HOW TO PLAN A THEMED PARTY
THE BEST PARTIES ARE ONE’S YOU CAN DRESS UP
BY: ELIZABETH GATLIN & ANDREW SPINOSO
San Diego Party Bus Rental ideas must, and always, should start with doing a Theme Party first! We’ve seen hundreds of parties on our buses and the ones that stand out from our driver’s points of view and the overall outcome are the Theme Parties or Costume Parties. More importantly, we seem to have left a big impact on us and that of our customers.
If you want to make your Party Bus Party a smashing success take Elizabeth’s ideas for making your theme party one to remember.
1. Choose Your Party Theme
We usually choose our themes from inspiring chats with friends, seasonal festivities, and things we want to experience. If it is a no-brainer like a “Birthday Party” we look to the friend’s personality for inspiration. Does that friend have some quirks that make for a good theme? Cat obsessed friend could = LOL Cats theme! Loves pink polka dots? = Oh Robyn, you just wait. Once you choose a theme, don’t worry if it is overdone, just get ready to run with it all the way.
Check out these great “Adult Themes“
2. Color Coordinate your Party Decor
You cannot overdo color. Again – this needs repeating, you cannot have too much color for a party. One of the wonderful things about choosing a color pallet for your themed party is that this will help you make more impact with your other choices. We tend to base our other decor on our chosen streamer and party colors. Hey, if it doesn’t match the streamers, we usually save it for another theme. We, of course, love actual Color Themed parties too. I honestly can’t wait to have a reason to throw a giant “Purple Party”.
3. Use Catchy Slogans in Naming Your Themed Party
We try to use catchy names that let people know exactly what the theme entails.
For instance: “Grill Out With Your Grill Out – Black and Bling Birthday Extravaganza” says a lot about how the party is going to go down.
I love opportunities to be witty or include double entendres in the names of parties. Making the name short and easy to remember also helps. Having a memorable name means that when people talk about your themed party, it also has an identity. What kind of lame party are you throwing anyway that hasn’t already developed a personality of its own?
4. Provide Adult Party Favors￼
Yes, we always try to include party favors at our events (and I’m not just talking about the beverages). I think of favors as a way to extend the experience long after it has ended. Party favors allow people to take a small memory of the event with them (usually by accident, tied around their neck or on their persona) to talk about the next day. Adult party favors can go a long way after all most adults are really kids at heart (just look at Dave and Busters). Plus, who doesn’t love gifts, even if they are simply for fun? Some of our most successful party favors continue to show up time and time again at our other parties. I continue to find fangs everywhere from a Halloween party where at midnight everyone had to turn into a vampire… Themed party favors can be fun, quirky, cheap, and dispensable, or you could give extravagant and thoughtful favors. Depends on the theme I suppose. We just keep a budget in mind and stick to it.
5. Plan Themed Activities and Games￼
If you are going to a toga party, why wouldn’t you expect some form of Grecian activity to ensue? We usually don’t have time scheduled events, but we do include available activities to get people thinking of how to better get involved in different ways. Depending on the crowd, theme, and desired the outcome, you can plan your activities to match your event. Open-ended activities like corn hole and group Pictionary are always big hits. There IS a sweet spot for scheduling activities and games. I subscribe to the less is more motto when it comes to scheduling group activities. The less you control the flow of the party the more people will feel as though they are a part of the event. It shows your guests that their presence is valued as they ultimately decide what they want to do and when. Take this example –
You are looking forward to going to a party to meet up with an old friend you have not seen in years. The host has a detailed itinerary that includes a scavenger hunt around the city, seating chart, and cocktail hour. You are thrilled, but when you arrive you soon realize there will not be a second to spend with your friend because the night is booked with ALL group activities and games. You end the evening tired and disappointed, wishing you could have had more time alone with your friend, the reason you came in the first place.
6. Decorating Extravaganza
￼The more the better, ouch. Decor can be a really scary item for your wallet when it comes to themed parties, so stop where you are. Before you go to Party City, Michael’s, Jo Anne’s or anywhere else, please please please, go to the Dollar Tree first. Everything is a dollar that would normally be $3. And believe me, you can get a ton of decorations for under $50 (see above).
After the Dollar Tree we then shamelessly head to Walmart. Sometimes we even buy decor from thrift stores if we have been planning for a while. Get your creative juices going for your decor and don’t be afraid to let inspiration strike. I purchase items that are “up to three times removed” from the actual theme. (Similar to how a 3rd tier connection is still okay to reach out to on LinkedIn…Right?)
Decorating Rule #1
Decorating Rule #2 “Go Big Or Go Home”
7. Send Invites
This is actually a step we could be better about. Facebook invites don’t count, so yes we need to do a lot better on this one. I love receiving mail, card-based emails, basically invites formally asking for my presence at any event. It is like a big ego boost to the head. Someone wants ME to come to a party, awesome!
Why wouldn’t you want your guests to feel that? Don’t expect RSVPs, or any return on your time investment collecting all of those addresses and emails, but do enjoy the chance to market your event through an invite. It will catch some stragglers and is a great excuse to keep in touch with old friends.
Also do give sufficient notice, not like us. And don’t invite everyone. (No, the person who lives in Nashville is not going to come to your “New York = New Job” party and they will feel bad when they have to press “Decline”).
8. Theme Your Food and Beverages￼
Martha Stewart is the master at this. Never have I seen any other woman able to dress up a platter in so many different ways. As the party host, you are expected to offer something up to the masses. Even if it is just cheese and crackers.
I use Pinterest for theme based food and drink inspirations. We usually offer a specialty cocktail “Gatlin” style and some appetizers. The few times we planned for an actual meal we ended up with extra food. It seems people often feel uncomfortable eating someone’s prepared meal unless it is a formal sit-down dinner party.
What if you don’t like what they make, have food allergies, think it tastes gross, and end up going hungry all night? People tend to eat ahead of time for all of these reasons, so lite appetizers and drink are the best routes. Never underestimate the allure of late-night snack extras. For some reason, frozen pizza rolls and cheese puffs sound really appealing the later the evening gets.
9. Make It A Costume Party￼
Everyone loves a costume party. If your theme can include costumes then do it in any way possible, no matter how small. Almost any themed party could easily turn into a costume party with a little effort. If your goal is to make a memory, then costumes are a must.
We try to provide costume style props for a lot of our parties so those not able to get a full costume together don’t feel awkward. Mustaches anyone? The more creative your friends the better the costumes will get. Prizes always help for those a little on the shy side.
10. Take Lots of Pictures
Even though this is the last tip please remember this to be the most important. I forget to take pictures about half of the time, so I have lived through the devastation of not having our themed parties preserved forever.
Taking pictures is a great way to show off your handy work, make all those not in attendance ridiculously jealous, and pictures are fun items to give to friends at later dates when you are reminiscing about that “crazy party” you had. The past couple of times I have been on camera duty, I have been super thankful. So take those pictures, and post them below.
11. Choose a Transporation Company
Of course, you don’t need an outside company to provide limousine transportation for your event. We hope that if you love the information we provided and would like for you to consider us for your future luxury limousine needs. San Diego Hotlimos hopes to win you and your friends over with our experience, affordable rates, attention to detail and safe party bus charters.