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Cocktail Event Planning
Cocktail Party Planning
The Party Layout
Planning A Birthday Party
Get This Party Started
Lighting & Aroma
Disaster Planning TIps
Choosing A Theme
Cocktail Party Checklist
Setting Up A Bar
Party Shopping Lists
How To Decorate For A Party: Cocktail Party Decoration Ideas
Decorations, props, and surprises are the extras that can make your cocktail party memorable.
Subtle decorations and unique accessories
all centered around a cohesive theme
keep your party interesting
and your guests entertained.
A great rule of party decorating is:
Don't give them what they expect....surprise them!
Quality over size and quantity
Cocktail parties should be elegant and sophisticated.
Nothing cheapens a party like tawdry paper and plastic decorations
, so c
hoose quality over volume
plan understated and clever accents
discovered over the duration of the party
. The surprise of finding unexpected thought-provoking treasures throughout the evening will delight your guests. And, a
will help partygoers recognize your nuggets of creativity as they stumble upon them.
Neutralize the background
Make your decorations stand out
by neutralizing the background. Replace off-theme colors with
, such as beige, brown or white in areas that serve
as a direct background
for your party decorations.
A prime example is to use a
white tablecloth and napkins to emphasize your dinner table decorations
Go through your closets and stored items to find everything related to the colors appropriate for your theme. Use
theme-related colors on your neutralized backgrounds throughout your home
For example, use red, white and green for a Mexican Fiesta; blue and teal to represent water for an Under the Sea Theme; navy blue, red, white, and yellow for Nautical; neon pink, green, and black for Retro; and pink, naturally, for a Pink Flamingo party.
For color themed parties,
use a colored bulb to light a corner of the party area
or bathroom. Buy
in your theme color and put
in photo frames for
dramatic splashes of color
wherever needed. Scrapbook paper is available at hobby stores.
throughout your party by
strategically placing tasteful decorations
where they will be seen by most of your guests. Here are the
key areas that almost every guest will look:
-- Whether you are using a simple or more elaborate theme, your
invitation should be the first clue
. The invitation is also an opportunity to
create excitement and anticipation
Evite offers a large selection of invitations
for virtually every theme. If you do not see one you like, you can design your own. This may be the best option for basic themes, such as a color, where you simply use contrasting shades for the text and background.
– Elevate your guests’ spirits as they arrive with decorations at the entrance to the party. Everyone has to get there, so your
front entrance embellishment will be experienced by all your guests
, plus it will
serve as a confirmation
that they are at the right place.
A yard stake
can easily be placed
at the front entrance or
along the walk
. Alternatively, use a
outside the front door or in the party area.
will certainly be noticed and are great to reinforce a color theme. Also quite effective as an interior decoration.
will literally be in each guest's face when
hung on the front door
and are a great introduction to your party theme. Use a wreath hanger to avoid using nails, tacks, or glue.
– If you really want to go all out, add a more elaborate decoration
inside the entrance in the foyer
. Because of the distractions upon arrival, a decoration in the foyer should be larger and/or prominently displayed to be seen.
You may want to
create a mini-scene
that is related to the theme. For example, a surfboard, beach chair and beach ball for a beach theme or a tree and tombstones on grass surrounded by an "iron" fence for Halloween.
Practically every guest will visit the bar
, therefore this is a logical location for a
tabletop item along with a couple of votive candles
will be seen without taking up too much space. Also,
sprinkle theme-related confetti
on the bar for an extra detail.
– Not only can you
name your specialty drink according to your theme
, you may also choose a
cocktail of a color related to your decorations
. And regardless of what your guests are drinking, you can dress it up with theme-related
, such as,
napkins, garnishes, toothpicks, swizzle sticks, and/or umbrellas
– With everyone packed into the party area, decorations are less likely to be noticed. For this reason,
place party decorations at eye level or above
in the party area.
votive candle holders grouped and throughout the room
at a level of 6 feet. Also place a couple on the bar.
Hors d'oeuvre trays
– Passing hors d'oeuvres adds a sophisticated touch and another opportunity to surprise your guest with a small,
themed centerpiece on your serving tray
passed with each tray will
show your originality
. Once the tray is passed you can strategically place the decoration in a high-visibility area.
If the centerpiece is
or a little tall,
use double-sided tabs
to stick the centerpiece to the tray. You will need to cut a hole the size and shape of the tab in the center of the doily first.
are nice and stable and make much
cuter hors d'oeuvre tray centerpieces
than holding down another bunch of balloons.
– The bathroom is likely to be
visited by every guest
and is another primary spot to
showcase your festive decorations
tabletop display, hand towels, confetti, and soap
to match your theme will certainly make a
when they don't expect it.
floating candles in your bathtub
for an extra touch.
Use a single flower
to reinforce a color theme.
– For a cocktail party, an accent such as a
is effective to add color and festivity to the dining room. Generally the dining room is not a high traffic area during a cocktail party and the level of decorating should reflect the visibility of the table. Also,
to complete the setting.
Confetti used sparingly, in key locations
, adds an extra sparkle to decorated areas. Confetti should be used on the
and in the
to accent these high visibility areas. Include in any thank you notes you may write afterward.
Everyone will see the host
, so be sure to get others into the spirit by
dressing and accessorizing your outfit
. Dress appropriate to the style of your party, for super casual wear a grass skirt and coconut bra to your luau, or dress it up with a tasteful floral dress and a hibiscus for you hair.
The effort you put into "dressing the part" will
set the standard and directly
impact the energy your guests will put into your future parties
. And, as always, apply your good taste.
-- Even if you are not using flowers, you can still fill your vases with
colored rocks, marbles, candy, submersible LED lights, or colored water
. Top off with a unique floral spray to match.
Leis, beads, glow necklaces, flowers
and other accessories let you decorate each guest
. You can also put colored
beads in a bowl
and set them on the bar for an attractive
for guests to
, if they choose. Hang
leis near the entrance
to place around guests’
neck upon arrival
Note: You do not need a lei, necklace or other accessory for every guest, everyone will not want to wear one.
– Flowers are a
to any party setting, but
. Choose flowers that
relate to the prominent color(s)
of your decorations. A
, such as a Gerbera daisy, in the bathroom is
dramatic and relatively inexpensive
- For birthdays add an
extra show of festivity
hanging swirls or streamers
from the ceiling. Also include a
“Happy Birthday” banner
special, fun candles
for the birthday cake or treats.
“Happy Birthday” gel letters
are a unique touch for the bathroom mirror.
Balloons are overdone and unoriginal
Only use them in less traditional ways
. For example, tied to a float in the pool, without strings covering the ceiling, tied end to end to reach 100 feet into the sky, tied together into the shape of a life size palm tree, or multi-sized, multi-height white balloons to look like bubbles.
Otherwise, skip the balloons