With over 4 million people predicted to descend upon DC in celebration of the Inauguration, it's no surprise that many locals are forgoing the mall for at home viewing parties. So, I've scoured the internet in search of products to make your Inauguration soiree just as memorable as any official gala.
Invites: Customizable backstage pass invites from Party 411 are unique and professional looking. They can be laminated and put on lanyards for guests to wear to the event. Evite has also created a variety of Inauguration theme templates , like the one to the left created by Steve Lu, and with their online RSVPs managing your responses has never been easier.
SWAG: There is no shortage of Obama related products. Depending on your budget, gift bags could include t-shirts, wrist bands, hats, or just about any patriotic item you can get your hands on. During the election I found these fantastic photo cookies from TastyPrints.com. They come in a boxed set or individually wrapped in clear bags. These would be great take away items or a tasty addition to your buffet.
What official political function would be complete without patriotic buttons? These from the PoliticalShop.com are excellent ways to mark the occasion and will become keepsakes for your guests. Even the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) has joined the merchandise bandwagon by opening up their own online store at InauguralCollectibles.com. The site boasts a variety of art, jewelry, clothing, and other collectibles.
Décor and Activities:
Theme-Transform your party space into the White House lawn by creating a White House backdrop like this one from Atlantic Special Events. Recreate by using a cardboard or fabric base. Stencil on columns and windows and decorate with light weight bunting. Another simple idea would be to rent a projector and cast an image of the White House onto the wall. Tie in the theme to other areas with White House cutouts from Paper Toys or this pop up version from Popular Kinetics.
Reuse your 4th of July Decor- Whip out those stars and stripes from last year's picnic. You can't go wrong with red, white, and blue.
Photo Ops- Create your own photo op with this life size (6ft1) Obama cutout from Amazon.com. With a digital camera, photo printer, and customizable event photo folders from Style Studio, guests can to take home their event images as a special memento.
Party Patrol- What official Inaugural event would be complete without the proper security? Follow these simple Secret Service Costume instructions and recruit a few good men to create your own well dressed agents.
Menu: Serve up a menu reflecting Obama's diverse background. Try Chicago style pizza, an Hawaiian salad, a traditional Kenyan dish of samosas, or whip up a big batch of Chili, a reported favorite of the incoming President. Since the swearing in ceremony begins at 11:30am, either a lunch or brunch menu would be appropriate.
For more event planning tips and inspiration, visit me on Examiner.com.