{Resource} ‘Go Somewhere’ Party Planning

There is nothing like a themed party to kick-start spring. I think it would be really fun to throw a dinner party or brunch with a travel-inspired theme.

Pulling a themed party together doesn’t have to be super complicated. Just start with a place, such as Paris, or even just France, or use a general locale, like the beach. Martha Stewart Weddings says, “Choose a location, then infuse all the details with local flavor…To decorate, use a road map as a runner and scatter treats from the location across the table.” I personally love the idea of a map as a runner, or even cut into paper placemats for each table spot. Once you have a theme picked, you can get to work pulling the other details together.

Getting the Word Out – Invitations should probably come next. Use the invitations to whet your guests appetite and inspire the theme.  Maps, vintage photos of the location, a special item or landmark that is unique to your theme are all great starting points to create an invitation.  I personally love creating paper invitations to send through the good old snail-mail.  If that isn’t your thing, evites or email can still be a fun way to pull together your theme and get the word out to your guests. Invitations for a party can be sent out as far or close to the event as you feel comfortable.

Crafting a Menu – With a little research, you can incorporate foods of the location into your menu. Decide on items based on the time of day you are having the party.  If you will be serving a full dinner, choose a main entree and a side or two. Salad is always a nice {and relatively easy} touch.  Dessert is a must and can be a great way to infuse your locations theme together at the end. For an appetizer-only party, use flavors and inspirations to create one-of-a-kind nibbles or find finger foods from your location of choice.

Decorating the Table – This is tied for my favorite part with making the food. There are just so many options to decorate a table.  Tablecloth or placemats or runner…fancy china or everyday dishes…paper napkins or fabric…one big centerpiece {making sure not to obstruct your guest’s vision across the table of course} or a cluster of 3 smaller centerpieces…the list could go on and on.  ‘Editing’ your table decorations so that everything fits but doesn’t overwhelm the guests is the most critical part of decorating a table. This is often the hardest as well.  Use tablecloths, runners, and other fabric components to bring in a color specific to your theme that may not already be present.  The clearance rack at JoAnn Fabrics usually has a few remnants that can be cut to the right size for a very small amount of money.  If you need an easy centerpiece, go with flowers.  They are always beautiful and easy to pull together in a snap. If you have more time, pull together trinkets and goodies that are really characteristic or remniscent of your location.  Little statues, printed postcards, etc. can all be layered in the center to create a nice focal point. I’ve include some of my favorite travel-inspired ideas below.

From Top Left to Bottom Right: Create Passport Invitations {or use as a menu at each guest’s spot}; use an old suitcase as a buffet or side table by adding legs; create map vases by cutting maps to size and wrapping around cylindrical vases for an easy centerpiece; scatter vintage suitcases throughout a buffet table and place your food on and around; I love these little Eiffel Tower place card holders {write the guest’s name or a funny factoid about your theme’s location as a discussion point}; create postcard invitations with your location’s name on the front.

Have fun planning!

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