Playing Catch Up – Party planning – a spring banquet.

7 Jul

I started this draft at the End of April, but was so busy with the move that I forgot to finish and post! So, here’s a look back at how our Spring Banquet turned out. I hope it inspires you for your next spring or summer party!

For the past few years, I’ve helped plan and host a spring banquet here at the on campus mission where Tom and I live and work. Every year, we come together to celebrate the students who make our mission what it is, award a book scholarship, and congratulate the upcoming graduates. So far we’ve had a luau and a backyard neon/glow party.

I’ve always been “in charge” of the decorations, but this year was the first year that I planned the party without the help of my friend, Doris, the former secretary here at the Tri C. While I had the help of our new director and secretary, plus a few volunteers, this year I was able to come up with the theme, decorations, food, and order of events myself!

I won’t lie – it was stressful. Party planning takes time, lots of shopping, and delegation (thank goodness.) So, while a couple of board members and my husband took care of making and buying the food, and our friend, Caven, set up his professional photography equipment for our photo booth, my mom and I recruited some students and the Director, Eddie, to move the furniture around so we could decorate.

The theme this year was “New Beginnings.” New staff, new students, and, soon, new interns. Tom and I will be moving out soon, so I wanted this to be a really fun celebration with all of the students we’ve come to know and love. So, I went with a garden/spring theme, and for months I cut out cupcake liner flowers, created centerpieces, made photo props, and planned out the rest of the decor for the cafe of our student center.

I didn’t get any good photos of our banquet tables and centerpieces, but I bought some clear glass jars, lined the inside with brown wrapping paper, and filled them with white, red, and yellow silk flowers, then accented them with little clip-on birds, all from the dollar store! If you’re planning a party, even if you have a large budget, take a look at your local dollar store (I frequent Dollar Tree) for inexpensive decorations and favors. I filled our favor table with little starter pots and seeds, tied with a bow from jute string. I hung white tissue paper poms from the ceiling and placed them on the favor table, which made a big impact, but cost only a few dollars to make from dollar store tissue paper. I reused white Christmas lights, and cut out cupcake liner “flowers” to slip on the bulbs to create a whimsical ambiance near the buffet tables and around the banquet room.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to create a beautiful setting, it just takes a little creative planning. I knew that seasonal items would be in supply for spring, which is part of the reason I chose the “New Beginnings” theme to begin with. Keeping the theme simple saves so much time! If you have a general theme like I did, sticking to a color scheme helps keep the theme cohesive. I went with yellow, red and white, for a cheerful and not-too-girly color palette. Everyone who attended, guys and girls, really enjoyed the decorations.

Fortunately, we had some photo booth props left over from the previous year, which we bought from Oriental Trading. We had plenty of hats, sunglasses, and funny headbands, so all I needed to come up with were a few larger props. So, again, I relied on Dollar Tree for a couple of poster-sized sheets of white foam board, a permanent marker, and a couple of bottles of acrylic paint. I cut flower shapes that were large enough to create a hole in the center for someone’s face, then painted one red and one yellow. I used the border of one of the sheets to create a “frame,” and doodled some quick designs around the edge with my permanent marker to make it more visually interesting. You can keep it as simple as you like with these kinds of props, or you can get really creative with glitter, printouts, or anything else you can think of to embellish the foam board.

All in all, the banquet was a big success! I think we had the largest number of students attend this year since Tom and I became interns. Everyone left smiling, and it was a great way to end our journey at the Tri C.

Gentle hugs,

Chels

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