Something I love: I love walking into a women’s event and, at my first glimpse of the room and its decorations, my first reaction is “WOW.” I love being surprised and excited about what is to come based on the look of the room. The world calls that “The WOW Factor.” I’m here to tell you that “The WOW Factor” does not require a huge decorating budget, which most smaller churches do not have.
What the “WOW Factor” does require is someone with vision who is willing to develop it within your working budget. We are a small church. Sometimes we may have a little left in our account from previous retreats or events which is available to use. We are trying to keep the price of the retreat down as much as possible, so we try to add as little as possible to the individual retreat price.
Here are a few ideas for creating a budgetary margin for decorations:
- Offer table decoration for sale after the event
- Add a small amount to the individual’s cost for the event designated to decorations
- Use multi-purpose decorations that can double as give-aways
- Use the crafting talents of your ladies to create what would be too expensive to purchase
- Do focal point decorating
Take a look at one of our table centerpieces from our last retreat. Our retreat theme “Deeper Still” used ocean decor. This could be used for any retreat theme where you are decorating with an ocean or beach theme.
You may have to look closely, but the plastic table cloth actually looked like water. Then small blue translucent trays were filled with
sand and shells and two corked bottles which contained more sand and tiny shells as well as a rolled up “message” — thus a “message in a bottle.”
There are several similar bottles that can be found on the internet, but we especially liked these because they came with sand, tiny shells, the message paper and cork, plus a way to pull the message from the bottle. With an assembly line, they were easy to assemble.
I loved these because we were able to use them for multiple purposes at our retreat. As seen above, they were a significant part of our decor. Later in the retreat, we had an activity (which I will share in the coming weeks) where each woman chose a bottle and checked out the “message” for her inside the bottle. Finally, the bottle then became our retreat remembrance – something each woman took home at the end of the retreat. Isn’t it great to find a multi-purpose item like this?
If you found RetreatinaBag.net, I have to assume you are scouring the internet for women’s ministry resources. If you are like me, you are using Pinterest to find ideas for your women’s events. I am excited to share with you a new resource for women’s ministry leaders. Ladies from two of my favorite women’s ministry resource websites, Gina Duke/Churchtown Ministries and Cyndee Ownbey/Women’s Ministry Toolbox (for more information, see links) have joined forces with others who have a heart to minister to women and to help those who serve women. They have created a Must-Follow Women’s Ministry Leaders Board on Pinterest. This exclusive collaborative board features pins from a team of women’s ministry leaders that will help you better reach the women in your church and community. Take a look at it!
Regarding doing skits at your retreat, I’ve said before that I like signs
! With minimal scenery and props, a sign can give your audience a wealth of information in a small space.
While many times we will make our signs by hand, the above are some computer-generated signs created for our recent retreat skit. I asked Kristen to share some of her “secrets” for sign-making:
To create a sign using Microsoft Publisher, select a custom size blank page and give it the dementions of the foam board you will be attaching it to. Once you have your blank page, then Google to pull up a few websites were you can download free fonts and free backgrounds. I like 1001freefonts.com and backgroundlabs.com.
Once you’ve selected your background you can then paste it on the page. Make sure it goes all the way to the edge or a little bit over. Then add a text box with your sign wording. To make your text box transparent (so your background shows through), click Ctrl T when the text box is selected. You can easily move items around on the page by holding down Ctrl and Alt and using the arrow buttons to move the item. This allows you to line up things more precisely.
Now that you are ready to print, make sure your printer is ready. Most printers will automatically divide your sign into several pages (if your sign is larger than a standard sheet of paper). After printing, you will cut off all the white edges. Then carefully glue or tape each piece to the foam board, taking care to line it up perfectly. This way it will appear to be one large print!
See some of our other suggestions on making signs here
Are you bringing in a guest speaker? Honorariums are necessary and important. That cost should be an non-negotiable item on your event budget. Many speakers depend on them for their livelihood. But today I want to consider additional ways that you can show your appreciation and bless your speaker, over and above any cash payment:
- Communicate with your guest speaker so that there are as few as possible “surprises” awaiting her. She should know as much as you can tell her about the event theme, the schedule for the event and time frame for her speaking, suggested dress for the event, available technology, who will meet her and get her to the venue and any overnight accommodations. If she has hand-outs, get them ahead of time so that they are copied and ready for her.
- Have a welcome basket in the speaker’s room awaiting her arrival. This welcome basket could include: bottles of water or her special drink, healthy snacks, mints, throat lozenges, small plaque with theme verse and even a small gift. (Keep in mind that if the speaker is traveling by airplane, any gifts should be small and transportable.)
- Assign a “hostess” to the speaker who will sit by her and be available to her during the entire event to help with anything she may need. This could range from working with the hotel if her room is not satisfactory, to bringing her water, or a sweater or anything else she might find herself needing.
- Different speakers will have different levels of expertise with microphones and other technology. As much as possible, make sure that your speaker is comfortable with the set up prior to your event. Do the microphone test prior to the start of the event and make sure she is comfortable with it and any other technology she may want to use (overheads, timer, etc.).
- Provide cards (even index cards) that your women may use to write a “thank you” note expressing how the speaker’s ministry has blessed them. These can be put in a basket or collected at the end of the retreat and included with the speaker’s honorarium.
Can you add to this list?? How have you blessed your guest speaker?