As I’ve previously discussed here on the blog, my sister-in-law and I have gotten into reading romance in the last year — my SIL, especially. (She says it drowns out the sound of her toddler’s TV shows very nicely.) So for her birthday this year, we decided it would be fun to throw a party themed around romance novels.
Now, that’s not exactly a party theme you can find decor and supplies for easily (and take caution when Googling ideas, because the majority of the results will be about throwing a sales party for adult toys) — so we had to get creative.
Since we’ve now successfully thrown a romance book-themed party (and did all the scary Googling for you), we thought it our noble duty to share our tips and tricks for throwing your OWN romance book-themed party.
1. Books Make the Best Decorations
We used books themselves as the biggest part of our decorations, in a couple of ways.
For starters, we made sure to showcase some of our favorite covers on the fireplace mantle, then featured other books stacked up throughout the party space.
We also (gasp!) destroyed a couple books to use the pages for decorations. Now, I have a hard time with the concept of destroying books for crafts, but I sucked it up this time for my SIL. And we had some criteria for the books we chose to sacrifice:
- One of the books was a romance my SIL had already read, and declared it “too rape-y”
- Two of the books were bought for about $0.50 each at a thrift store
- One of those was a Nora Roberts book, and if anyone could live with one less (very used copy) of their books being out of circulation, we felt Nora could handle it.
We turned the loose pages into a variety of decorations for the party:
- Table runners
- Birthday banner
- Heart-shaped book page confetti
And we also used some of the extras for one of our party crafting activities (more on that later).
2. Raid the Valentine’s Day Decorations
For the rest of our decor, we basically raided the post-Valentine’s Day sales for heart-shaped everything. Paper plates & napkins, table cloths, balloons, straws, candies, etc. We even pilfered things from our regular Valentine’s Day decorations and put them out for the party.
3. Romantic Reading Activities
For party activities, we had a few fun choices … starting with dramatic readings from romance books (of which we had plenty scattered about as decor). You can make your dramatic readings activity as simple or as elaborate as you want. We went for simple, and just let whoever wanted to do a reading grab a book, pick a passage at random, and read. My brother very much enjoyed reading from The Wrong Highlander using the thickest Scottish brogue he could muster.
We also found adult-themed Mad Libs and had way too much fun filling them out. We each took turns collecting the words and reading the completed Mad Libs out loud.
For the crafty, we had a whole “make your own bookmark” station. We started with blank bookmarks (I got these on Amazon), and then we put out a variety of craft supplies people could use to decorate them with, including those extra loose book pages, colored pencils and markers, glue, stickers, glitter, etc.
4. Dress Up & Photo Booth
We love a photo op in my family, and we love an excuse to dress up. So naturally, we asked everyone to dress up like characters from romance books (either specific characters, or a character type) and then we had too much fun putting on ridiculous outfits and posing for photos. My husband even had me draw abs on him, and I must say, I’m impressed with my own contouring skills!
We do enough of these silly parties in my family, that we finally invested in a backdrop stand to use for our photo area — but you can do something as simple as hanging a sheet against a flat wall to pose in front of. Either set up a camera on a tripod, or just snap photos with your phone. It doesn’t need to be fancy to be fun!
5. Themed Food
Because we are mature adults, we decided that the entire menu should revolve around wieners, sausages, and other suggestive food. Meat balls. Nut sacks. And we did our best to come up with “suggestive” names for the rest of the food we served. (My husband came up with the idea of calling the baked beans “his seed.”)
6. Be Creative!
One of the nicest things about this party was how inexpensive it was to throw. Like I said, the majority of the decorations came from thrift store copies of books, which cost us a total of about $1.50. For the rest, we raided our existing stash of Valentine’s Day decor, and fleshed it out with some finds from the Dollar Store and post-Valentine’s Day sales. And of course, we just collected all of my SIL’s existing stash of romance books.
The real takeaway here is to just be creative, think outside the box, and figure out what you already have that you can work with.