Alice in Wonderland Party Ideas
By an Award-Winning Professional Party Planner
Get ideas for birthday party invitations, party food, decorations, games, and party supplies
If this is the first page you've landed on, let me give you a quick introduction. I'm Matt James, a professional party planner, and the purpose of this site is to show you the most creative way you can use regular, shop-bought party supplies that can be found in most stores. Not everyone has the craft skills of Martha Stewart or the time to spend several days with a glue gun making things from scratch. It's fine to use shop-bought decorations and supplies—as long as you choose them carefully and know the best way to put them all together. So I'll share a few simple tips and trade secrets that anyone can use to add some creative touches to your party—whatever your budget.
First, decide which style you want to apply to these Alice in Wonderland party ideas. You could take inspiration from the original Lewis Carroll book, which has some wonderful illustrations by John Tenniel (right), the classic Walt Disney cartoon, which uses lots of bright colors, or the recent Tim Burton film, which has a more fantastical and surreal style with slightly more muted pastel tones. Whichever you choose, there are lots of Alice in Wonderland party ideas and decorations below to compliment your theme.
Personally, I think a combination of the Tim Burton film (see the Alice in Wonderland tea party scene below) and the original book illustrations work really well. Kids will love the magical Tim Burton styling, but a few references to the original book will stop your tea party looking too commercial. And you really want to encourage kids to read the book anyway.
Below are some suggestions for invitations to go with these Alice in Wonderland party ideas:
I think it’s important to create a big first impression, so I always try to incorporate some sort of object with the invitations—rather than just relying on a traditional printed card (see examples here). This is a little trick that’s often used by professional party planners to make invitations stand out. People just love to receive unusual invitations. It really captures their imagination and gets them excited about the party.
Another variation on the 3D invitation, is to use one of these toy pocket watches from supplier 5 as your Alice in Wonderland invitations. Note that these are oversized (8" diameter) so they'll fit in nicely with the Wonderland theme while making a big first impression. Literally.
Just hand write the party details onto a decorative shipping tag and tie on with ribbon. Alternatively, just print the tea party details onto cardstock using your home printer then stick onto the reverse of the watch.
Mail these out in these small boxes (USA only) to ensure they aren't damaged in transit.
If you're hand writing the party information, a nice detail would be to draw a paw print on the corner of your invitations —the pocket watch belonged to the white rabbit.
If the Alice in Wonderland party is for an older child, another option is to actually send out a copy of the book as the invitation. You can pick up a paperback versions for a couple of dollars each from supplier 3. Plus, if you're buying several they can qualify for free shipping.
You could print a simple text invitation with your home printer and mount this on the first page inside the book.
If you wanted to embellish it even further you could also attach the key (see above) by looping some ribbon down the spine of the book.
Mail them out in these small gift boxes (USA only) for a really nice finish.
The most famous scene in the book and film is of course the Mad Hatter's Tea Party—so take this as inspiration when designing the food and drink to go with these Alice in Wonderland party ideas.
Always create a signature drink for your party—it’s one of the easiest things you can do to make your party unique. If your party has a theme, think about what flavors you can use in your signature drink that will convey it. Don’t forget about styling and presentation too. You could serve drinks in individual bottles or jars, add your own labels, use themed ice cubes, straws, drinks picks, or add a simple garnish. A sprig of berries or a single flower head on the rim of a glass can make a simple cocktail look really stylish.
Of course, no Alice in Wonderland party would be complete without a Mad Hatter's Tea Party—so check out some tea party inspired recipes below.
As a professional party planner, I’m lucky enough to be able to collaborate with some amazing chefs to create menus for my events. As I’m no chef myself and cannot create dishesfrom scratch, I’ve searched the web for recipes that I think would work well for this party theme. All credit goes to the talented people that have created these recipes - so please click through to their site for full details, methods, and in some cases step-by-step tutorials.
Whether you're making a birthday cake from scratch or just decorating it, below are some suggestions to go with these Alice in Wonderland party ideas:
Below are styling and decoration tips to create a themed buffet / dessert table to go with these Alice in Wonderland party ideas.
I always think it’s a good idea to concentrate the majority of your decorations around a buffet/dessert table. This will create a focal point in the room. Decorations often have to compete with existing room decor so they can get a bit lost if spread too thinly. I think you’re far better off creating one really well themed feature wall that everyone’s eye will be drawn to. You can then use a few general decorations around the rest of the room to tie everything together.
Below are some food styling and presentation tips to go with these Alice in Wonderland party ideas.
Below are some suggestions for how to style and decorate the dining table in keeping with these Alice in Wonderland party ideas:
If it’s a kid’s party, don’t feel as if you have to shy away from using character-branded tableware. I see a lot of kid’s parties that are so immaculately styled they look more like adult parties. It’s obvious the parents have designed it for themselves, rather than the child. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a professional party planner it’s to design the party for your audience, not yourself. The reality is kids want their favorite characters to have a strong presence at their party; they don’t see this as too commercial, for them it’s just fun. Obviously, it’s important to get the balance right, so don’t go overboard. Character plates and cups work well if combined with a solid color table cover and napkins.
Below are tips and recommendations for general decorations to go with these Alice in Wonderland party ideas:
If you’re prepared to do a bit of DIY you could really go to town and create the miniature door that Alice had to go through. First, take all furniture and pictures out of the hallway immediately inside your front door to create an empty space (it’s really important to remove everything that’s normal size).
Hang a simple curtain or piece of fabric at the back of your hallway to create a false wall. Then pick up a small self-assembly cupboard or storage unit with a door (no more than 18in / 2ft tall) from somewhere cheap like Ikea but make sure it’s one that you can leave the back off (so you’re just left with a hollow frame with a door hinged on the front).
Position the door frame against the curtain 'back wall', flush with the fabric, and arrange the curtain around the frame so that when viewed from the front it just looks like a tiny door in the middle of the (curtain) wall. Then decorate the empty hallway with some miniature kids sized furniture (including a three legged table if you want to be really accurate) and some tiny pictures on the wall.
When guest enter into the hallway from the front door it will create the illusion that they have grown really tall—just like Alice did—because everything else will be in miniature. Don’t forget to give them a ‘Drink Me’ potion or ‘Eat Me’ cake before they enter the front door so they make the connection.
Below are some games and activities for all ages to go with these Alice in Wonderland party ideas.
Matt James is a professional event planner and owner of event agency Left Field Productions, which has produced events for Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kevin Spacey, Stella McCartney, David LaChapelle, John Waters, and Elvis Costello & Diana Krall. Since 2004, Left Field Productions has won 30 industry awards for excellence including Production Company of the Year.
Alice in Wonderland Party Ideas
by an award-winning professional party planner