I love to plan parties, especially when they have a good theme. Whether it’s a wedding, birthday, graduation, I don’t care! When the boys were coming, my mom and sisters threw the best puppy themed shower, coordinating everything with the them, including using the colors of the nursery. It was beyond perfect!
We’ve done a few posts on some of the parties we’ve thrown, and how we assembled the theme, but I thought I’d start with the planning of the party and my thought process on creating a good theme.
First you need to decide what your theme will be. Puppies, Toy Story, Ice Cream Social, anything you want to be the main “voice” and feel of the party. It should be something that can easily be displayed or carried through the various components of the party: Invitations, decorations, food, dessert, games, and swag. We’ll go through these one by one.
Invitations: The invitation sets the tone for the event. For bigger parties, I like to actually send invitations. Other times, for less formal things, I’ll send e-vites. If your theme is Puppies, your invitation should be in the color scheme you’d like to use, along with the cute puppies. If I’m not feeling especially creative, I will find shops on Etsy that will design the invitations and provide it as a PDF for me to print myself. This allows you to embellish it however you’d like.
Decorations: Setting the tone of the room is so important. This includes decorating the table the food will be on, or the table for desserts. You may want to decorate the tables as well. When we did the boys’ first birthday, we used a Monster theme. On each table, we had cute frames decorated like monsters, containing a photo of them. There are a few options for decorations. You can again visit Etsy and look for them (did this for some monster themed items); order things from Oriental Trading (great for colorful lanterns!); or, if you’re feeling crafty, your Cricut can be your best friend. We’ve used it to create pennants, little boxes to hold balloons and to cut out shapes to hang up. For the Toy Story birthday, I found all of the characters and set up a cute vignette on the dining room table to look like Andy’s room, complete with moving boxes.
Food: I think this is my favorite part. Especially for kid’s parties, you want to make the food fun and part of the theme. I love thinking up cute names for the hotdogs or drinks. You can easily make food tags that have the “name” so your guest know what they’re eating.
Dessert: Of course you need a themed cake! That goes without saying. If you’re the baking type, you can find tons of ideas on Pinterest. I’m not that type, so I need a good baker to help me. I’ve used a couple of different ones, and they’ve turned out just adorable. But remember, it’s got to taste good too! Another fun idea is a sweet table. What’s cuter than a table of take-home sweets? Party City and Oriental Trading have great options for you at very reasonable prices.
Games: Especially for kids, having great games that go along with your theme are a must. We did “Pin the Face on Mr. Potato Head” and it was a huge hit! My sister used board, felt and Velcro to create a huge Mr. Potato Head and the various face pieces for the kids to stick on. It was a hoot! Another fun idea is to have a photo booth. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, you can use a sheet or length of fabric that goes with your theme, and use balloons and maybe a cute cut-out. For the Monster Party, Sam used cardboard to create some adorable cut-outs. At the Puppy Shower, the girls set up a backdrop that contained clothes lines with a bunch of baby outfits strung on them. It was so cute, and made the photos so special.
Swag: A good host always has something for their guest to take home with them. This is a fun way to say thank you for coming and hope you had fun. For a wedding I helped plan, the groom made homemade beer and made labels to commemorate the date, which coordinated with the them. We also made Mason Jar seat assignments that doubled as favors. For the Monster Party, everyone had little bags that contained monster-themed items, along with a basket of stuffed monsters for them to choose to “adopt” and take home. And for the Puppy shower, my sisters and Mom made little brown and beige puppies from washcloths as the favors. They are so cute!
All of these things will make your party just a little more fun and special. And your photos will be amazing. Is there anything you do for your parties we haven’t thought of? Please let us know!