How to Decorate a Room for a Surprise Anniversary Party


When decorating for a surprise anniversary party, analyze the couple's interests, history and desires. If they honeymooned in Hawaii, consider a luau theme. If they spend every free moment together hiking, consider a forest or mountain theme. If they dream of a French vacation, decorate the room like a Paris café. For a milestone anniversary, consider decorating with traditional colors; for example decorate in gold for the 50th, silver for the 25th. If you are at a loss for ideas and desire an elegant party, timeless and beautiful themes include garden parties or a setting focused on champagne and crystal.

Plan a Uniformed Theme

  • Choose balloons to quickly transform a room. If done correctly, balloons can add beauty without looking childish. Keep a simple color palette. A combination of silver and white balloons is an elegant choice. A few variant shades of blue and ivory may create the look of clouds, if bunched together. Tie in groups and let the balloons float or create weighted centerpieces to anchor the balloons on tables.

  • Choose lighting that enhances the theme instead of simply focusing on functional illumination. Strings of white lights or paper lanterns add to the romantic setting, enhancing the celebratory atmosphere. For extra drama, consider renting unusual lighting, such as indoor "street" lamps, from a party rental supply store.

  • Pick flowers that have a special meaning to the couple. Consider flowers used in the wedding bouquet or the flower corresponding to the anniversary year: pansies for year one, cosmos for year two, etc. Design ornate centerpieces or place single blooms in short, simple glass vases, utilizing anything uniform. For a "shabby chic" feel, mix and match glass containers in the same color palette. For a more vintage collection, use colorful tins.

  • Use photos to decorate. Share the love and excitement of marriage with every guest by decorating with photographs. Simply string photos together on cloth ribbon. To enhance, intersperse paper flower cutouts between the photos. Use small framed photos as place cards; this will serve as both decoration and heart-felt keepsakes for the guests. Consider making luminous, photo centerpieces, such as the one featured at

  • Use decadent cakes, iced cookies and beautiful drinks as part of the decor. Functional beauty means less clean up at the end of the night. Monogrammed cookies or cakes in theme colors will add a splash of whimsy while enhancing the decorations. Have pitchers of color-coordinating drinks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before shopping, be sure to have a plan and a budget so as not to return with a hodgepodge of decorations and an empty pocketbook.
  • Do not combine every element reflected above if you desire an elegant design; choose two to three for a focused, clean look.

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  • Photo Credit coctail decorations image by Igor Zhorov from
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