Over in my professional life at my dear alma mater, I am in charge of throwing the end of year recognition and celebration for the students who contribute so much of their time and effort to the programs and volunteer opportunities offered through my department. At the end of April, we gather to give out awards, serve all the best in college cuisine (chicken fingers, loaded potato skins, ice cream sundaes), and let them dance like no one has final exams in three weeks.
The budget for this year's soirée was pretty tight and was exhausted between food and entertainment. Not being one to surrender glamour to a fixed budget (c.f. my fabulous wedding) I got crafty with office supplies and a spool of bakers twine.
My Pinterest-inspired vision saw a scheme of red and white (our school colors), balloons in varying heights, and pennant flag banners spanning the impressive 60 foot wide ballroom. Since purchasing good quality-looking versions of these flags would have cost as much as $250, I traced three triangles on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, photocopied it on stacks of red and white copy paper, and went to town with a paper slicer and hole puncher.
The day of the event, my wonderful Graduate Assistants volunteered to help me all afternoon to deck out the room. Word of advice: in my apartment the night before, I tried stringing the flags on to one of the banners. Unfortunately my apartment is not 60 feet wide. Assembling one of these behemoth banners requires at least 2 people (better with 3 - two people feeding the flags on to each end and one person pulling the threaded pennants to the center) and is best completed in a space in which the entire length of your banner can be stretched out. In smaller spaces, you will wind up with a sad, tangled nightmare.
The four 60 footers lined the dance floor (strung up with little clear 3M hooks that worked perfectly) while smaller versions adorned doorways and staging tables.
The dinner tables featured alternating red and while linens provided by campus catering. At the center of each table stood one of these darling lanterns that I was able to borrow with a balloon tied to its handle, floating at varying heights around the room. The final element was a clear glass jar - filled with these fun paper straws - that picked up light from the tea candle in the lantern.
It was absolutely my vision come to life! I've already pinned some ideas for next year. Even if these projects took hours it was so worth it. The students had a great time and the room never looked better on so little funds.
...And yes, we took down and rolled up every one of those banners like they were the Dead Sea scrolls. They are in OA colors after all. Lodge banquet 2014 maybe? :)
Find the items used here:
Photo Credit: J. Nammour