How To Host A Swap Party

Amy Dalley of This & That sent over some links recently, of a “Swap Till You Drop” party she hosted for her girlfriends.  I thought the details and tips she had for the party were so useful and inspiring that I asked her to be a guest blogger and share her ideas with you.  I’m happy she agreed!  Here’s her post:
This is a fun party that gets all the girls together, motivates everyone to clean out closets, and gives the opportunity for shopping WITHOUT spending any money! The original idea for this party came from the January 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I was asked to do this party for a morning TV show, Studio 5, and I thought the “Swap-Meet Party” shown in the issue was a little bit plain… so I glamed it up a bit! The colors I decided to use were hot pink and zebra… totally girlfriend glam. The theme
“Swap til you Drop… One girlfriend’s JUNQUE is another girlfriend’s treasure” came from the idea that I would love to shop in my girlfriends’ closets. My friends all like to shop so I thought we could “SWAP til we drop” instead of “SHOP til we drop”. The basic premise for this gathering is that everyone brings 5-7 things “they don’t love anymore” and they swap items with their friends. Everyone has a clip labeled with their name for every item they brought. This acts as the currency… You place your clip on the item you want to take home. If two people have their name on the same item, I put the names in a bag and had a drawing.

Invitation: It consisted of a small pink “shopping” bag dressed up with feather boa and the party “logo”. Inside was their personalized clips (blinged with a gem), tags for the items they brought ( for a description and a selling point) party info ( date, time, etc) and a poem rolled like a scroll explaining what it was…{see bottom of post for wording}

Decor:  I used anything I had around the house in the colors of the party… lots of fabric, apothecary jars filled with colorful gumballs, Taffy and M&Ms. I looked for anything that seemed girly, blinged or glam. It was easy to just find things around the house.

Food: I went simple and served sandwiches and then had a dessert bar that featured chocolate cake with fresh flowers in the party colors, dipped fortune cookies… anything that was hot pink I threw in.

Favors: The favors were my favorite part! I got reusable black shopping bags and blinged them out with ribbon made into messy bows and lots of gems! I used paper to make a personalized tag. My friend, Rhonna Farrer- designer for House of 3, created a shopping silhouette for the occasion and I used it on as many things as possible. When the guests arrived I gave them their “shopping” bags to hold all their treasures. I also did some custom candy bars(wrappers) that everyone got to take home.

I kept my guest list to about 10-12 so there wasn’t so much stuff. You could adjust the number of people OR the number of items they were to bring. I was very happy with the items everyone brought. There wasn’t any “junk”… Everyone brought treasures…they really thought and were creative with what they brought. We had lots of home decor, books, seasonal items, purses and accessories- even some homemade salsa with a bag of chips. It was so cute because they all packaged their items in snazzy ways as well. This was such a fun girls night out… we laughed, we ate and drank, and shopped! A good time was had by all WITHOUT spending any money.

After this aired on the TV show, I taught a class on this party and had another “model”… it was more spring-like with a vintage feel. The theme for that one was “Everything OLD is NEW again”. You could also take on a more “green” theme with the slogan… “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. I think this type of party would work VERY well in the fall and have everyone bring holiday items… call it a “Jingle-Bell Swap”. Let your creativity go and think of your own theme… it is such a fun concept!

Invitation Poem:
We’re totally in a recession…
at least that’s what they say.
I don’t like to face it…
just want to play, play, play!
It is time to get the girlfriends,
all together for a bash.
We could -always go shopping.
But, who now has the cash?
I’ve got a FAB solution,
to this financial jam.
Just bring all your older stuff…
your man won’t give a damn!
We’ll eat and laugh and have some fun
and drink some diet pop-
In the end we’ll choose the goods-
We’ll SWAP til we DROP!
This idea will bring- for sure…
JOY beyond measure!
Remember… One Girlfriend’s JUNQUE-
Is another Girlfriend’s TREASURE!

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  1. I laughed OUT LOUD when I read the invite poem. It is so creative and cute! I LOVE this idea and will probably do it with my friends. Thanks for the tips! Awesome!

  2. Anonymous, Amy had her tags custom made from House of 3. The link is in the post if you'd like to contact them : )

  3. Where did you get the adorable 'Swap Till You Drop' tags for the bags?? I love all of these ideas!

  4. OMG – I sooo love this idea! We're doing a dress swap with our spouses group and this would be a wonderful idea to make it snazzy and a lot more fun!!

  5. I love the idea and the decorations are simply adorable. I am seeing several friends tomorrow and plan on sharing this with them.

  6. what a great idea! im gonna have to borrow it! and i love your invite poem! You are sooo creative!

  7. I love this idea!! What creative decor to make it even more fun for everyone!

  8. I LOVE this idea! Definately going to use this one for my next "Girls Night In!" Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  9. You know I love a good swap party! There are some good ideas here that I have to use for my next one.

  10. I love this and I keep saying I am going to this with some friends! Maybe in the fall… 🙂

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