Greetings #FumariFam and welcome to the Fumari Party, where every hookah session is an experience, and the good times never stop. In our 20+ years we have hosted and attended countless hookah events and for those looking to join in the fun or host their own, consider this blog your hookah party planning crash course.
FLAVOR OF THE NIGHT
First off, knowing how hookah will play into the event is going to be paramount. You will either be throwing an event WITH hookah there or making hookah the focus point. If this is an event where hookah will be more of an extra perk to the party and those attending may not be avid smokers, keeping with easy-going and recognizable flavors will be a great way to introduce the crowd to this cultural pastime. Stick with fruity and minty flavors like Ambrosia, Banana Custard, Blueberry Muffin, Lemon Mint, Mint, and Strawberry Jam as these are flavors all can enjoy. On the other hand, if hookah is going to be a focus, mixing flavors to create a unique blend, and developing a full-scale menu will give you a cutting edge on making the night memorable. Implementing real fruit heads in place of clay bowls can be yet another elevation to add to your night as well! Try using grapefruits, watermelons, and even pineapples to add more flavor depth to this experience for your guests.
If you’re stuck on mixing ideas, we already cut out the work for you with our Mix Series. Though in either case, think of your flavors as something your guests will take away from the night just as you would with a specific drink or dinner experience.
MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE
Now that you have established where hookah will fit into the night and what your flavor menu will be, you should begin to get your supplies in order. As a rule of thumb, three to four people per hookah will need to be your cutoff and you should divide your total hookah pipe inventory by your guest list accordingly. A quick pro-tip from us is to have your own hookah to smoke during downtime and slows in your service, there’s nothing like a sweet puff of your own hard work!
Apart from the hookahs themselves, we strongly advocate using disposable hoses for every event. These hoses are cheap to buy in bulk and offer cleanliness which is a must when handling hookah on any scale. Most can be recycled and cutting down on cleaning time by tossing them after use is peace of mind. Even with these hoses being treated as single-use, having mouth tips is a necessity. Although small in stature, these tips provide another layer of protection regarding cleanliness. Be sure to have these well within reach for guests to grab and prepare a ratio of three mouth tips for every guest as many will be accidentally lost or tossed speaking from our experiences. While we are on the topic of cleanliness, using a fork and gloves to pack tobacco offer another step in keeping your hands, workspace, and equipment clean.
For charcoal, you want to stick with high-quality options. Quick lighting charcoal, although convenient, doesn’t offer a great smoke and the taste of the chemical accelerants can be nauseating for many. Opt for coconut charcoal as this product poses tasteless sessions and burns for a much longer time than the lesser quality option. It should be noted that you will need an electric burner or grill to light these and to prepare for the unexpected, you should always have a backup burner or option to light them. Using 2-3 pieces per bowl will need to be factored in for your total inventory for the event.
Regarding bowls, using a clay bowl will be your best choice for a satisfactory smoking experience. While they may break and transport is more difficult, the quality of the session will speak for itself. Another option to use alongside clay bowls is real fruit bowls such as the ones we mentioned earlier. Although they may take extra time to create, fruit bowls offer another dimension of fun and memorability to the event. Plan to have 2 bowls for each hookah for quick repacks.
A simple and stress-relieving pro-tip from our practices with this checklist is to fully assemble your hookah pipes prior to arrival and test the fit of each part while identifying anything that could be missing. The last thing you need when setting up at the party is finding out you are missing hose grommets, or your vases aren’t paired with the correct stems!
EVERY PARTY NEEDS A THEME
Every great party has a theme, and hookah events should follow suit with this. With roots in cultural tradition and royal ceremonies, an easy hookah theme, to begin with, is a Middle Eastern café vibe. Having an exotic theme such as this and showcasing light foods from the region such as hummus, pita, tabbouleh, dolmades, pistachios, and dates are great ways to build ambiance. Pair these with drinks such as Turkish coffee, Moroccan mint tea, and Jallab alongside tabletop games such as backgammon or cards to create this fully immersive atmosphere.
Another great theme for a hookah event is an exotic tea party. Often you can pair exquisite, luxury, and artisan blends of tea with flavors such as our Spiced Chai or Citrus Tea and make for a transcendent taste all its own. When smoking in general, it is always a great idea to keep hydrated and with endless teas to incorporate into the tea party it is a perfect setting together.
Apart from these themes, if you are catering to a more seasoned crowd, especially ones that participate in hookah on a regular basis, try a hookah potluck. This can include dishes that your guests bring along with their own mix or flavor for all to enjoy. With hookah traditionally served after dinner as a means of social interaction, this theme is always one we suggest! Though if you are serving a more creative crowd, a hookah and painting session or arts & crafts night can truly make your hookah party a night to remember and even become a regular thing. You can even include hookah products themselves like hoses or bases to paint in these types of themes.
OPERATION HOOKAH PARTY, COMMENCE!
With your flavor menu, checklist of materials, and theme in mind, the last part of throwing a hookah party is throwing it. Safety precautions such as a first aid kit in the event of cuts or burns and a fire extinguisher or at the very least a readily available water source in case a coal is dropped on accident should be on standby. The likelihood of you ever needing these safety measures is low but being prepared for the unexpected will go a long way in the eyes of the venue and your guests alike.
A quick pro-tip that comes to mind from our experiences is keeping ice on hand, especially during outdoor summer events. There is nothing worse than going in for a sweet puff of hookah and being met with a hot draw, by adding ice to a bucket with the hookah inside you can preserve the cool all day or all night long. Another tip from us is always to have a backup for every piece in your inventory be it extra tongs, purge balls, grommets, and even charcoal carriers. An extension cord, paper towels, and bucket of water to dispose of charcoal/wash hot pieces are not suggestions but absolute necessities. Some form of table labeling system and a pad to take orders will be a huge benefit when your party hits its peak as well. However, our biggest pro-tip is to step back, breathe, and enjoy yourself. Hookah is meant to be fun and social, treat it as such. People remember a good laugh and a big smile.
Lastly, hookah is hardly ever a one-person operation, and having some form of help to assist with charcoal, tending hookahs, or packing bowls will be more beneficial than trying to strongarm the entire operation yourself.
When throwing a hookah party, there is never a specific blueprint to follow as you can see, but with this crash course, checklist, and a bit of your own flare we can guarantee you’ll have a great time at your next hookah event and learn more along the way. Share some of your hookah party success stories with us over on our Instagram and as always thanks for stopping by the blog!