Monday, October 6, 2008

BeDazzle Any Party!

Have you often thought, gosh, I wish I could make this party amazing, too bad I don't have a lot of money? Well, you're in luck! There is no need for money when you have a computer, printer, tape, and some time on your hands.

As promised, (10) simple, cheap ways to personalize any celebration:

1. A Photo Slide Show
Anyone who has a mac can do this on iDVD, and I'm sure there's an equivalent for PC's, I just don't know what it is.
It's simple to do--gather a bunch of photos of the person or people being honored/celebrated, and turn it into a slideshow complete with music.
I did this for my friend Pete's 30th Birthday party and I even emailed his sister to get pictures of when he was a little kid. Then I added some Frank Sinatra, his favorite all time singer, and viola, a wonderful DVD slideshow of Pete through the years that he was able to take home with him, and everyone enjoyed watching during the party.

2. A Wall of Memories
For Abby's party (mentioned above as the ultimate rock girl party), I was in charge of decorating the hotel suite. I did this by gathering awesome pictures of Abby + Friends from the past few years and framing them around bought Party City decorations around the whole suite. This was great for people to look at and smile at the memories, and it also celebrated Abby.
If you don't have pictures from the film era of photography, simply print out digital pictures at 5x7 or 4x6. And if you don't have a printer at home, which I don't, you can sneakily do it at work!

3. A Theme
I've gone over some of this in my first post, with themes ranging from Nautical Karaoke to Rock n Roll. The key to any theme is to make it something the party boy or girl enjoys. Think about what they like to do and then center the party around that, personalizing each detail.
Or, you can center a theme around a cultural event or annual festivity.
Examples of both of these are: 1) I threw a party for my boyfriend at the time that centered around driving all of our friends to Medieval Times in New Jersey (see image above). It was so ridiculous and childish, that it was amazing, and 2) I throw an annual Oscar Party, next year will be my 6th!

4. A Color Combo & Decorations
This is directly linked with a theme. Any good theme needs a good color scheme. For example, there's Red and Black, representing a person's favorite colors, or the traditional red, white & blue for a 4th of July party. However, you can also extend red, white & blue for other party themes. A few years ago, my boyfriend at the time became a citizen of the United States of America. To celebrate, I threw him a Red, White & Blue Party, complete with red, white & blue drinks!

5. Costumes!
I love, love, love dress codes for parties. You can specify that something is "formal," or you can ask your guests to dress up as part of the theme for the party. Not everyone will want to, which is fine, but those that do will have really great photo ops and I promise, they will have fun getting ready!
Two different costume examples are below--there's the Oscar party, in which I ask everyone to dress up as someone nominated in any of the categories. This can be a character from a nominated film, or a nominated actor. There's been some great costumes in the past, including characters from Juno, but my favorite was when I dressed up as a Dream Girl and my best friend Lauren dressed up as Penelope Cruz from Volver.

And another great one was when my friends Jaime and Abby and I dressed up as 50s gang girls to attend a Rockabilly show at Southpaw, and then a Halloween Birthday Party afterwards.

6. Cheese (or something like it)

EVERY party is made better by a snack table, and even a sucky party can be made bearable by a snack table. While you may think, food is expensive, it doesn't take much to make the masses happy. My favorite cheap party snack is chips and French Onion Dip (made by Lipton). The dip is to die for and costs around $3 something for a package of two. Another great place for cheap snacks, Trader Joe's, which just opened up in Brooklyn.,-73.561707&spn=1.328022,1.642456&z=9

7. Tchatchkes
As shown below with the sailor pigs, tchatchkes are always ridiculous, should be inventive, and should be something someone would like to take home with them.
For holidays, my mom always decorates her table with little doo-dads that you can take home with you, whether it's little chickadees for Easter or tiny ornament placeholders that people can later put on their tree. It leaves people with a nice memory of a great time, and it adds to the deocorations of the party. Whereas simple streamers and signs make a party cookie cutter, tcatchkes add that persona touch that make your party stand out from all the rest!

8. Games
This can be "athletic", such as setting up Bocce game in the backyard, or a simple drinking game or poll. For example, for every Oscar party I have we do a poll where you rank your choices (who you think is going to win) from 1-5 in each category, and the person with the most "1's", or lowest score, wins. And since each person puts in $5, the winner gets an Oscar trophy and a nice pool of money!
Another fun one is drinking games based on characters' idiosyncrasies. For example, my girlfriends and I used to have an ANTM (America's Next Top Model, for those not in the know) Drinking Game where you'd have to drink whenever Tyra said "Fierce," or one of the models cried. Good times.
There are plenty of other drinking games, such as ones for watching the Presidential or VP Debates:

9. Surprises
These are easier than you think to pull off because no matter how many surprise parties you've been to, you always think that your friends are
You can throw the person off in a number of ways.

For my friend Carolina's surprise trip to Fire Island for a beach birthday getaway, we had her boyfriend pretend he was taking her on a romantic trip, and when she boarded the train, all of her best friends popped out to surprise her. Then just when she thought the surprise was over, when we landed at our destination, another group of her friends were waiting there for her!

Another way is to make it in an unexpected place so the person thinks they are going there for a completely different reason. For example, our first collective 30th birthday party surprise was for Pete, and we did it at his WORK! His co-worker asked him to come pick him up there as he was finishing up some things, and bam! we all jumped out and surprised him.
It was magical.

10. A Playlist
The simplest way to make a party a success is the music. With the invention of ipods, this is easier than ever before. Make sure you pick music the person likes but also music that makes people dance. Because the best kind of party ends with a dance party! It gives the party an unexpected and unprecedented energy.


fear surgeon said...

11. BEADS!!!!!

AGMAC said...


Friendly said...

I believe the ANTM drinking game is outlined in this blog posting,

Anonymous said...

You realize, I'm enlisting your help for my 30th b-day party this March. :-) I already have an idea and have NO doubt that you'll be able to add to it in your unique and fabulous way.

<3 D