back to school buzz

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A customer wrote in asking for ideas on how to throw a back to school birthday party for her soon-to-be 16 year old daughter. Back to school makes you immediately think of yellow buses and pencils, but remember, this is a 16 year old girl. Oh, and the guest list is another 50 teenage girls… so you can see, here in lies the challenge this mom faces. How do you pull off a semi-sophisticated teen girl approved party with a back to school theme? Needless to say I was intrigued to help her.

So the easy way out would be for me to point her in the direction of our black and yellow Buzz collection as seen along side the beautiful black and yellow cake from Cake Girls above, but the event planner in me wanted to give her choices.

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So here’s a black and red alternative and some economical ideas on how to pull it together:

1. Serving table backdrop – hang or frame a lovely damask fabric, or even a chalk cloth as your backdrop and then make it evident who the guest of honor is with these rod iron letters from Pottery Barn, but don’t stop there. Get some red tissue paper from the craft store and make mini-pom poms to insert in the letters for a more dramatic effect, plus tissue pom poms won’t wilt like real flowers might in the heat of August.

2. Drink service – teen girls love to gossip and mingle… like us older girls don’t!… so have a easy drink service like this idea from Better Homes and Gardens.

3. Apple centerpieces- for the centerpieces, don’t spend a fortune on a florist unless you have money to burn. Buy apples in bulk at your local Costo or Sam’s Club and place them in glass jars around the tables and if you don’t have enough jars, stack them into pyramids. But remember to send everyone home with one as part of their thank you or you’ll be baking apple pies for a week! (image via Merry B Events)

4. Book centerpiece - another idea is to re-purpose the books you have around your home and if you don’t have enough, make a trip to your local library. Just remember that if someone spills a drink on one you’ve borrowed, you might have to pay a fine or even for the entire book! (image via Martha Stewart)

5. Cloth beverage napkins - for a group of 50, or even five for that matter, paper napkins are just lovely, but if you wanted to make a statement you could use cloth. These could be made easily with a few yards of fabric, red fabric paint, a stippling brush and a stencil from the craft store. (image via inhabitots)

6. Chalk board coasters - I also thought these could be fun and could double as placecards. They can be picked up from Purpose Design on Etsy. Or, if you’re feeling crafty, run to your local dollar store for the coasters and the craft store for the paint. In a few hours you could have 50 of these little guys.

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7. Paper lanterns – I love to give parties height with either pom poms or paper lanterns (or Pterodactyls…) and these lanterns are a lovely way to achieve that.

8. Cake – What birthday is complete without a beautiful cake? This one is from Sweet Libertine Cakes.

9. Cupcakes – I couldn’t resist putting our black and white damask cupcake wrappers from the Buzz collection in.

10. Candy – Taking a tip from Amy Atlas, it’s always a good idea to have a little candy around. These lovely jars came from Pottery Barn and you can get any color of bulk candy from The Candy Warehouse.

And just a few more things:

Table setting - For the yellow and black option, all the decor can be found with our Buzz collection. For the red and black option, we have a modern twist of red and white stripe plates paired with red and white polka dot napkins with our pirate collections. Lose the pirate eye patch napkin ring and you’re in business. {wink}

Favor - Last, but not least, the favor. A damask journal would be lovely at each placesetting, but with a guest list of 50 that would be an investment. My suggestion would be to pick up the black and white ledger books, the ones with the white block on the front for your name, that are typically with the school supplies for about $.65 this time of year. Embellish them with a red grosgrain ribbon and the guest’s name. You’ve just solved your favor and placecard needs in one project.

I hope I’ve helped Janelle in her quest for the perfect back to school birthday bash for her daughter and maybe given you a few fun ideas along the way! And if you’re not up for a full “to do” before the school year begins, maybe you would be up for a little end of summer picnic (clever ideas and beautiful photography await you)! Happy Tuesday everyone!

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