Clock winding down to speed dating event

How much can you say about yourself in eight minutes? A lot, according to the ladies behind Social Scene Events who have set up a Speed Dating evening on May 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Opus Café Bistro and Bar.

Laura Doherty watches the time as Racquel and Chantel Meriam run through a dress rehearsal for the two-hour speed dating evening May 12 at Opus Café Bistro and Bar.

Laura Doherty watches the time as Racquel and Chantel Meriam run through a dress rehearsal for the two-hour speed dating evening May 12 at Opus Café Bistro and Bar.

How much can you say about yourself in eight minutes?

A lot, according to the ladies behind Social Scene Events who have set up a Speed Dating evening on May 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Opus Café Bistro and Bar.

“The whole premise is that we are all busy and it is hard to meet people, so this way you can get everybody in a room and you have eight minutes with each person,” said Jill Veenendaal, creative affairs officer for Social Scene Events.

“If both people indicate they want to meet again then we match them and send them the contact information. It is quite low risk for people as well because feelings aren’t hurt as easily and you can’t exchange information during the eight minutes.

“We don’t want anyone feeling uncomfortable, so if you both agree it’s a match then we are the ones that exchange the information. You eliminate that awkwardness of walking up to a stranger and trying to strike up a conversation because this is structured and we will have suggestions of what to talk about and what not to talk about before things start rolling.”

In a span of about an hour-and-a-half, those participating will meet up to 12 different individuals between the ages of 25-40. The Speed Dating event will happen after Opus Café and Bistro is closed at 6 p.m. and tickets cost $25. Social Scene Events, came up with the idea after being frustrated themselves being new to the community and struggling to meet people in an environment that didn’t involve yelling overtop of pounding bass at a nightclub.

The four creators of the event organizing company (Veenendaal, Laura Doherty, Chantelle Meriam and Raquel Meriam) met through mutual friends and struck up a conversation about the issues they had as new members of the community meeting people close to their own age that were young professionals. They quickly moved forward with their idea of hosting events to connect with others in the same situation. Their first event, Celebrate Singledom, held in February at the Best Damn Sports Bar, was a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. So far they have also organized a speed networking night at the Hooded Merganser and have plans for charity fundraisers in August at Skaha Beach for the Sunshine Foundation.

“We didn’t want to be so structured like say Business after Business. We want to incorporate that networking and presentation, but also want to keep it fun and light where people can kick back with a glass of wine,” said Doherty.

The business concept of Social Scene Events is simple: set up great events for young professionals and have a few charity events each year to give back to organizations in the South Okanagan and Kelowna. At every regular event they also set aside some of the revenue for donation. But the main goal is for young professionals to meet, network and make friends.

“I have already made a few new friends through events. It is hard to meet people here. We did research with Statistics Canada to see if it is just retired people here and it isn’t. There are about 11,000 people in the demographic we are trying to reach in the greater Penticton area,” said Veenendaal.

Social Scene Events encourages charitable organizations and businesses to contact them if they are interested in working together to put on a event. For more information or to sign up for Speed Dating visit their website at or follow them on Twitter @SocialScnEvnts or on Facebook for updates on events they are holding.


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