Black and white party: How to decorate for a black and white theme

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Recently it was one of our boyfriend’s thirtieths and with many an alarming idea in terms of theme being thrown our way we had to take control of the situation. There’s nothing worse than a bad theme. And we’re talking ‘Newcastle Football Club themed’.

To make sure we weren’t coming across as too controlling (heh, heh, heh), we did that clever thing where you make someone think that you’re using their ideas, while slowly but surely you transform the whole situation into exactly what you want. It’s a little known fact among Scottish brides that black and white are Newcastle’s strip colours, but there you have it – so we went for a black and white party. Not too much room for error and loosely based on football. Win win.

Dry hire venue London: The Soho Collective

The Soho Collective

With most of our pals still living the over-priced dream in London we wanted to host the party in the big capital. Dry hire venues in London can be hard to come across, with lots of places trying to lure you into a minimum bar spend with them, or only allowing certain external bar options. To get round this we spent a while trying to find the perfect venue.

The Soho Collective is, as the name might suggest, right in the middle of Soho and without appearing like I’m coming on too strong is the perfect small BYOB venue option. Used as a co-working space for media professionals during the week the Soho collective is hired out on weekends. With two floors offering up a couple of room choices it can host up to 100 people (and would actually be quite a cute intimate wedding venue now we come to think of it). We took the lower floor, which is a bit bigger and has gorgeous arched windows, a tiled bar, light wooden floors and bench seats all around the edges.

We thought there would be plenty of rules in place. There was  literally one. Lock up when you leave. We picked up the keys on Friday, were allowed to decorate from then, could stay as long as we wanted on the Saturday evening and then went back and picked everything up on the Sunday morning.  

The handiest thing to know when looking for a dry hire venue in London is probably the price. The Soho Collective cost us £600 all in, and to have both rooms would have been an additional £400.

Black and white party decorations

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We wanted things to be simple but also quite fun a child-party-esque – that well known category. We ordered a load of black and white balloons from Amazon, some black and white paper cups, plates, napkins and straws and arranged them on the bar. The main decoration highlight for me was the vinyn sign we ordered from Vinyl Letter Online (GREAT name). We wanted to go for ‘Fucking Thirty’ but there were protestations from the birthday boy over parental sensibilities. So ‘thirty is the new twenty’ had to do. Vinyls are such an easy and inexpensive way to pull a party together. You can literally order any size shape or saying you want and they’re really simple to fix to walls while also leaving no trace on removal.

Black and white party food and drinks

Black and white party

A party ain’t no party without plenty of drinks and a good whack of food in our humble opinions. We went for a good old Aldi online delivery for prosecco, beer sfrom Asda, Pimm’s and lemonade, the contents of our spirit cabinet and a good whack of mixers. We left everything out for people to help themselves too which turned out to be a good approach – even the coffee rum from a trip to Mauritus in 2015 was cleared out.

For food we did a classic pix ‘n’ mix vibe, because despite it being potentially overdone, who doesn’t love a good few sweets? For ‘proper’ food we dotted crisps, dips and crudités around for when everyone arrived and the pre-ordered pizzas from Franco Manca at around 10pm, when everyone had worked up enough of an appetite on the dance floor.

When it came to cake we asked Daniel from That Cake Guy to make a two tiered special. Chocolate and vanilla marble on the bottom, with salted caramel on top. With a chocolate sail, themed doughnuts, part drips, mini meringues and dark fruit it was one over-the-top cake (in the best way). Not only did it look fab but it tasted amazing too. The only slight issue came when I tried to put 30 candles round the first tier and set fire to one side of the cake, giving the birthday boy rather more of a job to blow out the flames that he has perhaps anticipated.

Rosie Conroy