I counted it up the other day, and in the 20 months we lived in Japan, I threw nearly 30 parties, not to mention hosting my wonderful Japanese students who were studying English. I think 30 may be more parties than I threw working a real job where event planning was part of my job description!
I pride myself in throwing fun, unique parties on a shoestring budget, because let’s face it, none of us wants to go broke on one fabulous shindig! Over the next few months, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite events from my time in Japan, along with some of the tips and tricks that made them special. I decided I’d start with one of my favorites–this Glamping party!
“Now what is ‘Glamping’?” you might ask. Shorthand for “glamours camping”, glamping has become a niche industry catering to those who want to camp but don’t want to sleep in a sleeping back on the cold hard ground. I first heard about it when the hubby and I stayed at this fantastic resort near Santa Barbara (If you live in California–definitely add it to your bucket list!).
This party came about while I was volunteering for a spouses club organization I was a part of in Japan. This event was meant to be a welcome to new folks who had just moved to our little navy base in Japan/post-holiday get-together for those of us who had been in Japan for awhile. Here’s the invite I put together (I just threw it together using Apple Pages using stock images I found on the web).
I knew I wanted a “tent” right when you walked in the door, so I did what every sane person would do–I stripped a bed of everything but the fitted sheet, and I dragged a king mattress out from one of the bedrooms into the entry way. I then proceeded to hang an extra-large canvas drop cloth (available at any hardware store for $10-20) over the mattress using some rope as you see in the picture above. I then added a whole lotta pillows, a throw and there you have it–a glamorous tent! You’ll see I also found a little tree stump (which I just found laying around outside from a landscaper doing some tree-trimming) and threw a lantern on it to complete the vignette. Note: With any party be it a baby shower or a bar mitzvah, I always advice picking a color scheme and use all accents within those colors. For this party it was white, red, and teal, so everything from pillows to food signage used those colors. Doing this gives a cohesive look to your event!
My other favorite aspect of the decor was this little “wooded” area. Yes, you guessed it…those are just undecorated faux Christmas trees! I thought this was such an ingenious idea. And that “sleeping bag” is just a duvet stripped of it’s cover and rolled up with ribbon.
I stripped the rest of the house of it’s everyday decor and filled it with candles in mason jars, sprigs I clipped from pine trees, pine cones and pillar candles. It looked pretty awesome.
Our guests were invited to dress for an evening of glamping, so many showed up in flannel, boots, chunky sweaters, fur vests, and of course, great costume jewelry. It was pretty cute. We dined on chili with all the fixings, chips and salsa, veggie sticks in ranch cups, spiked lemonade (out of red solo cups), and of course, gourmet s’mores which we roasted around a fire pit outside.
All in all, it was a pretty fantastic night!