Formal Tips

The Decorating Game

For those on the formal committees for their school or have a role in the event organisation, one of the most exciting part of the formal planning process is decorating the night for your school mates. We’ve outlined the three essential steps to event planning, as well as supplied some pro tips from previous experiences, to simplify the process for you and the rest of the formal committee.

Plus, for some added inspiration for formal theme and decorating ideas, scroll down to see our current favourite pics from Pinterest!


The 3 Steps to Event Decorating:

1. Choosing a theme or style:

Choosing a theme to base your formal around is a great way to add fun and style to your decorations and invitations. Think of anything that could make a cool and interesting theme; from movies, to books, to different eras or simply keep it to the classics. A night at the casino (channel James Bond), a venue transported to the jungle (for a wild night), or a formal that invites you into your favourite fairytale (to live out your fantasy of being the princess of the ball) – the possibilities are endless! For added intrigue, keep your decided theme a secret from your classmates and hide clues around the common room to start the guessing game going.

2. Research and planning:

Research is key in all areas of life, from planning for a history essay to organising an important event, which is why it should be a key component in your formal planning. No need to whack out the books or open your Facebook-procrastination-tab on your laptop for this research assignment though, I promise you this will be fun!

The first part to this step involves coming up with ideas on how you are going to use your fabulous theme to make your formal an enchanting night. However, brainstorming can be a difficult task for those in need of some creative inspiration, so try researching some fun and unique ideas for decorating your theme. Pinterest, the online catalogue for ideas, is usually the best place to start. Create a folder of images on your desktop or do it the old-fashioned way with a notebook or mood-board to organise your ideas and visualise what they will all look like together.

Once you’ve found your favourite ways to decorate the event and execute your theme, it’s time to start planning how you will make it all come to life. This can be the tricky part, but luckily we have a few tips to help you through it:

– Look up the cheapest/coolest places for decorating supplies. Try to think outside the box; check out places like prop warehouses for theatre companies or party supply shops like Peter Van the Party Man (although not the first place you’d think of when decorating an elegant formal night, they have cheap and necessary supplies to help you get crafty with it)

– Visit a few different stores and locations so you make sure you’ve found the cheapest and best ways to execute your decorating ideas, don’t just settle for the first thing you see!

3. Keeping to within the budget

Keeping within the budget you’re given by your school is the most important aspect of formal planning. Create a spread sheet and divide it into the categories of all the necessary components for the night, such as venue, photographer, food and drinks, DJ, lighting and sound, invitations and decorations. A pro tip is to make sure you’ve worked out the cost of the critical components, such as venue, photographer and DJ, before you start planning things like decorations, just so you know how much should be dedicated to making the night look good. You don’t want to blow the budget on extravagant and unnecessary additions (a five tiered chocolate fountain wont be quite the same when you can’t afford the venue to put it in).


Our Current 3 Favourite Theming Ideas :

We’ve picked out our favourite ideas for decorating a themed formal to give you a head start on brainstorming your own formal decorations; scroll below for some gorgeous inspiration and head to our Pinterest page ( for more!

A Tropical Luau: 

 Vibrant, bright and fresh – going tropical for formal is a great way to add fun and adventure to your formal night. We are loving the Pinterest take on tropical that is trending right now,  giving a classy and chic addition to the classic party theme. Think a gold, green and pastel colour-theme and flower-filled pineapples!

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An Enchanted Forest: 

Magical, rustic and fairy-tale worthy – transporting your formal to an enchanted forest is the perfect way to bring out the inner child in your classmates and create a beautiful setting filled with plentiful flowers and out-of-the-box decorating ideas. Flowers hanging in light bulbs, fairy lights in glass jars, birdcages, tree trunks and old wooden crates – this theme provides the perfect excuse to get craft with your formal decorations and embrace up-cycling!

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The Candy Man: 

What’s better than an excuse to fill your formal with an extravagant amount of desserts? Channel your inner Marie Antoinette and let sugary delights be the inspiration for your formal theme. Whether you embrace Willy Wonka with giant lolly-pops and a bright colour-theme or take a more rustic and pastel-coloured route, try to come up with cute and crafty ideas to impress your classmates. Flowers in ice-cream cones, lollies in teacups and artfully created dessert tables; the candy-covered ideas are endless!

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Visit for all the formal inspiration you’re looking for x

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