Make the Celebration Truly About Them

So you’re throwing a party for someone special, but you want to make it really unforgettable without going overboard and over budget. What can you do? According to event designer, Sarah Reese, no matter what the occasion – birthday, shower, retirement, going away or any life event – it can be so much more memorable and personal if the details relate to the preferences and passions of the guest of honor. “Think about what makes them unique,” Sarah says. “Why are we celebrating them? What qualities about them make the rest of the world smile?”


Similarly, consider what’s their favorite color? Flower? Travel destination? Hobby? Book? Quote or saying? Combine those elements and weave them into a celebration that tells their story.

Start with their favorite colors, and plan to incorporate them throughout. For instance, a little food coloring can go a long way to personalizing the frosting on home made cupcakes, cookies or cakes with they love.
Create a welcome sign that highlights their favorite things or most adored qualities.

Make the tables and wall decor reflect the guest of honor’s personality. Do they love to read? How about a banner decorated with book jackets? Do they live for the beach? Consider a table scape with tropical decorations…pineapples, palm trees, sun icons and colorful cocktail umbrellas. For favors – try making a message in a bottle for each attendee.



Did they come of age in another era? If their youth was spent in the 1950s, for instance, look for nostalgic touches…juke boxes and other retro diner or soda fountain icons. For the ‘70s, consider the festive touch of a disco mirror ball.

The centerpiece can also reflect the guest of honor. If they’re adventurous, create a fabulous hot-air balloon display with a basket at its base. If they’re a gardener, straw hats adorned with flowers can make beautiful centerpieces.

Fill goodie bags with their favorite treat – maybe it’s chocolate chip cookies or a special chocolate or nostalgic candy from childhood.

And don’t forget a guest book. It can become a keepsake the guest of honor will treasure forever. If they like music, for instance, guests could sign old vinyl records with metallic sharpies. If they love balloons, have each guest write a message on a slip of paper and insert it into a balloon that will be inflated…and then popped toward the end of the party so the message can be read aloud.