Planning a Dolly Parton theme party is fun and not as complex as some celebrity theme party ideas. Dolly has such a distinctive look, plus her music, her Tennessee origins and her Dollywood theme park are so well-known that a party organiser has plenty of material to work with. From invites to food to the party playlist, there are a host of ways to make everything just Dolly.
Everyone knows what Dolly look like, but she does have a range of looks. There's the down-home, check shirt and jeans Dolly, the Nashville-style glamorous cowgirl Dolly and the sophisticated Hollywood Dolly. Offer a prize for the best Dolly in each category. Encourage male guests to come as Dolly and offer a separate prize for the best male. Suggest that guys who don't fancy drag come as Kenny Rogers or stick to country and western dress. Decorate your party invite with images of different Dolly outfits to help your guests put together a costume.
Compiling a playlist of Dolly's big hits shouldn't be too difficult. One way to make sure your guests feel involved is to ask them to name their favourite Dolly song when they reply to your invite. You can create a Top 10-style countdown of Dolly songs based on the "votes" for each one. Another entertaining possibility is to hire a karaoke machine and have a Dolly singalong. Don't start it until the party has warmed up and people are in the mood for performing.
Think Tennessee. Stick to simple finger-food like fried chicken and barbecued spare ribs. Corn on the cob, black-eyed peas and corn bread are suitable accompaniments. Southerners love sweets and Dolly is no exception. Make some Hello Dolly bars from her own cookbook, "Dolly's Dixie Fixin's." You will help her Imagination Library charity to get more books to children by buying the book. Indeed, a Dolly-themed party is an excellent fundraising idea for the UK branch of the charity.
Choose some traditional cocktails, or make a make a bowl of Tennessee punch, and name the drinks after Dolly songs if you like. For example, Jolene's eyes were green, so a traditional southern mint julep could become a Green Jolene. This cooling drink is ideal for summer parties as an alternative to the traditional British Pimms. Bourbon and ginger is a staple for guests who prefer a simple drink, or persuade them to try an "Old Fashioned" a classic cocktail that conjures up images of southern glamour.