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Thursday, October 6, 2022


Last week we held our annual Widows/Widowers "Heritage Banquet" at church (you might remember me sharing last year's decor here).  This year the theme was SO cute, I wanted to share again!  I know that some of you are like me and help decorate for various events, I thought this idea is a good one to keep as a possibility for something you might do in the future.  Let me start also by saying that although I had a role in helping with last year's event, I can't take any credit for any of these decorations!  This year the "Vintage School Days" theme was totally conceived and executed by my friend and a team of helpers.  I enjoyed just attending and knew you all would enjoy seeing the decorations!  

Everything turned out absolutely darling and our honored guests seemed to really enjoy the evening.  Anyone who wished to was invited to wear any of their old school gear, we had several vintage letter jackets around the room that were fun to see.

This was the welcome/registration table.  My friend made a balloon garland (this pump and this balloon strip make the process such a snap!) that hung above the table.

She added some cute vignettes on the ends of the table, the open spot in the middle was for check in lists, etc.  

We used a small chalkboard and easel for a welcome greeting at the end of the table.

She had the brilliant idea to make miles of paper chains to decorate with (staple them for strength, don't tape or glue!) and she chose the cutest color palette.  Some of the men strung lights in our Entry and hung the paper chains with them (hard to see well but it was so festive especially as it got dark that evening).

The stage was ADORABLE!  

She hired a local friend that has a business making custom bulletin boards, stage props, etc. to make the bus, banner, and large stand alone 3D books.  They were incredible!  

She brought in some of her personal items like the old bike that's normally in her yard- ha!- (sprayed with my favorite Meadow Green), a letter jacket, mums, etc. to fill in the stage.

For the tables, she used pieces of turf cut into squares as a centerpiece base, then large mason jars filled with spider mums.  

When people registered they were asked to send in an old school photo of themselves, then those were printed, attached to skewers, and added to the flower vases.  They were so fun to walk around and look at and try to guess who they were!

School Days Centerpiece with green turf square base, books, pennants, and vintage school photos in flower vase

She also added plastic megaphones, pom poms, pennants (some were vintage, some were purchased, some she made with plaid paper).  Some people brought yearbooks to use in the centerpiece as well and we raided the church library for encyclopedias and books to also mix in.  

For the entertainment, a quartet of some of our ministers sang a few old songs, and then led in a sing along medley of classic favorites.  We also had slides of school pictures of some of the church staff when they were young that everyone tried to guess who they were, and the pastor shared an encouraging word.  

My friend did ask me to set up a photo booth spot which I did, but it was so easy to go off of her concept and ideas.  Another friend had the vintage desk that she brought in, and although I would have loved to have a rolling chalkboard on a stand we didn't have one available.  Instead, I pulled a dry erase board out of a classroom at the church and covered it with black paper to mimic an old chalkboard, then wrote on it with chalk.  Most of the books I used are my Dad's old college textbooks!

"School Days" Photo Booth set up with standing chalkboard, vintage desk and books

TIP:  A light spritz of aerosol hairspray over chalk art or lettering helps seal it so it won't rub off!  I was concerned that people standing too close might rub against the lettering and smear it, and this trick worked like a charm.  It will darken your letters when you spray it but don't worry, when it dries it is not noticeable at all.  This works on paper or chalkboards, just wipe with a wet rag if you want to clean the design off of a chalkboard.  (This is a screenshot from a video but you get the idea!)

My sweet niece and nephew were part of the team of students serving/waiting tables for the evening.  They use this as a fundraiser for upcoming mission trips.  There are tip jars on the tables if people would like to make donations, then the money collected is divided and credited to the students' trip accounts who worked that evening.  

As a party favor all of the guests were able to choose a vintage style chalkboard or lunchbox ornament to take home to remember the evening. 

Here are some things that might help if you want to plan your own Vintage School Days event!

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Would you like to comment?

  1. So darling and effective!!Love every inch of the decor!!! What a great turn out! I’m going to pass this idea on to my church.

    1. Thank you! Glad you are able to stash this idea away!

    2. Absolutely agree, this is just beautiful! Great work Jennifer, love this!


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