Congratulations Party Ideas

by Kate Bradley, Demand Media

    Someone's got good news, and it's time to celebrate. Whether it's a promotion, a new job, an engagement or a degree completion, celebrating with the new achiever is an enjoyable way to show you're just as excited as she is. You can keep your congratulations party low-key or throw a big bash - either way, a party is definitely in order!

    Surprise!

    Making the congratulations party a surprise will make the party go with an even bigger swing. If you're celebrating a promotion, ask his boss to keep him a little later at work so you can arrange things at his home. Hide guests' cars on another street and get everyone inside with the lights off, but have someone standing ready to flip the switch when the door opens. When it does, flip the lights, pop champagne and release confetti or streamers. To surprise a newly engaged couple, have a friend of each ask them separately to meet at a favorite pub for a drink. Call the pub and reserve it so that it will appear empty when the couple arrives. Hide everyone in the back room. When the pairs arrive, they'll be puzzled until all the guests burst out with congratulations. Have a "Congratulations!" banner ready to drop at the big moment.

    Gifts

    Friends and family of the bearer of good news will surely want to mark the occasion with a gift. Coordinate gifts with the party guests to ensure she gets the best and most useful gifts. For example, if she was just accepted at a competitive university, put guests into groups. Make one group responsible for dorm room furnishings, another for "fun" (such as games or movies), another for academic supplies and another for food. If she has just won the lead in her ballet company's production, group guests into gift groups of pampering (for example, a massage or facial), outfitting (gift certificates for new toe shoes) and decoration (flowers or paintings for her dressing room).

    One Last Fling

    A congratulations party often precedes the lucky achiever's need to get down to business. He may not get a break from hard work for a while, so give him one now. Celebrate a new job with a weekend trip to the mountains. Rent a cabin, relax and party all weekend. Or, "kidnap" him and head to the coast, where you'll have reserved a suite in a luxury hotel for a long weekend of fun in the sun. You also could rent a posh car and head to Atlantic City for a few days of gambling and partying.

    Decor

    Make the lucky achiever's party as festive and exciting as possible. Break out the big, colorful balloons and streamers. Cover tables in bright-colored tablecloths. Use attractive cocktail napkins and serve drinks in margarita glasses or champagne flutes. Hang "Congratulations!" banners. Create a personalized banner (with every guest's signature) to hang at the party and then give to the guest of honor as a memento. Pass out party hats and use pretty silk flowers to make centerpieces.

    Food and Drink

    If you want to throw an elegant congratulations party, stick to top-shelf items like crab claws, steak, lobster and sushi. Serve champagne or sparkling wine. For a more casual celebration, hold a potluck dinner party and have all guests sign up to bring one item or have the party catered with easy-to-eat dishes like mini sandwiches, tiny sausages or cheese cubes. If you want a really low-key celebration, stick to hot dogs, hamburgers and chips or an ice cream sundae buffet. For all parties, have a bakery make cupcakes with "Congrats!" written on them in icing.

    About the Author

    Kate Bradley began writing professionally in 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and a minor in German from Berry College in Rome, Ga; TEFL/TESOL certification from ITC International in Prague; and a Master of Arts in integrated global communication from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.

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