Do your kids ever have trouble choosing a birthday party theme? This year, as my twin daughters’ 17th birthday approached, they could NOT agree on a theme. They finally hit on the idea of a disco party, which was an idea I’d never would have come up with for them. But we leaned in hard to the disco and the glitter and the silver and the glam and they had the best time!
Retro parties and 70s parties are pretty popular right now with great bell bottom-inspired fonts and pampas grass everywhere. We used a touch of the 70s and a whole lot of disco balls to decorate our party.
- A color palette of black, white and silver
- Silver sequin tablecloths
- Silver tinsel curtains
- Short silver tinsel fringe
- Disco balls in various sizes, including 8 inch, 4 inch, and 1.5 inch
- Black, white, and silver honeycomb tissue balls
- Disco albums from Goodwill
The party actually was a fondue dinner – disco dance – sleepover. Here’s how we pulled it off.
The trick for teen party decor is to keep it from feeling childish. I kept to a strict palette of black, silver and white, trying to make more sophisticated choices. We started with a silver sequin tablecloth and added a centerpiece made of various sized honeycomb balls and tiny disco balls. (They come with loops for hanging; just string together all the loops, set the garland on your table, then stabilize any honeycombs with a glue dot.)
Black melamine plates leftover from my daughters’ Selfie Scavenger Hunt Party became chargers. I topped those with premium plastic plates with a hologram edge because they reminded me of a disco ball without being too literal. Our plate toppers were wood place cards in a groovy 70s font. I finished each place with a silver dot paper napkin and hammered silver plastic utensils.
I couldn’t pass up the chance to use our disco ball cups again. (See them originally in our Boho Picnic Sweet 16 Party.) It was simple enough to add a tinsel drink stirrer and silver ribbon. So that each guest had the option of water, I also included water bottles wrapped in silver hologram duck tape. Easy peasy!
The girls wanted to have a sleepover and dance. So we started by renting a dance floor. Our 9‘ x 9‘ dance floor was about $130. This may not be true for all rental companies, but we had to pick up, assemble, and then return the floor. So there is some time commitment and labor involved with renting a dance floor.
We decorated the ceiling with black, silver and white helium balloons. (The beauty of having teens is being able to give them an assignment like blowing up 36 balloons!) I also bought an inexpensive LED party light and that gave our living room a little more of a club feel.
I love the disco posters I found on Etsy (links at the end of this post). They replaced the painting that normally hangs above our mantel. To the posters, we added:
- Two hammered silver vases with white faux pampas grass
- A pair of “boogie shoes” — platform sandals that we found at Goodwill and spray painted with silver glitter paint — because I can’t resist a pun
- A ribbon bunting that I made just for this party
- Silver tinsel curtains over the windows on either side of the fireplace
Part of the story of this party is dreaming big and then down scaling for our budget. That was true for a dinner option and also for our activity. I thought about hiring a dance teacher to come teach the girls the Hustle. But I decided we could probably find a lesson on YouTube and I was right. In the end, a guest brought Just Dance over and the girls danced to all the Abba songs. My daughters also made a disco dance playlist on Spotify, connected that to a portable speaker, and that powered the music for the whole party.
This is why brainstorming is so important. Go ahead and explore any idea you have, even if it won’t work in your budget. If you love the idea enough, you’ll find a way to make it work at a price that’s right for you.
For a disco-inspired party, fondue seemed like the perfect choice for dinner. My first thought was going to a fondue restaurant so that I didn’t have to prep such a large meal, but it turns out that for large parties the restaurant charges $44 per person and plans on a three-hour meal. I couldn’t imagine asking 17-year-olds to sit through that long a meal. Not to mention: $44 per person would’ve been an absolute budget-buster.
I bought two electric fondue pots from Amazon. I knew I didn’t want to mess with cooking the food in the oil; that just seemed like a recipe for disaster. So I bought frozen mini meatballs, frozen pigs in a blanket, and baked chicken tenders with a little salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil. We added fresh vegetables including bell peppers, asparagus, and grape tomatoes. Of course, we also had bread sticks, cubes of french bread and green apples. Emmi makes yummy fondue cheese. I heated it on my stovetop, then poured it into the fondue pots for the girls to stir and dip.
Dessert Table Backdrop
We have a large mirror behind our dining room sideboard that I usually try to disguise for our parties. I draped the mirror with short, silver tinsel fringe, hung cross-cross. (It has double-sided sticky tape on the back.) Then I layered on a silver tissue fan garland, silver wood bead garland and disco albums we found at (you guessed it!) Goodwill. (Attach the albums with nano tape.)
I draped the sideboard itself with another silver sequin tablecloth and a few more disco balls.
The centerpiece of our dessert table was a yummy shag-inspired cake by Shannon Turner Cakes. She made us a delicious almond cake with a strawberry frosting. I ordered a brownie bite platter from Publix, which came with a variety of toppings, including fruit, peanut butter, cannoli, buttercream, and chocolate frosting. We splurged a little bit on silver-painted macarons.
We also ordered a disco ball and “17” cookies, but sadly, USPS held them hostage. The poor cookie designer mailed them in plenty of time, but the post office just wouldn’t cooperate. That left us scrambling a little bit, but I had several kinds of truffles leftover from a gift basket. I frosted those with a little cookie icing, then dipped them in silver and white sprinkles, and they filled in for the cookies just fine.
TIP: Don’t let the party surprises throw you for a loop. There’s always something that doesn’t go quite right, and as long as you just roll with those punches, it will be fine and nobody will know that something didn’t go according to plan.
I love using all cake stands on a dessert table. The height is just so elegant. To the cake stands that had lips, I added a base of silver Sixlets for the desserts to sit on. Since I was also trying to spread out the deserts a little bit to make up for the lack of cookies, I split the macarons onto two cake stands and filled in with some more of our sprinkles.
I almost always prefer one nice party favor to multiple trinkets. For this party, we chose 70s-inspired scarves. The girls are wearing them in their ponytails and as belts, which gives me strong Mary Tyler Moore vibes (not that they would recognize her name). I made a fun “stay groovy” thank you tag on Zazzle and a “keep on stepping in style” sign on Canva. You can grab my 8″ x 10″ sign for free here.
TIP: When you plan your party, Google phrases associated with your theme. Those searches helped us come up with fun 70s phrases to sprinkle throughout our party.
- Party styling: The Party Teacher
- Photography: Barefeet Imagery
- Invitations: You’re a Vibe on Etsy
- Cake: Shannon Turner Cakes
- Macarons: Macarons by Adri on Etsy
- Brownie bites: Publix
- Silver Sixlets: Amazon
- Metallic sprinkles: Sweets Indeed on Amazon
- Emmi cheese fondue: Amazon
- Nostalgia fondue pots: Amazon
- Silver sequin tablecloths: Hahuho on Amazon
- Honeycomb balls: Just Artifacts on Etsy
- Disco ball cake toppers: Amazon
- 17 silver candles: Amazon
- Disco balls 4-inch size: Amazon
- Disco ball 8-inch size: Party City
- Tinsel drink stirrers: Lola Emma on Etsy
- White/silver lunch plates: Party City
- Hammered silver utensils: Amazon
- Silver dot paper napkins: Amazon
- Wood place names: Poppy Jack Shop on Etsy
- Disco cups: Koyal Wholesale
- Prism duck tape: Amazon
- Scarves: QBSM on Amazon
- Stay groovy thank you tags: Zazzle
- Dance floor and white chairs: All American Rental
- Balloons: Party City
- “The Disco” poster: My Inspired Life on Etsy
- “Disco Disco” poster: Printsorama on Etsy
- Hammered silver vases: Amazon
- White faux pampas grass: Amazon
- LED party light: Amazon
- Silver tinsel curtains: Amazon
- Short silver tinsel garland: Amazon
- Tissue fan garland: Party Poms on Etsy