How to Host a Pop-Up Party
Originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of SPOKE+BLOSSOM
We’ve all been there.
While scrolling through social media, we stumble upon the dazzling photographic evidence of a pop-up party. Its effect is breezy and magical, seemingly as effortless as if the wind blew it in and then back out again four hours later, leaving behind its shimmery social media afterglow. Maybe you’ve wanted to host a pop-up party yourself, but its almost mythic nature feels daunting.
Do not be intimidated.
All you need are a few pointers to demystify the pop-up party.
WHAT IS A POP-UP PARTY?
A pop-up party is all about creating a unique and unexpected experience for your guests that is strategically centered around your organization. Much of its excitement is due to the implication of its popping up out of nowhere, lending it a limited-time-only quality. We usually associate pop-up parties with interesting locations such as industrial buildings or organic produce farms. While choosing a venue is important (and the more creative or surprising, the better), planning a pop-up party first begins with figuring out what your goal is.
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?
First, ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your pop-up party. Are you a new company who wants to get your name or product out there? Are you raising money for a charity you love? Whatever your intention, keep your original goal in mind throughout every stage of the planning process.
Next, you can begin to get more specific with the details. Make sure all elements, from venue to cuisine, reinforce your overall goal. For example, if you want to create awareness for a new bicycle model you’ve just released, you might want to host your pop-up outdoors where your customers can take your bikes for a spin. If you decide serving food makes sense, you might want to serve more casual fare like tacos and craft beer rather than caviar and champagne.
However, if your goal is to create buzz over your vintage-inspired jewelry line, caviar and champagne at a sultry speakeasy-themed cocktail party might be just the right choice. Shiara Caubarreaux, owner of Stonewood Rentals + Events, says every time she plans a pop-up party, she walks through the entire event from the perspective of her guests to ensure they’re getting the best possible experience.
THAT EXTRA SHINE
What can you give your guests that will make them remember you? According to Josh Niernberg, owner of Bin 707 and Taco Party, great hospitality will always create that extra shine that will set your party apart. If you choose to give your guests something tangible, make sure it’s either useful, beautiful or — ideally — both.
After your pop-up party is over, it starts to take on a virtual life of its own through social media. Kate Ryan, owner of Gold Leaf Design & Production, recommends hiring a photographer or videographer to capture the event and then sharing the photos or videos online to generate excitement. You can also encourage your guests to share their “Instagrammable moments” on social media and to tag them with your unique pop-up’s hashtag.
The pop-up party should be a direct reflection of who you are as a brand or organization. The event is about more than just the pop-up.
“Your pop-up party should always communicate who you are and what you stand for,” says Meehan Fee, owner of Telluride Unveiled. “Your guests are buying not only your product, but the ethos of your company.”