A Roaring Success – Our First Dates Event on


13th January 2018

I’m writing this just after my wonderful team and I have had a thorough debrief from Jo following our first ‘First Dates’ event that we held on 13th January in Birmingham and as the title of this blog states – it was a roaring success !

Well what an event it was! We ended up matching 32 couples and 64 people in the end! I don’t know how many the TV programme do for each series, but it can’t be many more than 6 or 8! It felt like a huge achievement in the short timescale we set ourselves and given we’d never done anything quite like this before.  We have our matchmaking service but that’s not quite the same and doing it for everyone that applied (which was around 75 people) was no mean feat.  We couldn’t match 3 people in the end (primarily a very young and much older lady because the matches we really wanted for them had gone to someone else!!!) but were really pleased to have found matches for everyone else.

There’s no doubt we had a lot of fun doing it – though it was truly hard work – as we cared a lot about getting it right – and there’s no doubt that matchmaking is an art not a science! We spent a few days solidly working initially getting the first batch of matches done (about 80% of the people) and then a further 2 – 3 weeks off and on finding the final matches for others.

When Ella had printed off all the pictures of all the people we’d matched together, we were delighted to see how well some of them looked like look together.

As the day approached we were as nervous as everyone going on their dates!! Would everyone turn up? What would they think of each other? Would our host cope with introducing everyone to each other? Would the timings work out?

And we couldn’t be much more pleased with the feedback that Jo (our host) brought back to the office.

Everyone apart from one person turned up and overall, we have had some really wonderful feedback.

Some dates left the restaurant hand in hand – just like on the TV programme and some went off to spend more time together  which we loved hearing about. Some have already told us they are going to see each other again, and some have told us they’ll remain friends. No-one left early and although, as we expected some dates weren’t a match made in heaven, we hope that everyone found it a worthwhile experience – and certainly had the chance to practice dating and meeting new people.

We were really impressed with the effort everyone made to look their best – so well done to all that came and enjoyed the experience!

We’ve had some really lovely feedback about the event and so far just under 50% of people (48%) who have completed our survey have said they would meet their date again.

Here’s some of the comments we received about what people most liked about the event:

“The match was done for you. You didn’t, have to contact someone yourself other people did the body of the work for you. “

“The conversation flowed and the location was very pleasing. “

“The company was very nice, although we changed telephone numbers we both agreed that we would remain friends. “

“It was a non- threatening environment to start dating after a period of time. It was fun and something different. “

“I was able to meet someone on a one to one basis. “

“Being matched with someone I felt I would have wanted to have a date with. “

“The way it was organised and how Jo hosted it. “

“The person I met. “

“It all seemed very natural. “

“My date was very friendly and easy to talk with. “

“The ambience and welcome by the staff and Jo.  The opportunity to have a good chat with a lovely man. “

“Meeting someone for the first time with whom I had some thing in common over a pleasant meal. “

Overall the survey suggests we organised the event very well, including the choice of restaurant.

“The most essential comment is THANK YOU for organising it at a great venue“

“That’s for a great evening and helping me to step out of my comfort zone. “
“Many thanks Friends First. “


We are planning another FIRST DATES event in LONDON on 9th June 2018. You can apply to attend this event – which will be organised in the same way, by visiting our website www.friends1st.co.uk/first-dates.