guest post by jill means: theme parties

this week, jill means from brightside prints is sharing some of her favorite stationery with us. see the rest of her posts here. thanks, jill! - L

If you've been around the blogosphere, you've seen them, those "theme" parties where everything matches. The host must completely redecorate their house or yard to fit the color scheme and vision for the event. The food must be shaped and styled according to the theme. Basically, it looks like it takes the planning time and money of a small wedding to pull off. I'm probably going to offend someone here... but do we really need to relabel the bottled water? Can't water just be in it's original container? OK, rant over. The truth is, I'm not against theme parties I actually LOVE a good theme, but perhaps a tad more simplified.

Even though as a designer I have many of the technical skills to do a lot of those things, I have a big family, and a busy life, so I am giving you my "momma of five" advice on creating a theme party without going crazy or over budget.

1. Invitation. Of course I believe in a great invitation. The invitation sets the theme of your event and gets your guests excited about coming. You can find great invitations for reasonable costs or if you have some skills, you can make your own.

2. Activity. Do at least one game or activity that goes along with your theme.

3. Food. Incorporate the theme into the food or dessert. It doesn't need to be overdone, it can just be the cake or something simple, but it's an easy way to tie in your theme.

4. Favors are not mandatory, but something simple is a nice touch.

- Notice I did not include decorations. Decorations are overrated. You can use your food, cake, or favors as decorations or do something simple like using one thing that has big impact like a bold color tablecloth, or a large banner, or a string of colorful lanterns, or simple table centerpieces. You get the idea, nothing too fancy. Seriously, no one will notice if you don't have them. I've found people will notice a great activity or tasty treat much more, especially children.

Real life example: My daughter's 13th birthday party. Pajama Spa Party from 5-10 pm.

Invitation: from Brightside Prints (15 invitations about $25)

Activities: The girls wore their pajamas to the party (no cost)
Spa activities included doing nails (with these fun stamps that my friends sells) and paraffin wax hand treatments. (about $20 for supplies). The girls also spent time playing games that we already owned.

Food: We had breakfast for dinner. I made fried scones. Then I had a topping bar with fruit, honey butter, vanilla syrup, cinnamon, or powdered sugar. Fruit juice or milk to drink. That's it, simple presentation. We used our white regular plates and silverware. They LOVED it! (under $20)

Favor: I bought some small buckets on clearance after Easter. I filled them with a few spa like supplies, little lotions, lip gloss, and some candy. My daughter added a tag with each girl's name on it. (about $4 per bucket)

If you want more low-cost, simplified party theme ideas, I will be posting a theme party idea every Thursday on blog.brightsideprints.com.

Jill graduated from Brigham Young University with a BFA in Graphic Design has worked as a graphic designer for over 15 years. "I worked primarily doing corporate design work; logos, brochures, advertising, etc. In the last two years I started dabbling in the stationery industry, getting my feet wet designing cards or templates for several companies. ...and I fell in love with it! So in May of this year I launched BrightsidePrints.com...a collaborative collection of hand-picked designers providing cards, invitations and announcements. I get lots of inspiration from my five children ages 5-14 and my husband Scott is the best sounding board for all of my crazy design ideas."

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