Brunch is one of my very favorite weekend activities - since I'm a morning person, I love that it allows me to jump right into a social event without having to wait until the end of the day! Plus, the mimosas and yummy breakfast/lunch combos certainly do not hurt.
Since NYC is the world's unofficial #1 brunch-loving city, my friend Emma and I went on a quest to try as many delicious brunch spots as possible by going on a monthly outing with friends. The premise was simple: once a month, without fail, we would organize a date to get together for brunch. While the original focus was on trying as many delicious brunch foods as possible, I quickly came to look forward to these outings as a guaranteed opportunity to see my closest friends, no matter how crazy life gets in between. Almost 3 years later, our monthly Brunch Club is still going strong and has hosted an outing every single month since the club was formed.
Interested in starting your own Brunch Club? Here are some simple guidelines that have helped us:
* Invite fellow brunch-loving friends to join!
This first step is the most important one, since you can't really have a club without other members! Emma and I invited about 8 of our closest friends to join us at the inaugural Brunch Club outing; since then, the club has grown quite a bit due to new friends and new significant others joining the party and we've lost a few members due to moves to California and other far-flung places (though they always have an open invitation to join whenever they are in NYC!). While everyone is welcome, we have created an email database of the core members (which is now at about 20 people) to keep the group manageable (it's a lot easier to make a reservation for 8 people than it is for 25!). There is no pressure to come each and every month (and honestly, it's usually pretty difficult to make it to every brunch since the weekends are so crazy for everyone), but there is always an open invitation.
* Don't pick a set date.
This may be contrary to traditional monthly club guidelines where your book club meets every third Wednesday, but we've found it much easier to vary the dates each month. The only rule is, the date must fall within that specific month - anywhere between April 1 and April 30 is fair game! In practice, that means that sometimes we'll have brunch two weekends in a row and other times we'll go close to two months between gatherings, but it alleviates the stress of having a standing meeting. Also, since everyone is so busy, our club gatherings have ranged from as few as 4 people to as many as 20+ - it's all part of the fun, since that creates a different atmosphere every time!
* Have a rotating monthly host plan the logistics.
Our club members take turns with hosting duties because we switch up the host each month. If it's your turn to host, you are responsible for selecting the date/time, researching venues, sending a Save the Date email to club members, and making the reservation once people have confirmed whether or not they can make it. It's not too labor-intensive, especially since most people only have to host once a year at most.
* Select the hosts through a fun game.
If you're wondering how we select the hosts, the answer is...it's different every time! The final responsibility of the host is to pass the torch to the following month's host through a game of their choosing...we've had past hosts selected by: thumb wrestling, lottery scratch-off tickets, trivia, and even writing our names on sugar packets and having Little M pick the winning packet when he made a cameo at brunch!
* Try a new place every time.
Sure, there are some amazing places that we would love to revisit, but part of the fun is trying someplace new! We've been to brunches with live jazz bands, pizza brunches, margarita brunches, and even an infamous, dangerous punch bowl brunch:
Just make sure you stay within reasonable geographic limits - for us, anywhere in the 5 boroughs is fair game (though in practice, we're prepared to hear some grumblings if anyone decides to venture to a borough other than Manhattan!).
* Start a holiday tradition.
The December meeting of the Brunch Club is usually the last time we're all able to get together before the New Year, so we've created a special tradition of including a small, silly gift exchange with our brunch. Everyone buys a fun gag gift for under $10 (such as the monkey hat seen below), we each take a turn opening one, and then the person after you has the opportunity to steal a previously opened gift or select a new one from the pile. It's a low-cost, sweet tradition that serves as our own little holiday party.
* Celebrate milestones!
This monthly touchpoint is a great chance for us to celebrate each other and toast to all the wonderful things happening in our friends' lives, whether it's receiving a promotion, buying a new house, or starting a new relationship. We try to make a point to celebrate anything noteworthy that's happened since the last club gathering, and each August we do a "year in review" of the previous year's worth of brunches.
One of my favorite Brunch Club celebrations involves my friend C, who met a guy through an online app and decided to finally meet in person right after a spring Brunch Club where we all had some post-brunch champagne in the park (and could spy on them from a few feet away). He met her there, I sneakily took the picture below, and then...
...a year later, they announced their engagement at a Brunch Club meeting :)
* Take photos!
We try our best to take a group photo at every brunch to keep a log of all of our fun memories!
Are you part of any monthly "clubs" with your friends? How would you feel about starting your own Brunch Club?