Showing posts with label party planning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label party planning. Show all posts

It's Party Time! - Easy Party Planning

Don't we all love parties or special events. At sometime in our lives we will be asked to get a party together with a theme. It could be a bridal shower, a baby shower, a graduation or some sort of banquet. 
For several years our bowling team did our bowling banquets. It was always a lot of planning, but so much fun getting all the items you would need to make the party a hit. Our bowling team always got together the weekend before our bowling banquet and we worked like we were on an assembly line to get everything done. I have to say there were a few cocktails involved and a lot of laughs while making the items. It was the one weekend of the year where the girls got together to eat, drink, laugh and make all those fun items for our bowling banquets.

There's lots of planning for a theme party. We usually started in the fall right after bowling started. First we would figure out the theme and then we would make an idea board for each event. Here is an example of one of my idea boards...

Lots of Planning...
Each year we figured out a different theme for our banquets. They weren't your typical bowling banquet themes but everyone enjoyed what we came up with.

  • 2012 "Wine and Roses". 
  • 2013 "Tea for Two"
  • 2015 "An Old Fashion Hen Party".
  • 2016 "Pretty in Pink". 
  • 2017 "In the Summertime" 
  • 2018 "Rollin' in the 80's" 
  • 2019 "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
You probably ask why these themes when it's a bowling banquet? We've bowled for so many years, that it was fun to change it up a bit. It was always fun to see the ladies faces when they got to the banquet. I'm always looking for smiles. By having themes other than bowling seemed to put lots of smiles on everyone's faces. We did work in some bowing items in each theme.

Then it was time to start figuring out what we would have for a centerpiece on each table. The centerpieces were given away as door prizes.  Also, we needed party favors for the candy and nuts. I always tried to give each lady at least two small items plus the party favors that they could take home. Then, a few larger items that were drawn out of hat in which a few lucky ladies got an extra prize. We had about 80 gals on our bowling league, so many, many items had to be made.

Here are few of the centerpieces and party favors that were made. All unique and filled with goodies. From hot air balloons to carry all bags to wine glasses. They all looked so nice in the center of each table.

Centerpieces for "An Old Fashion Hen Party"

The hot air balloons turned out so cute. The basket was filled with goodies like kitchen towels, flip flop decorations, homemade jelly and a few little knick knacks.

Centerpieces for "Pretty in Pink"...
The centerpieces for "Pretty in Pink" were Carryall Bags filled with goodies and a huge flower balloon inside. The candy and peanut favors were just pink solo cups. It added to the pink theme. We made many balloon pink flowers to lay on the tables also. We didn't blow them all up. I'm pretty sure we would have died! We used balloon pumps which saved a lot of time and breath.

Centerpieces for the "Wine and Roses" theme...
This was our first attempt at the bowling banquets. I wanted to wow the gals, so I made 40 painted wine glasses. We had ten tables and I wanted a set of four on each table. We also made individual colored bands out of wire and buttons for the bottoms to distinguish whose glass was whose. The cost was minimal. Just the cost of the glasses that were purchased at the Dollar Tree and of course labor. The painted wine glasses were a hit!

Party Favors...
Then there were the party favors. Over the years we made hundreds of party favors and goodies to set at each person's place at the table... Among them were homemade hand lotion, picture holders, refrigerator magnets, decorative notebooks, wine charms, memory books, CD's (Cocktail music) with yummy recipes for the cocktail party, key rings, stain glass pieces, sunglass cases, makeup bags, microwave quilted soup bowl hot pads, toaster covers, tissue holders, 80's headbands, crocheted kitchen washcloths and many, many more novelties that went along with the theme of the party...

Party favors for "An Old Fashion Hen party"...
Picture holders made out of paper binders, hot air balloons for the candy favors (using the little party boxes from Dollar Tree) and Dollar Tree picture frames for refrigerator magnet note holders. 
Party favor for the "In the Summertime", "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "An Old Fashion Hen Party", and "Wine & Roses" themes. Notepads, eye glass holders, refrigerator magnets, keychain holders, picture holders, and stained glass name a few...

Many very inexpensive ideas for parties...
We had a set budget for each banquet. It wasn't a great amount of money, so we had to figure out things that wouldn't break the budget. So therefore that's one of the reasons that everything was handmade. I believe the most I spent per person was around $2.50 We never broke the bank and that was a good thing. We made so many things at minimal cost just to see the smiles on the ladies faces on banquet night.

Rollin' in the 80's was a big hit. We made sunglass cases for our sunglasses at the party!

Memory Books were also a great idea...The roller skate candy favor also worked great.

Then there were the cute 80's hair bands and Wooden seasonal displays were very cute.
I especially loved the "Rollin' in the 80's theme because my husband and I owned three roller rinks over a 40 year period. The theme was so fun to make items for. Roller skates, big hair, "Big Hair" bands, leg warmers, fluffy headbands, and of course the "Big Blue Floor" that so many people skated on in the 80's. Lots of memories from the 80's. This theme made everyone smile!

"Rollin' In The 80's"-Oh how we all had fun at the "Rollin' in the 80's" Party...
I couldn't leave out roller was what was done in the 70's and 80's!
More roller skating paraphernalia and a record backdrop worked very well for this event.
Our bowling team looked so cute with our fluffy headbands and snazzy sunglasses. It was definitely a hit and so much fun. We even had 80's music in the background to bring back those memories..
This is my team, the "Bowling Bags"! Oh what fun we had making all the fun things!

Notes from "Tea for Two" Theme...
Here are a few notes from "Tea for Two"... for the "Tea Cozy"...Each centerpiece had a flower, tea cozy, Team cardstock teapot, and a heart shaped bowl for the decorated cookies. The centerpiece was anchored with gingham card stock.  Each person attending received a teacup party favor with M&M's and nuts, a chocolate covered spoon, a "Tea for Two" party favor with two teabags in it and a fabric tissue holder.
If you interested in making a tea cozy, just click on the pattern and you will be redirected to the contributor's website
I added the flowers from scraps of fabric that I already had.  You will need to cut a 2 1/2" circle template an  a 4" circle template.  I used a file folder for the template.  They were much easier to work with. Each flower uses 5 circles of each size.  I did make modifications, as you can see.   I laid the two different size flowers on top of one another and tacked it together.  Then I covered a button with matching polka dot fabric for the center and attached it to the tea cozy.
Teapot for team names for each table, a cup party favor for candy and nuts. Instructions for each are below...
I found a teapot design on the internet.  I made some adjustments to it to fit my purpose. Here is the template... You can enlarge it with a copier or a printshop program on your computer. The finished measurements should be about 7" or so high by 8" wide. Cut one pattern of the whole teapot and one of just the belly of the teapot. I used a file folder to make the template. It made it easier to trace on the card stock.  Then cut one of the whole teapot and one of the belly only in different patterned card stock.  I added the team's name and number on a separate piece of card stock. Then added a ribbon around the top and finally used a glue gun to attach a double thick card stock stand on the back.  They turned out great!
Click print to print actual size
Cut one cup from pastel card stock and one insert out of patterned card stock that was left over from the teapots.  I added a ring of netting on the cup handle and a sparkly butterfly to finish it off.  Once again I used a print shop program on the computer to create our league name and cut them out with pinking sheers to give them a softer look. Once completed, we glued the cups to the party favor boxes purchased at the Dollar Tree.
Click print to print actual size

Chocolate Coated Spoons...
Just to add a little sweet touch for "Tea for Two" theme, we made chocolate coated spoons with M&M's and sprinkles on top. These were extremely easy to make. You will need the following: Plastic pastel spoons - Dollar Tree Wilton's chocolate wafers - Joann Fabrics or any cake decorating store.  Walmart also carries them. And M&M's and sprinkles. A fun little extra for your party!

Melt the wafers in the microwave and then place a teaspoon of the chocolate and put on the plastic spoon and add sprinkles and M&M's.

Bowling Banquet Flyers...
One last thing to talk about...the bowling team's invitations to the bowling banquet. Can't forget those...Everyone was always anxious to find out what the theme was going to be for that year. Here are a few of the flyers that were given to each team...

Flyers or Invitations...
Cookies, Frosting and Daisies (Fun extras for all the tables)...
Another great idea is to put cupcakes or cookies on the event tables. They add color and your guests will be very surprised to see something sweet for them to eat when they want. 

I love sugar cookies. One of my favorite sugar cookies recipes is one that I got from a friend's mom. Her name was Toots. So I call these cookies "Grandma Toots' Yummy Sugar Cookies". I also frost them with a good buttercream icing. I was a cake decorator in a past life and I use this recipe not only for cakes, but for cookies. I wanted to make the cookies for our event a little special, so I made daisies out of royal icing and put them on top of the frosting and piped a few leaves around them on the buttercream icing. The recipes are below...

Grandma Toots' Yummy Sugar Cookies...
  • 1 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 C. butter
  • 1 C. salad oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 C. flour1 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Cream butter and sugars.
  2. Mix in eggs and then oil.
  3. Add dry ingredients and vanilla.
  4. Refrigerate for about an hour
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.
This recipe makes between 5 and 7 dozen cookies.

Barb's Best Buttercream Icing...
  • 1/2 C. shortening
  • 1/2 C. softened butter or margarine
  • 4 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Beat shortening and butter or margarine for a few minutes in a mixer, until a light creamy color. This puts some air in the fat and lightens the color of the frosting.
  2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat on high for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add remaining powdered sugar. At this point the frosting is going to be pretty thick.
  4. Add a tablespoon of milk and beat. I it's still too thick add another tablespoon of milk.
  5. Add vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. If at this point it's still a little thick add a little more milk. Don't add all the milk at once because it might get too thin. Frosting fluctuates by the weather. Some days you need more milk and some days you need less milk. Remember you can always add, but you can't take it away once you've added it.
Royal Icing...
  • 3 T. meringue powder
  • 4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar
  • 6 T. water
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you want a pure white icing)
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
  1. Beat all ingredients together until stiff peaks form (about 10 minutes).  To vary consistency, add water to thin and add powdered sugar to thicken.
Directions for making royal icing daisies...
To make daisies, use a rose tip, wax paper cut in small pieces and a flower nail. Pipe out petals.  Unlike a rose, turn the rose tip around and have the thicker end on the outside.  Press your pastry bag and pull down.  Make as many petals as you like.  Finish off with an M&M in the center.  Royal icing needs time to set up.  I usually leave them for 24 hours before I peel them of the wax paper.  They will last for a long time in a covered container.


There are so many ideas for themes and events. Once you have your theme, everything else seems to fall into place. Our themes were a great success for our bowling league. There were lots and lots of smiles every year when our bowling banquet came around. Yes, it's a lot of work, but if you love what you're doing it doesn't seem like work at all.  When you have special friends helping, you not only create smiles for everyone else, but you create fun memories to share with them over the years... Sometime down the road one of your friends will say, "remember when we made all those paper teacups?".... "that was really a fun night"! There's nothing better than good friends.... and lots and lots of smiles and adult beverages helped also!!!

One of my favorite pictures of our Bowling Team, "The Bowling Bags"

Always remember..."Life's dessert first!"...words to live by!