How to throw a bon voyage party

Written by kate carpenter
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How to throw a bon voyage party
Friends often throw a bon voyage party for someone going on a cruise. (Bon Voyage image by Beatriz Matarredona from

Bon voyage parties are a long-standing tradition, held for someone going on an extended trip or vacation. Nowadays, however, bon voyage parties are given for someone leaving a job, retiring or moving away. Therefore, your party could have a bittersweet atmosphere. That is why it is important to plan to keep things light and cheerful.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Invitations
  • Banners
  • Balloons
  • Crepe paper streamers
  • Guest book
  • Video camera or still camera
  • Food

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  1. 1

    Make a list of all the friends and family important to the guest of honour. Since the party theme is really about the person leaving and the destination, inviting guests the honoree likes and considers special is a priority.

  2. 2

    Send invitations two to three weeks ahead so everyone can properly plan. Your invitation should give the specifics of who the party is for, why, where, when and any requests or instructions. A clever idea for a bon voyage party is to ask the guests to bring the smallest gift they can find that relates to travel. The person bringing the tiniest wins a prize. You may want to include on the invitation, or as its theme, something about the destination and the person's picture.

  3. 3

    Decorate the party venue with items relating to the destination of the honoured guest. You can also decorate with items in tribute to the person. Add handmade banners, signs, maps, travel posters, colourful balloons and crepe paper streamers to create a festive atmosphere.

  4. 4

    Plan activities that relate to the destination or the person. Trivia games with questions about the person's life or destination are good. Also enjoyable for everyone are tributes or a roast of the person. Be sure to have a guest book so guests can write special, personal notes to the person. Videotape the party to give to the guest of honour or take scores of photographs. Make a photo album as a memento for the honoree.

  5. 5

    Serve destination-inspired refreshments and food. If it is a tropical locale, serve sweet and sour dishes, fresh fruit, tropical drinks and bowls of nuts. European trips can have dishes of the country's origin. If the guest of honour is moving to another location, maybe out of state, research what the state is famous for. For example, Iowa is known for corn and good country-style cooking. Boston is known for baked beans and cream pie. You can incorporate something into your party menu from every region or state.

Tips and warnings

  • Suggest to your guests ahead of time to prepare a toast to the guest of honour.
  • It may make more sense to have all the guests help in purchasing one expensive gift, than many small, individual gifts.

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