuum cleaner at Friday night drinks and that also worked a treat for moving people on

Let’s look now at some of the typical big nights out and what being a “good host” might look like for each of these:

The ‘all day and night-er’
  • Think Christmas, a day at the races, or a stag weekend
  • Have a plan and stick to it
  • Arrange how you are getting home before you start drinking
  • Make sure people start slow and there are loads of non-alcoholic drinks available
  • Break up the day with activities that don’t involve drinking or help to slow your pace
  • Make sure you eat before, during and after the event to help you feel better the next day!
The quiet night in
  • Don’t be tricked into thinking you’re off the hook! People can drink a lot over a ‘quiet night’
  • Check they have a plan to get home at the start of the night
  • Have a water jug and glasses around to encourage ‘spacers’
  • Serve great snacks and have some activities/games planned to help take the emphasis off drinking. An actual meal is a great way to slow your pace and space your drinks
The work do
  • Whether it’s after work drinks or the end of year bash, make sure someone’s in charge
  • Brief the caterers on your expectations about responsible service
  • Serve plenty of decent food and make sure it starts as soon as people arrive. Handing food around also means people will eat more

Where appropriate, make events family friendly

The ‘big celebration’
  • These are often big family affairs like 21sts, weddings, 40ths, and 60ths!
  • Organise transport for people to and from the event. This has the added benefit of letting you set an end time!
  • Control the bar, especially for 21sts, either by limiting quantity or by promoting lower alcohol and non-alcoholic options
  • Make sure there is plenty of food available throughout the event
  • Think about setting a new tradition for your family events that is not necessarily about drinking i.e. think about the type of drinking culture/vibe a ‘yardy’ promotes!

Having a plan for your event is key to its success and that plan needs to be about more than getting drinks, ice, and a decent play list. I encourage you to take a moment now to think about this and what little things you might do differently when you are entertaining on the deck, hosting your daughter’s wedding or attending the next work function.

If you have any other hot hosting tips you would like to share, please contact us at so we can share them with other Kiwis, just like you, via our social platforms

Happy hosting!