Sauna Party - A guide to throwing the perfect party

Things to consider

Sauna Parties

Surely a sauna party is obligatory for anyone lucky enough to have a sauna in their house. After all, unless you can hide its installation from the neighbors, you are bound to be deluged with people offering to house-sit, as well as friends coming round in bathing suits with a variety of weak excuses. You may begin to hear the following:

'I'm just on my way to the swimming pool. do you want anything from the leisure centre?'

'Bikinis are the new streetwear. so adaptable.'

'I just came round to tell you that I've been diagnosed with an allergy to the cold, and only saunas can cure me.'

All will be followed by well-feigned surprise when you tell them about your sauna. The routine will become tiring after a few weeks.

Far better to avoid all this by inviting all the freeloaders and chancers round at once. This means only one thing: a sauna party!

The first thing to remember when throwing such a party is to establish some ground rules. This is where a brief written invitation can come in very handy. If you don't think your friends will be able to handle the Scandinavian tradition of laid-back, non-sexual nudity, make it clear in the invite that party guests will be required to bring swimwear. The invitation is also an opportunity to warn guests of the possible health risks; tell them that if they have blood pressure or heart problems, they should check with their doctor first. The same goes for pregnant women who are not experienced in taking saunas.

Winter is a good time to have a sauna party, because of the contrast between the biting air outside and the steamy heat inside. If the weather is right, you could even take part in the Finnish tradition of rolling around in the snow between sauna sessions. However, a summer sauna party could work too, particularly if you have a swimming pool or nearby lake for people to dive into.

Remember to provide plenty of towels. You may want guests to shower before getting in the sauna, and they may want to use your shower as a means of cooling down afterwards. This means at least one towel per guest. (Some guests will bring their own, but providing plenty will make you look like a good host.)

If you're worried about the tacky implications of the word "sauna" in this country, tap into IKEA's respectable and aspirational qualities by giving the whole party a Scandinavian theme. This means blond wood, optional Viking helmets and a selection of foreign beers for afterwards.

Of course, if you're completely mad, you could pretend the steam in your sauna is a traditional London pea-souper fog, and give the party a Victorian theme. Guests could dress up as Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper and Queen Victoria before becoming uncomfortably hot very quickly. Then they will leave, and you will have all the snacks to yourself.

One final tip: if the air in your sauna is very dry and there is no visible heat source on which to pour water, it may actually be an airing cupboard. There are no laws against holding a party in one of these, but you may find that guests are reluctant to join you.

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