I recently threw an early girl's day party since I was working on Valentine's Day décor, but this one was going to be different. A close co-worker friend announced to a few of us that she was leaving for a year of travelling, so I was asked to quickly put something together, not exactly à la "Eat, Pray, Love" but certainly with detailed tokens to remember.
I decided to merge the farewell party since I wanted to also showcase Valentine's party ideas. If you're not into traditional lovey-dovey themes, there are other avenues to take to make it fun. For example, I added humour in darling gift boxes with comedic accents inside to combine sweet expressions, yet also used charming miniature heart cut-outs to balance everything. Here are some tips for blending a special occasion with an already prepared theme.
How to merge themed parties and ways to make it fun:
1. Think of one to three crowd-pleasing games:
Think of games that everyone can get involved in (charades, creative match or guessing games, or a themed bingo, to name a few). It is best to have two in mind in case you end up not doing your first choice. Select games that are easy, engaging and fun!
2. Dedicated Space:
If you're putting together a themed party with a person in mind, but you still want the party to be special for everyone, then have a small area dedicated to said person and their interest.
Even though I knew that I had a Valentine's theme and table to get done, I also added some local flair and décor that the honouree could appreciate, such as travel. Knowing she's a London lady (although currently in Swansea) gave me plenty to work with for creative accents. I knew that the miniature goodie bags that I made with passport stamps would strike her fancy, yet it still did not take away from the main party theme.
I made this card label for a travel game that we played. This party theme was filled with DIY creations and playful details. I used passport labels here, then mobile scanned them to design my own label background.
3. Give Yourself Boundaries & Budgets:
It is very easy to go overboard with decorating, especially when you have a friendly budget or if it's for family and friends because of course, you want them to ultimately love what you've created. However, there's nothing worse than an overdone party that has a major disconnect with the attendees. Make a budget, give yourself parameters and stay within them.
I always make a budget and I am pretty much either under budget because I save money with crafty DIYs or by finding inexpensive unique pieces. For this theme, I gave myself 3 DIYs to make!
4. Think on your feet!
To be honest, we found out about her leaving quite abruptly just a few days before announcing to others of her departure. Therefore, I just took some tube maps that I had, then merged it with fun cut outs to make a little statement. It was effective because I only used it in a small area. Now, for the actual table, I actually used printed foil tissue paper and placed it on burlap fabric to give it a natural rustic yet refined vibe, then I mounted it to the tablecloth with satin ribbon.
Helpful Tips: When you have an odd number of attendees, here are simple solutions to tackle any place setting space issue:
- To make your area more spacious, space out the settings, then add a second centrepiece in the middle of the even numbered side of place settings to accommodate the area. Alternatively, the space can also be filled with decorations such as an ornate serving platter.
- Sometimes I use decorative tea towels on each side of the table to draw the attention toward the space in a positive way. Style the tea towel by folding it or scrunching the towel in a pleasing way. View this as inspiration.
- You can also separate one setting from the rest and have it at the head of the table. This works well especially for a person's birthday—you have symmetry on both sides with a special setting at the head of the table.
I used takeaway gift boxes and personalised them with decorated jewelled adhesive gems for party treats and prizes!
*The goods: View the DIY cutlery votive holders here. Shop some of the Valentine's Day pieces that I used here- c/o Oriental Trading. As always, all opinions are honestly expressed and are my own. View the floral centrepiece tutorial here.