We've been hosting an annual sangria and tapas party since our first child was about a year old. The original parties were potluck affairs; we made our classic red wine sangria and our guests each brought a tapas to share. Over time, the party has evolved and is now our biggest event of the year. I usually spend a week or two thinking up the menu (trying hard not to repeat myself with respect to the tapas we serve) and spend a few days beforehand making the sangria and preparing the food. We almost always play getting to know you games and give prizes to the winners. This past year, our party served as the official debut of the 'dirt&sunshine' book.
Here are the menus from the past six years of our sangria parties (in PDF format). Click on a link to view or download a menu:
ice breaker games
We love to play ice breaker games at our parties. They are a great way for guests to get to know each other, especially if they've not met before (as often happens at large affairs). The way we play this type of game is relatively straightforward. When guests arrive, they are given a pre-printed card to complete (usually just their name and the ice breaker topic). All cards go into a box with a slit cut into the top. Later in the evening, when all guests have arrived, we start the game. Everyone is paired with someone they don't know and the teams are challenged to see how many guests they can identify based solely upon the night's topic. We go through the cards one at a time; giving everyone a chance to guess the identity. We then go through a second time and reveal who said what (if there is an interesting story, we pause to let the guest share it). Whichever team correctly guesses the most wins a prize! In the list below, there are links to the actual cards I created for various parties. Feel free to download and use them at your own events.
Biggest change - What is the biggest change you've experienced in the past year? We played this game at our 2009 Sangria party; I wish I could remember what we gave as a prize; maybe it will come to me soon.
6-word memoir - We've done this at the past two sangria parties. It's based on a book by the same name and is a fascinating way to get to know other people. You basically need to come up with 6 words (in sentence form or not) that sum up your life. You may view our 6-word setup in the 2009 Sangria Party Photo Gallery.
Sexiest outfit - We love any excuse to give a prize! At most of our parties, we vote on the sexiest female outfit and award a prize (thereby encouraging repeat attendees to bring forth their finest).
What cause (or causes) are you most passionate about?
- This game was a personal favorite and a great success. We played it at our 2008 Sangria party and had a three-way tie for first. The prize was a $100 donation to the charity of your choice - we gave three separate prizes that year!
- Write down three adjectives that best describe you. We've played this at several parties and even played a version of it the first night of our 2004 trip to Spain (we happened to be sharing a villa with 20+ other guests so it was a great way to get to know each other). The funniest entry we ever received was from our friend, Mathew, who wrote: "Tall, English, slightly bald"; we laughed for DAYS over that one!
Hidden talent/secret desire
- What is your hidden talent? What do you secretly desire to accomplish? We played this game at our 2007 Sangria party and it was very interesting to see what people revealed about themselves.
What I did for love
- What's the most romantic thing you've ever done for love? We played this game at our 2005 Valentine's party. We had a lot of fun that night; the mangled French menu
was a big hit. For a semi-translation of what the food items were, please click here
- What's your favorite type of chocolate? Favorite candy bar? Favorite dessert? What was your best chocolate experience EVER? We played this game at a smaller party (2005's Chocolate & Wine party
) and came up with several questions to fully explore our chocolate-loving sides. We also played a fun chocolate trivia game
(which our son, Dane, actually won).
Murder-Mystery Game - This is a contribution from my lovely friend, April. We played this game at the Gilley's 2010 Halloween party and I was declared the winner! If you want to know my winning version of the events in the tale, please email me (email@example.com
). You may download my typeset version of the twenty-five clues here: Part One
and Part Two