Remember the magic of being invited and going to a friend’s birthday party as a kid? The games, the cake (with hidden coins wrapped in tinfoil), the loot bags that you hoped were jam-packed with candy… There’s a wonderful nostalgia that we have for those simple joys and childlike wonder. Recapturing those sentiments is a recurring theme for event planners to bring a fresh and unique spin to old-fashioned party essentials, like balloons, piñatas and confetti with a handcrafted touch. While these decorations would captivate preschoolers, they are perfect for adults looking to trip down memory lane. Happy days are here again!
Look for these five top trends to incorporate into your client’s next event:
1. Whimsical Garlands
Use garlands to set the tone for revelry. They make a gorgeous party backdrop on simple white walls or tent draping for an outdoor event. There are all kinds of garlands making appearances, but some more notable ones offer interesting shapes, textures and hints of metallic. They are playful and sophisticated. Geometric diamonds, for example, create visual interest, or origami creations like these orange and white “beads” , have a beautiful feel, without being too fussy or overdone. Or go with fashionable fringe—long tissue-paper tassels on a garland can be flirty and dramatic in bright jewel tones.
Bunting is also chic and festive, done with ribbon or fabric, and looped from ceiling corner to corner. Note the fun shapes, sizes and colours of this party garland envisioned by Purl Soho. These all have an uplifting, artistic and handcrafted vibe that says “made with care, especially for you.”
What could be more celebratory than throwing confetti? That, and the pop of a Champagne cork, make people want to relax, loosen their ties and have some fun. The tradition to toss paper bits at newlyweds to wish them a fertile union is not just for weddings, of course. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and holiday fetes can all benefit from confetti, whether it’s thrown enthusiastically or provides an accent for tablescaping.
Get creative with confetti and choose something that lends itself to the tone of your event. Fresh wildflower petals are beautiful and aromatic. Rosebuds and larger petals like violets are perfect for decoration, or opt for different shapes and textures, such as colourful felt circles, glitter stars, or winter wonderland snowflake bits of hand-shredded paper mixed with shimmering metallic foil pieces, shown here. Another option is edible confetti, in candy colours or sophisticated peach, mint or gold, like these tasty bits from Sugar & Cloth.
Happy and stress-free! There’s so much more to balloon decoration than helium and numbers marking age and anniversary years. They can be great focal points, playing on the party theme. Try ones with patterns or unexpected texture, such as lace or pompons. There are amazing ones with marble finishes in saturated colours, amusing paint splatters, and two tones with white dipped in primary hues, all found at Oh Happy Day!, for example. Or create a fantastic retro feel with painted polka-dot balloons in pastels, or glitter confetti in clear balloons on long sticks, grouped in bunches or lining a entranceway.
Balloons can transform a space much like an art installation. So be inspired! Try something large and dramatic with photos hanging from gold balloons suspended like a chandelier over a dining table. For an outdoor event, add glow sticks inside large balloons and float them in the pool. Or appeal to teenage fantasy and make a huge water balloon slip and slide. See these awesome ideas here at ArchitectureArtDesigns.
Really, you can’t go wrong with fabulous colour, fringed tissue paper and candy! The latest in these Cinco de Mayo favourites is something beautifully handcrafted and personalized. Not just a large donkey, but why not a rainbow-toned heart, Lego block, superhero, cartoon character, or threesome of giant ice creams cones? Or a giant slice of layer cake with a candle for a birthday party? You can also try typography, such as an oversize ampersand (geek alert!) or X’s and O’s. Or splash a little glamor with geometric metallic jewel pinatas and matching blindfolds.
Another approach to the piñata theme is the magic in the details—piñata napkin rings, adorable piñata cookies (stuffed with Smarties) or piñata cupcakes, spotlighted here on Brit+Co.
5. Flowers Arrangements
Flowers are so versatile, and certainly no longer relegated to table vases or buds floating in glass orbs. There is a decidedly lush, organic and free-form design that’s fresh and current. The notion is to bring fresh-picked wildflowers into the room and have fun with them. Hang them from lighting fixtures in gorgeous bunches. Give them the rustic chic treatment by placing them in wood bowls or tiny tree stumps. Add in some pretty delicate glass containers to showcase the natural beauty of sunny geraniums or big-impact hydrangeas. No need to be shy or staid with your party florals. Pinterest offers some great inspiration.
Every party presents an opportunity for event planners to be creative and find ways to take an inspired approach to tailoring the event to your client’s tastes and preferences. Take note of these top trends to bring some childhood nostalgia to the forefront—and your client’s guests will have a blast down memory lane.
About the Author: Karen Hawthorne worked for six years as a digital editor for the National Post, contributing articles on business, food, culture and travel for affiliated newspapers across Canada. She now writes from her home office in Toronto as a freelancer, and takes breaks to bounce with her son on the backyard trampoline. Connect with her on LinkedIn.