Want a great way to get started impacting marriages? Plan a Couples Evening for the couples in your church and community. This “date night” event offers great social interaction and good fun while strengthening relationships. We've put together a template to get you started; it’s simple to follow and easy to customise (Psst, we’ve done lots of the work, so you don’t have to!) Let’s get started!
Step 1: Vision
Think about what you'd like to accomplish by hosting a Couple's Evening.
- What is the goal of the event?
- Who is the intended audience?
- How do we want them to feel?
Do you want to use it to launch or promote marriage initiatives in your community like A Day Together, Marriage Mentoring, small groups, or a retreat? Perhaps you want to use it to gather together some more couples who might be interested in being involved in helping marriages. Maybe it's a tool that's used to reach out to the couples in the wider community and invest in their relationships. Then, put yourself in the perspective of a new couple arriving. “You can only make a good first impression once!” Make the first impression excellent so that people want to come back to a future event, bringing their friends and neighbours.
It's important to keep these ideas in your head as you design the evening! For instance, make sure that you language is not too "churchy". Ensuring a comfortable welcome to those who have never come to your church before is imperative.
Step 2: Your Team
Put together your team. You'll want to think about having a few key roles covered that will think through different areas of the evening:
- Event coordinator (location, cost, food, program, speaker, door prizes)
- Publicity (Putting together invitations, announcements, tickets, invitations)
- Emcee (atmosphere, desired style, running the program)
- A/V (music, sound, visual media, lighting)
- Host (welcoming people, ambiance, cozy and romantic feel)
(You'll also want buy-in from your pastor/leadership as their promotion from the pulpit can be very helpful!)
Step 3: Design the Program
It's a good idea to charge a small fee. It helps assign value, gain commitment, aids planning and works as an invitation.
A personal invitation will always go a lot farther than a invitation to the masses. It's still really good though to have something with your event details to leave in peoples' hands. For about $10, you can print 250 business cards with a nice picture and all of your event details. They are the perfect size to hand out and don''t break the bank.
Ask the question, "Who is our audience?" This important question shapes the program. An outreach to the community differs greatly from an event intended to gather and motivate regular church attendees. You'll want to create an event that is fun and where couples can laugh and enjoy themselves. This takes careful planning! Often it's good to start the evening with a game or two in order to warm up and entertain the audience. Prizes are always a winner even if they are little heart shaped chocolates. Here are a couple ideas to get you started ...
Test Your Knowledge Quiz
Have you ever ...?
The Newlywed Game
The key is to get creative and have fun! At the end you may also want to consider a door prize (donated or purchased). Relationship Books, gift cards, movie passes, a meal at a local restaurant, chocolates or even a weekend away all make for great prizes that will encourage a relationship!
Timing & Location
Timing is critical for participation. Set a date and location at least 3 months in advance, allowing time for promotion. Be sure to check the church calendar for possible conflicts. Also, check the footy calendar or for other sporting and community events that may conflict with your evening. Any comfortable, welcoming environment will do as long as their is some privacy. Round or bistro table set-up is ideal but even long tables will work with nice tablecloths!
Find a Speaker
For this event, you'll want to find a person or preferably a couple who brings a faith message within the context of a marriage building topic. It is best when the speaking style is relaxed, engaging, practical and personal (not a sermon/lecture). Remember, the key is that people laugh a lot and have fun. It's always good to make sure it is someone you trust and has some experience. The right fit here makes a big difference! You can find a speaker from:
- Your Community ... You can choose an engaging couple within the congregation that people already enjoy. A known speaker often has a built-in trust factor, making it easier to invite friends.
- A Video ... There are a number of great videos around that you can use to help engage your group.
- Skip the speaker bit and ask a few penetrating questions around the table that will spark conversation and help people engage! Remember to meet people where they are at with this.
It's always good to have food. It's up to you and your team whether you provide a full meal or just supper for those attending. Do be sure to offer coffee and tea and some snacks!
Step 4: The Romantic Touch
This is the step that really makes the evening fun. A little effort goes a long way so get out to the op shops and find some treasures for your event. Make sure to use nice tablecloths and decorate the tables well. Flowers are always a nice touch - especially when you can give them away at the end of the evening. You may want to think through a theme as well for your event. Some popular ideas to get you started are:
- He Said, She Said: Communication between the sexes
- Rules of Engagement
- Myth Busters
- Ingredients of a Great Relationship
- The Marriage Questions People are Afraid to Ask
- Relationship Tune-up
- Fly Overseas ... Lose Your Baggage
- Under Construction
Step 5: Next Steps
This is a very important part of the evening and that is to challenge your audience to take their next step. For some, this might mean getting involved in a Homebuilders workshop or maybe it means helping organise A Day Together at your church. Maybe it is getting involved in the launch of marriage mentorship or some other program. Whatever it is, it is always good to challenge couples to take the next step.