Black tie affair decorating ideas

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Black tie affair decorating ideas
Soft lighting adds simple elegance to a black-tie event. (Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Think sparkle and glitz, elegance and fun, black and gold; this is a black-tie affair. Decorating for such an exquisite event such as a prom or an upscale birthday party should be enjoyable and not intimidating. Choose over-the-top, froufrou decor but also incorporate quirky touches, reflecting the honoured guest to lighten the mood. Focus on the entrance. A grand entrance sets the stage to welcome all to the gallant event.

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Grand Entrance

A grand entrance sets the stage for a black-tie event. Rent or build an entrance archway. Place the archway just inside the entrance for grandeur as guests arrive. Plug clear Christmas lights into an outlet near the archway. Wrap the string of lights around the archway starting at the bottom of one side. Continue to wrap or weave the lights all the way up and over the arch to the bottom of the other side.

Balloons

Balloons are a must-have at any party. Blow up and tie loads of metallic black and gold balloons. Attach lengths of ribbon and hang the balloons generously around the entire party area in singles or bouquet bunches. Use tape to attach balloon ribbons to walls, around doorways and from the ceiling. Don't forget the rest rooms and hallway; use some of the balloons to spruce up these areas as well.

Whimsy

Add a hint of whimsy to balance a black-tie affair. Cut silhouettes of spaghetti-strap cocktail dresses, tuxedos, bow ties and martini glasses from black poster paper using scissors. Add details to the silhouettes with metallic pens. Tape the cutouts to the walls in a random fashion, around the bar or hors d'oeuvres tables.

Cut out silhouette head shots of the honoured guests from black poster paper. Use a metallic pen and fancy handwriting to add each person's name. Write niceties or fun facts about each person on her silhouette and tape baby pictures or good-times photos to coordinating silhouettes.

Flowers

A classy shindig just wouldn't be complete without flowers. Fill large, clear glass or crystal vases about half-full with black glass pebbles. Tie gold ribbon around each vase and make a generously, flowing bow. Pour enough water into the vases, bringing the level up to the height of the pebbles. Push a few large blooms, such as white peonies, orchids or roses, by the stems into the pebbles. Add sprigs of greenery or curly willow to the arrangement. Place the vases on the bar, self-serve food tables, rest room counters and near the entrance. Make miniature floral arrangements in wineglasses using the same method as the vases. Place a floral wineglass on each table as a centrepiece.

Lighting

Soft, romantic lighting adds a touch of class to an upscale party. Hang gold-coloured paper lanterns randomly from the ceiling using string and tape to secure them in place. Hang the lanterns at various heights for interest but keep them well above the height of guests' heads. The lit paper lanterns provide soft, moonlight ambience. Remove all regular light bulbs from the space and replace them with amber-coloured bulbs for a sultry glow.

Mingling Tables

People like to congregate around tables, but use creativity to keep them from tying up the snack tables. Scatter tall bar tables throughout the area for people to stand and chat, nibble at and set their drinks on while they enjoy the festivities. Top these tables with black napkins, votive candles or even antique silver candle sticks. Leaving chairs out of this table setting encourages mingling. Leave an area for dancing when placing tables.

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