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?
All the new social media options can be overwhelming and confusing–as well as time-consuming! However, I want to mention that Pinterest can be a creative resource for events and retreats. For those of you familiar with Pinterest, you know it to be a source of millions of recipes, as well as creative ideas culled from the web about every topic imaginable–crafts, children’s activities, fashion, landscaping, and home decorating, to name a few. But one way I have found it helpful (once you have jointed Pinterest) is to do a search of either your theme or just “retreats” or “women’s ministry” in general. Many women have created boards of ministry ideas, and some can contain very helpful ideas, easily adapted to your needs.
For example, we recently had a women’s event themed “From Lemons to Lemonade.” The theme scripture was Romans 8:28. I searched “lemons” on Pinterest, and found a wealth of decorating ideas, centerpiece ideas, graphics and recipes that were helpful.
As discussed in our previous blog, the budget is determined from the numbers used to determine your retreat price per person. Having no budget money for the retreat may seem very limiting; however, God can do amazing things when we come to Him with our need.
The leader in charge of remembrance gifts has her budgeted amount per person that she can spend. While $1 seems small,you can easily make a magnet for each lady to take home, as well as a bookmark. We have budgeted anywhere for $1 to $10 for the remembrance gift over the years.
The decorating allowance may seem low, but don’t underestimate the creativity and ingenuity of your women! Decorations can be minimalized by concentrating on focal point decorating. We also rely on borrowed items to complete our theme-related decorating–items that someone has in their home and allows us to use for the retreat. Another option is to purchase decor which is then made available to your women to be purchased at the end of the retreat.
One of the main purposes of our website at www.retreatinabag.net is to encourage women’s ministries to find creative ways to work within their budgetary limitations. Remember, God does not need to work within a budget!
Our latest women’s event targeted women who serve together which we called “Side by Side”. An illustration of three girls walking arm in arm down a sandy beach was the visual inspiration for a beach theme, and it was a great illustration of serving the Lord together.
Decorations are a great way to re-inforce your theme. For this beach-themed event, we used sandcastles, shells and lots of sand. You could also use beach chairs, flip flops, colorful beach towels, buckets–anything “beachy” will do! Use the decor near the podium, at registration tables, as center pieces, etc. This theme is very easy on the budget, too, as we have many of those items at home.