You meet at a unit event, a play date or at the bus stop. You think she’s pretty cool and that she may actually be friendship material. What you need is something casual so you can truly talk, laugh and let down your hair. You need a wine night.

Some of my favorite milspouse bonding moments began over a bottle (or two) of wine. Here are some tips to host a fun get-to-know-you night, and fingers crossed that it’s a friendship match!

Pop the Bottle

Your wine night can be fancy or casual — you decide the vibe. It simply needs to be enjoyable, adult and fun! Get started with these tips:

  • Present a clean space. No, you don’t need to deep clean, hire a maid, or pass a white glove test. At minimum, clean the room you will be in and the guest bathroom. Otherwise, you may feel the need to apologize all evening for “the place being a disaster.” And that’s no fun for you.  
  • Create an atmosphere. It’s amazing the transformation that dim lighting and scented candles offer. Also, background music is a great way to create a fun, relaxing or party environment — you decide. A great group to check out is Postmodern Jukebox with their swing covers of contemporary pop songs.
  • Glassware considerations. If you only have a few glasses or don’t wish to risk their getting broken, ask guests to bring their own, or purchase clear plastic cups.
  • Present variety. Ask your guests to bring wine, but purchase some yourself, just in case. Cover all bases with a red, a white and a blush. Don’t shy away from the deliciousness and value of boxed wine, my favorites include Bota Box and Black Box. Plus you can use any leftover wine for…cooking!
  • Offer food and other beverages. Make sure that water is readily available and offer a selection of savory and sweet foods. Don’t be afraid to ask guests to contribute something. Ideas include fresh fruit, veggies, cookies, chips and dips, cocktail meatballs, cheese and crackers.
  • Remember all your guests. Try to mingle with everyone and ensure that your guests feel welcome. You want them to have full glasses, full plates and smiles on their faces. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, share funny stories, use adult language and let your hair down!

Bottoms Up

Do you want to go the extra mile and kick it up a notch? Consider these suggestions:

  • Goodies. Ask guests to bring an item from their houses for a White Elephant gift exchange.
  • Snap pics. Take photos, but before posting online and tagging anyone, make sure they are comfortable with it. Remember, only post flattering photos. Check out the free YouCam Perfect app for flawless selfies.
  • Get fancy schmancy. If you have the time and resources, go nuts with wine glass tags, pretty party plates and coordinating napkins. My favorite place to buy partyware? The Dollar Tree! Big spender alert!
  • Adult conversation. This is my favorite. If you are moms, challenge guests to not talk about their kids. Seriously, any other topic outside children is fair game. If it’s proving to be a challenge, make it a drinking game with one sip per infraction. Trust me, your brain will love switching from “mom mode” to “me mode.”

Don’t Corkscrew It Up

See what I did there? As much as these nights can advance your social life and enhance your friendships, there are a couple of things to avoid:

  • Incorporating sales with wine. If you have a hustle, that’s great, but sometimes your friends just want to spend time with you without the pressure to buy.
  • Telling ALL your (and others’) secrets. Divulging is a blast and can connect you with others, but if you think you might regret spilling secrets in the morning, then keep some things to yourself…at least for the first wine night!
  • Drinking to the point of throwing up. Most of us have been there — drinking to excess and hearing, “I’ll hold back your hair!” Especially if this is your first impression, pace yourself. It’s not going to be the last wine night ever.
  • Drinking on an empty stomach or not hydrating. Make sure that you and your guests have water and snacks throughout the evening. Otherwise, that can make for one nasty hangover.
  • Drinking and driving. Never, ever, ever drive or let your guests drive while intoxicated. If a designated driver isn’t present, offer to walk a friend home, call a cab, Uber or Lyft.

With these tips, you are well on your way to a very good night. Best wishes for a brilliant evening, ladies! Cheers!



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A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” former Army wife Jackie Toops enjoys exploring the various facets of her personality by chronicling military life, world travels, family, her love of the arts and more. Her academic background is in the fields of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and she has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. Jackie’s articles have been featured on Army Wife 101, Wall Street International Magazine, SoFluential, HomeAway, Military Biz Connection and FamiliesGo. While stationed in Germany, she regularly discussed her articles on-air with the Armed Forces Network in Wiesbaden. A mother of two, Jackie enjoys coffee, freelance writing, languages and discovering new ways to express herself. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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