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Headteacher Retirement Tea Party - on a budget! (24 photos)


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This was my first voluntary party event. The criteria was simple, a tea party in a school hall, and the headteacher's favourite colours were pink and purple. There was a budget of £50 ($75), 2 volunteers to help organise and 6 on the day to set up. I decided to focus on a country garden informal tea party theme and planning only started a week before the event.

The food was to be kept to a minimum and so a few parents were asked to either make cupcakes with a pink/purple theme, or bisuits. £15 was spent on the sweetie bar and £5 for a banqueting roll. Sheets were used to drape on the front. I handmade the food labels - if I had known in advance the types of cakes and biscuits I would have printed these in advance instead of hand writing at the event. The bunting with "Thank you Fran" was handmade with old cardstock, left over paints and my Cricut. All the decorations on the main table were provided by myself.

I used a trolley I had previously decorated for the glasses and plates. I thought the mini milk bottles - which is how children were always given their milk years ago - were perfect to hold the milk for teas and coffees.

I envisaged a washing line with photos from the headteachers time at the school. I provided mini craft pegs and bulldog clips in pastel colours and two volunteers set this display up, but it didn't quite have the washing line look I was hoping for.

Guest book. A Poundland album was purchased and I decorated the spine. One of the other organisers created a selection of 4" x 6" cards with different sentiments on and they were placed on the tables in the hall for guests to complete.

A photo booth just with assorted frames were available. Other props were not used for this particular event.

A CD of the headteachers favourite bands/artistes was burned and played in the background.

RETIRE. Each letter of the word retire became a theme and tables were decorated accordingly. Green wine bottles were used as vases and a bunch of carnations were bought. If I had been arranging the flowers I would have added some greenery, but as the volunteers were also giving up their time for free, they were left as displayed. Paper bags were used to label each table's theme. Again, as there was little budget I made these out of unused craft stash, but it would have been more appealing to have been able to continue the pink and purple theme. In some of the photographs the props are spread all over the tables but this was changed before the party started to create a more compact, visually effective, display.

R - RELAX. Spa related as we knew the headteacher enjoys relaxing at the local spa.

E - ENJOY. A display board was decorated with a collage of photos of her children and grandchildren. Also props for gardening and theatre.

T - TRAVEL. I decorated the vanity suitcase so that it had a more vintage theme to it and purchased an old second-hand camera. Passports, tickets, and travel guides were also included.

I - IDEAS. This was the hardest, but a bucket list of things to do was suggested. Also books of hobbies and languages to learn was used.

R - READ. Two different '100 books you must read' were printed and a selection of the books named were displayed. Bookmarks and library cards used too.

E - Entertain. Wine and games were used to depict entertaining.

A Retirement Survival Guide was printed on A3 paper and laid out with all the items mentioned. Ideally backing the guide on cardboard, decorating it, and being able to display it upright would have made it visually more appealing.

The headteacher and guests were overwhelmed (most used phrase by everyone) by the event and although there were some areas I would have done differently overall I think it was a Headtecher Retirement Tea Party on a Budget to be proud of :)


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Bracknell, Berkshire, England
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