Women Together I :: Decorations, Activities and More
Offer a registration discount to those bringing a friend.
In invitations encourage attenders to wear particular colors, such as purple and white for a program on Lydia.
Promote your retreat by placing gift certificates in men’s restrooms at church, with a sign explaining that husbands can surprise their wives by registering them for the retreat. This method may be especially effective near a holiday like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Mother’s Day.
Direct arriving people to a photography station to have their picture taken (ask a second volunteer photographer—or videographer—to take pictures during the event). Make it a festive spot with an attractive background, flowers, etc.; you might offer costume pieces or humorous props for guests to choose for their portrait. Mail the photos afterwards with a note thanking the person for coming and inviting her to future events. Order extra prints for your group scrapbook and to promote next year’s event. It’s even possible to scan photos into a computer and make memory booklets for all participants.
Designate a retreat pastor or prayer partner to be available throughout a retreat. Give her a corsage to wear to make her easy to identify.
Set aside a room for quiet time alone with God. Provide a sheet of guidelines for meditation, scriptures, or devotional materials.
Create a prayer tree: During registration, invite women to write prayer concerns, or the names of family members, on paper leaves, which are hung on a “tree” of branches. Encourage people to remove the leaves and pray for those concerns during the retreat. Or pass a basket to put prayer requests in, then pass it again to distribute the prayer requests.
Don’t overbook the schedule at retreats. Plan for plenty of time for relaxation, socializing, naps, and, if desired, solitude.
For banquets, ask one member of your group to serve as hostess of each table. She can help guide the conversation and table activities, pour tea, and attend to needs, as well as decorate the table.
Make a competition of table decorations. You could announce a theme or invite each person to choose her own theme, such as Under the Sea, Old MacDonald Had a Farm, or Everything’s Coming Up Roses.
Ask attenders to bring their own teacup (BYOTC) to put to use those elegant dishes that mostly sit on a shelf.
Need a speaker? Consult the “Speakers Guide” of Mennonite Mission Network, which lists mission workers and presentation topics.
Ask group members to donate $1 gifts for door prizes.
Give a small goody bag of inexpensive items to each person. Some possibilities: pen and paper, tissues, hard candy or mints, and a stamped postcard to send to someone who couldn’t come. A number of free Timbrel magazines are also available by request from the MW office.
Want a craft activity? The Internet is a wonderful source of free ideas. For starters, check out: www.crafterscommunity.com.
Two good sources of icebreakers: Ice-Breakers & Heart-Warmers and Jump Starts & Soft Landings, both by Steve Sheely (Serendity House, 1998).
Ask a group member to research trivia questions on the theme of your event, creating questions from literature, science, current events, etc., and aimed at a variety of ages. For a mother/daughter banquet on the “Bee-atitutes,” for example, questions could include, “What is Pooh’s favorite snack?” or “How many bees are needed to make a cup of honey?”
For easy mother/daughter refreshments that the little girls will love, charge a $5 ticket and get McDonalds happy meals for everyone.
Be sure to distribute evaluation forms; the feedback these provide will be invaluable to the next year’s planners. One way to get a high return rate: use the forms in a drawing for door prizes.