Display Favorite Items of Honoree
- If your honoree is creative, select a few of his/her best pieces of artwork, embroidery, or woodwork to display at the party. Have some of the best pieces framed for the guests to enjoy and the honoree to keep to take to his/her college room or first apartment
- If your honoree is a performer, have video clips of the dance, chorus, band or gymnastics performances with the guests to run during the party.
- As part of your decorating, display a vignette that shows off the honoree’s interests and accomplishments—musical instruments, team or activity t-shirts, sport equipment, school projects, trophies, awards, favorite books, posters of heroes or beloved celebrities or movies. This vignette could be used as a background for photo-ops for guests to pose with the honoree for digital, disposable camera or Polaroid photos.
- Decorate with a clothesline hung with the sports jerseys or activity t-shirts the honoree had worn throughout the years.
- It is helpful to have a table near the entrance of the party room or front door of your home for a welcoming party display about the honoree and a place to deposit gifts and cards. A guest book or keepsake book and albums might also be placed there.
- You may want to ask the guests in the party invitation to bring a typed 8.5 x 11 page with a favorite memory of or story about the honoree. Have a decorative binder with plastic page protectors into which the guests’ pages can be slipped upon their arrival. Then the guests can read the other guests’ memories throughout the evening and the honoree will have a wonderful keepsake to look in the future.
- You can also send a scrapbook page to each of your guests in advance, asking them to add their messages for the honoree and return them to you by a specified date before the party, so that you can put the special book together to be viewed at the party.
- As a variation, you might want to ask guests to bring a typed copy of a favorite recipe for a college graduate to begin a collection to use in his new home or tips for what to do in college or in “the real world.” For a milestone birthday, guests might be asked to contribute typed tips for dealing with life “after 50” or share hopes for the next 25 years of marriage for those celebrating a special anniversary.
- You may ask your guests to come to the party with his/her own toast, tribute or remembrance, in lieu of a store-bought gift. This can take many different forms—a personal note, a doodle, a recorded message, a video segment, a song, a skit, a photo collage, slide presentation, a homemade music video, or a poem.
- If the idea of having guests come with a prepared message doesn’t appeal to you, set up a video camera in an area of the party room or home with some sort of decorated backdrop, and ask guests to stop by at some point in the party and to record a more spontaneous message. You could have each guest start off by saying, “David, you are special to me/our family because…”
- For a more light-hearted or funny memento, have each guest start by saying, “Tiffany, I think your future holds…” or “Max, I think you are most likely to…in the future.”
- Have everyone in attendance sign a guest book. You may encourage family and friends to leave personal messages for the honoree. You may want to write in a few inspiring quotes or playful condolences on aging to get the guests started on their messages. The honoree will have this to read at a later time to remember his/her special day.
- Since cards mark the special occasion, make a card box for guests to put them in. Cut a hole large enough to accommodate many sizes of cards in the top of a shirt or shoe box. Then cover the box in appropriately colored wrapping paper, tissue or scrapbooking paper. Be sure to put a label on it or make a tent card to stand beside it and put the box in a visible spot. You may want to attach a balloon bouquet to it for more visibility. A decorated mailbox, basket, or gift bag will also work well and can be used as a centerpiece.
- You may have a large photo album or two on your display table. Add double-sided tape and plenty of pens near the books. Encourage your guests to tape in their instant photos and to write in a wish for the honorees. It’s like creating a yearbook capturing this one moment in time.
- If a friend or family members is into scrapbooking, ask them create a special graduation scrapbook about the honoree’s past life or looking into his/her future which can be displayed at the party.
- You might purchase inexpensive autograph books to have on the tables for guests to sign and leave messages in for the honoree.
- Have a new address book at the card and gift table so that guests can add their contact information for the honoree to take away to college or to a first apartment. You might have pre-stamped blank postcards on the table for guests to address to themselves so that the graduate will have no excuse not to write from college or his/her new home.
You can find more memory-sharing ideas at this post.