Whether you are planning a birthday party, baby shower, reunion or wedding it’s essential to make it a personal experience for everyone involved. It doesn’t matter if you have the most amazing party ideas in the world – if you plan a pirate birthday party for a child that has zero interest in pirates, that party will be a flop. The key is to design the event as an extension of the person that you are creating the event for. It doesn’t matter what type of event you are planning, personalization really is the key. Read on for my 4 favorite simple tips for personalizing a special event that everyone will remember.
1. Pick a Theme
Regardless of the event, having a theme in mind is a great place to start. By theme, I don’t necessary mean picking a cartoon character for a children’s birthday party or deciding to throw a Hawaiian style baby shower. Rather than focus on one particular idea, focus on the feeling you are trying to convey. For example, if you are going to be throwing a princess party for your daughter’s 5th birthday – skip the traditional Disney themed paper goods and party balloons and decorate your living room or backyard to resemble a castle or enchanted forest. Another idea is if you are hosting a school reunion choose a movie theme – ask each guest to dress up as their favorite movie star from that year. You can get your guests excited by using movie tickets for the event invites, and carry that movie star theme throughout the party using matching place-cards, popcorn bags, miniature candy bars with personalized wrappers and you could even give out drink tickets too!
2. Simple is Best
After you have picked a theme, I recommend choosing a particular area to decorate for the event. If you are hosting the birthday party at home, skip decorating the entire house with streamers and balloons and stick to a centralized location where you can get really creative. For example, if you are hosting a fairy birthday party, use fabric and craft paper to transform every day household items into toadstools or trees. Have your child pick their favorite woodland stuffed animals to place throughout the scenery and utilize items that you already have at home. It’s amazing how a simple dark bed-sheet with a slit cut down the front, hung from the ceiling can automatically become a cave in an enchanted forest that little ones can climb inside of!
3. Food for the Mood
I am not a fan of traditional party food – I really like to personalize the food to fit into the theme. For example, several years ago I hosted a bug and reptile party for my son and instead of simple stacking sandwiches on a plate, I ordered a 5 foot sandwich that I cut and arranged to look like a snake – complete with olive eyes and a red pepper strip for a forked tongue. Not only were the children completely smitten with the snake sandwich, the parents raved about it for weeks to come whenever they would see me! The idea is to take ordinary food that your guests will love and display it in a fun, new, creative way.
4. A Thank You is Worth a Thousand Words
Even though an event is created to celebrate a particular person, couple or group – I like for the guests to feel important and go home with a reminder of the event. I always send each guest home with a personalized gift that fits well into the theme of the party. I also take careful consideration when it comes to party favors to pick something that my guests will actually use or consume. Many times this will mean that I send them home with a personalized treat – for example a bag of caramel corn complete with their name printed on the outside of the package. Or, at my wedding, I picked a hardbound book for each of my guests and left them a handwritten message inside the cover thanking them for celebrating this special day with myself and my new husband. They were a huge hit and people still talk about them 15 years later! You could also personalize a bottle of wine for each member of your wedding party – as a thank you gift.