The NI couple, who met while speed dating, have introduced a new matchmaking concept
A couple who met on speed dating have launched a new dating concept that they hope will tackle the negatives of online dating.
Gerard Auld and Leona McGlinchey from North Belfast launched RateMyDateNI in 2021 to bring what they believe is the best of speed dating to Belfast.
After listening to feedback from attendees of their events, the pair have now launched their latest ‘for hat’ concept, which sees six singles come together to enjoy an activity.
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Speaking to Belfast Live, Gerard explained that many of his clients felt that the four minutes they spend chatting with someone while speed dating was not enough.
“People have given us feedback and suggested that they would like to see activity-based dates or go out to eat.
“They wanted to spend more time with their dates and spend an evening with them, so we had to figure out a way to do that without making people feel uncomfortable or awkward.
“We looked for concepts that could work and came up with Table for Six.”
Gerard said they thought six was a nice number because it was small enough, but not too small to be awkwardly quiet.
Explaining how their events work, he said that participants buy their tickets online, through the website, which includes the main meal and a drink.
“As soon as the participants arrive, we are at the front of the house to show them to the table with small gifts and then explain how the evening is going.
“Usually we have three men and three women, but we also organize LGBTQ events.
“Events start with small icebreakers, followed by some games after dinner to break the ice a little further.
“After the evening is over, our attendees usually stick around for a few drinks. Additionally, we send them an email the next day asking about their experience and whether they’d like to meet someone from their table.
“If we find a match, we will arrange to exchange details so they can contact each other again.
“It gave us the confidence to launch other events under the ‘for six’ brand, the soon to be launched Mini Golf for Six and Bowling for Six.”
Gerard said these events have proven to be quite popular and have a wide range of interests for all ages.
“These events are proving to be a great alternative to speed dating and online dating. They’re very popular with singles aged 25 to 45, but we’ve run a few events for 45 to 60 year olds and they’ve also been very popular.
“Our events usually take place in ten age groups, so they will be 25-35, 35-45, and then 45-60 years old.
“Although we don’t know the exact numbers, we have at least 10 stories of relationships that have met at our events.”
Regarding the competition with online dating, Gerard said that since the end of the epidemic, people have been wanting to meet face-to-face.
“Online dating has come full circle and there is so much going on with fake profiles, filtered photos and people chatting for weeks without meeting.
“Dating apps are meant to keep us coming back for more, but we’re really interested in making it possible for you to meet people in real life, where you can talk face-to-face outside of the digital space.
“Many people came without waiting and said it was a brilliant evening.”
To find out more about upcoming events, visit the RateMyDateNI Facebook page.
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