Does your Girl Scout troop or service unit participate or host any annual events?
The annual father-daughter dance has been a tradition in our Girl Scout Service Unit for 25 years, and what AMAZING fun we had this pulling it together this year! In year's past, the party has always rotated between 4 basic themes: princess, country, disco and luau, but our committee decided to mix it up a bit this year, with an 'Old South' twist on the princess theme by hosting a 'Belles and Beaus Ball" for our dads and daughters instead. When we chose the theme, we were very excited about it, but found there really wasn't much out there
on Pinterest in idea-land to copy inspire us, so planning this Southern soiree turned out to be a real challenge!
So today I am sharing all our party planning secrets with you, in hopes that your next Southern-themed event will come together that much more easily! And her's a quick pic of the night's hostesses with the mostesses - my co-leader, committee co-chair, partner-in-crime and amazing friend, along with our mini-me's at the ball!
The founder of Girl Scouts Juliette Gordon Lowe was born in Savannah, GA in the 1800's and lived at the Wayne-Gordon mansion as a child, so what better place to host a Belles and Beaus Ball than at the mansion itself? I wish I could take credit for this brilliant idea, but it was one of our committee members who came up with this stroke of genius. I just ran with it (wink, wink)!
For the focal point of our venue, we contacted the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace for high resolution images of the house and it's most famous resident, which they were only too happy to provide - for FREE! And you girl scout moms out there know how we girl scouts like/need to hear that word! From there, we created a focal point for our venue by having the image of the Wayne-Gordon House printed on four 3' by 10' panels of plain white copy paper, that we pieced carefully together and hung with Scotch brand removable mounting dots, since we weren't allowed to fasten anything to the walls. I was really worried that they may not last the night, but I give them a resounding two-thumbs up! We also made sure to arrange the tables so that nothing was blocking the poster and it could double as a photo op too!
Although the picture was in color, the black and white copy was by far the least expensive printing option available for the scale of the print and gave it a real vintage feel as well. The label across the top we simply cut from some donated (FREE!) poster paper and lettered using a Cricut and some clearance scrapbook paper.
Scarlet? Melanie? Is that y'all!!
We also printed out a picture of Juliette Gordon Low and placed it on an easel next to the registration table so she could 'welcome' guests to the ball!
Fortunately, we received a couple of cash donations from local businesses, including Rhea Lana South Houston and Dentistry 4 Children, for the event (message me if you would like more information about how to do that), so we were able to purchase white (plastic) table cloths for the foundation of our tablescapes. Then we layered borrowed (FREE!) burlap runners over the tablecloths and topped them with cut magnolia leaf clusters. These were 8' tables and it took about 5 leaf clusters to make the arrangements. We had borrowed (FREE!) mason jars and donated (FREE!) tea lights nestled into the leaves and then added crepe paper magnolias that we made ourselves for a fraction of cost of silk or other bought flowers!
The paper magnolias were a Martha Stewart craft, but with a few modifications to her technique, we were able to whip out 98 magnolias - enough for 26 tables, the dessert table and the stage decorations as well. Best of all, they turned out to be very durable paper flowers too, so I was able to incorporate them into another craft after the dance too! I shared my 'Martha's Modified Magnolias' technique in another post, so check it out!
The cake table and registration tables were topped with quilts from home to bring some color into the room since we our centerpieces were neutral. The colors in the quilts looked great against the taupe-colored walls and really brightened things up! On the dessert table, which had been filled with donated deliciousness courtesy of Nothing Bundt Cakes, we used a collection of borrowed (FREE!) hat boxes, serving trays, even a small wrought iron dress form to amp up the vintage feel!
Our last big 'project' for the event was a set of 4' white columns we managed to make for under $10 a piece. We actually had all the materials for the columns donated (there's that word again - FREE!) by the awesome folks at Home Depot, who love supporting local children's organizations such as scouting! Look for more on the inspiration and technique used to construct these columns in a revealing, 'tell-all' post coming to a sassy blog near you soon!
The DJ was set-up on stage during the dance, which was part of the reason we chose to hang the house picture on another wall instead. However, we did use the Cricut to letter a welcome banner for the back wall since it faced the entrance and was the first thing you see when you walk into the venue. It also served as the stage for the dance instructor during a short dance lesson donated to our dads and daughters by Tanya Morland of the National League of Junior Cotillions! She was an amazing instructor and the girls and their dads really enjoyed learning how to dance together!
In addition to the dance instruction, we offered portraits for our dads and daughters, courtesy of a girl scout mom! I LOVE girl scout moms - what an amazing collection of talent and generosity! This year's portraits were set up outside, using an antique chair and the park for the backdrop. Beautiful spring weather made it a pleasant place to wait for pictures too!
The dance was a HUGE success, with lots of rave reviews from both daughters and dads, some commenting that it even topped last year's dance! Now that's saying something, because last year was super-duper fun! We even got a write-up in our local paper! We also managed to raise money on this event (though that wasn't our goal), which has us considering changing the event to a fundraiser and maybe getting an older scout troop involved as the hostesses. At any rate, it's an event with lots of possibilities and so much fun to be a part of that if your organization doesn't already have something like it, perhaps you could start one!
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