Best of

19 Party Trends for 2019

(L to R) Photographer: Simone and Martin Photography | Photographer: Amy & Jordan Photography | Photographer: Vein & Vessel

This past year’s parties were a riot of unicorns, nature-inspired photo backdrops, lettered balloons, blush hues, and digital photo booths. Some of those trends will continue into 2019 (“millennial pink” shows no signs of slowing) and will join a host of other exciting innovations we’re seeing crop up at celebrations. Whether you’re planning a wedding, birthday party, Bar and Bat Mitzvah, or gala, you’ll want to cruise through what’s new so you don’t miss out on fun trends like edible décor and cold fireworks (not sure what that is? read on).


Llamas and unicorns
Image Credits | All: Christy and Co Photo

Save the drama for your llama. This past year was all about the unicorn — glittery revelers sported single horns and crowded dance floors — but for 2019, there’s a new party animal in town. What llamas lack in grace (they are known for spitting, after all), they more than make up for in sheer cuteness. Their sweet eyes, banana-shaped ears, and slight smiling expressions have made them the darling of the event scene. Expect to see the long-necked creatures popping up all over the place in party theming, and even home décor.

All Images: 5 De Maya | Photographer: Christy and Co Photo


Image Credits (clockwise from upper left) | 1 & 2: Lucero Photography | 3: Capture Photojournalists | 4: Julie Dietz Photography

Meat and cheese and fruit, oh my. Charcuterie boards — mainstay of French meals and house parties — are now finding their way into luxe events, but with a twist. We’re seeing meat-and-cheese innovations like personal charcuterie selections displayed on mini marble platters at each place setting, and entire tables festooned with elaborate charcuterie displays running their center. It’s a marriage of tastiness and convenience that has us salivating.

Image Credits (clockwise from top left):
1 & 2: Wine Country Meets Beverly Hills | Photographer: Lucero Photography
3: District Winery Exclusive Opening Dinner | Photographer: Capture Photojournalists
4: Corporate Branding Event – “Boss” Dinner | Photographer: Julie Dietz Photography


Long and winding tables
Image Credits (clockwise from top left): 1: Katie Beverly | 2: John Solano Photography | 3. Purroy Photo & Video

Tables that take the scenic route. Rectangular tables have become a classic as they offer easy across-the-table conversations, and round tables have their charms, allowing for a better room flow. But it’s been a long time since there’s been a new shape on the block. Long, winding tables are here, bringing the practical features of more familiar shapes, and adding a glamour and interest. Curvy tables make a statement — they say, “Have a seat, guest! We’re not sure where we’ll end up, but it will be fun getting there.”

Image Credits (clockwise from top left):
1: Midnight Garden Birthday Celebration | Photographer: Katie Beverley
2: Chic Pink Bat Mitzvah | Photographer: John Solano Photography
3: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Photographer: Purroy Photo & Video


Images Credits (clockwise from upper left) | 1: Lin & Jirsa Photography | 2: Gruber Photographers | 3: Kehoe Designs

Curtain call. Drapery has been creating stylish backdrops and clean event canvases for years — hiding unappealing views and even more unappealing built-in venue décor. Now, smart event planners are using billowing drapes to define discrete spaces for gathering. Softly-draping fabric can usher guests through a dramatic entrance or create the perfect private seating area, guiding guests without a sign. 

Image Credits (clockwise from top left):
1: Luxury California Wedding | Photographer: Lin & Jirsa Photography
2: Stunning Tented Wedding | Photographer: Gruber Photographers
3: Moroccan Themed Party | Photographer: Kehoe Designs


Image Credits (clockwise from upper left) | 1: André Maier Photography | 2 & 3: Sherri J Photography | 4: Sylvie Gil Photography

Everything old is new again. Technology is changing at a breakneck pace — for events, that means more immersive experiences and opportunities for interaction. But, not all trends move us forward. Sometimes evoking our charming past can make an event feel warm and familiar while still offering surprising moments. We’re seeing vintage typewriters popping up at events with on-the-spot poetry, notes to newlyweds, and eye-catching seat assignment displays. Perhaps 2020 will bring back the 8-track (a girl can dream).

Image Credits (clockwise from top left):
1: Book Themed Mitzvah | Photographer: André Maier Photography
2 & 3: Celebrity Bridal Shower | Photographer: Sherri J Photography

4:  Natural Chic California Wedding | Photographer: Sylvie Gil Photography


Bold balloons
Image Credits (clockwise from upper left) | 1: Nicee Martin Photography | 2: Richard Barlow Photography | 3: Art De Vie | 4: Vein & Vessel | 5: Posted by Luft Balloons

Not for child’s play. Balloons have grown up (and up and up) and are being used in increasingly inventive ways to add color, focal points, and design variety at celebrations. Some of our favorite balloon décor moments include hundreds of pillowy white balloons conjuring cloud-like ceilings, earthbound balloons accented with florals acting as winding the center of tables as beautiful runners, and unusually-shaped shimmering metallic balloons clustered on walls for a cosmic vibe.

Image Credits (clockwise from top left):
1: Luxurious Pastel Event | Photographer: Nicee Martin Photography
2: Great Gatsby 50th Birthday Celebration | Photographer: Richard Barlow Photography
3: Studio 54 Birthday Bash | Photographer: Art de Vie
4: Lauren & Jeff’s Wedding | Photographer: Vein & Vessel
5: Party Color Explosion | Courtesy of Luft Balloons


Florals and food party table decor
Image Credits (clockwise from upper left) | 1: Amy & Jordan Photography | 2: Domino Arts Photography | 3: UDS Photo | 4: Flavio Bandiera Photography

Décor that’s good enough to eat. So many gorgeous palettes have been inspired by nature’s colorful bounty, that it only makes sense to incorporate peaches into a peachy celebration and plums into a plum-hued party. The trend toward using fruit and vegetables as more than plate-fillers seamlessly weaves florals and food in a beautiful new way that’s a treat for all of the senses.

Image Credits (clockwise from top left):
1: Sweet Citrus Wedding | Photographer: Amy & Jordan Photography
2: Organic Meets Metallic: Miami Bar Mitzvah | Photographer: Domino Arts Photography
3.  No Time to Siesta | Photographer: UDS Photo
4. Italian Castello Wedding Weekend: Night 2 | Photographer: Flavio Bandiera Photography


Alfresco chandelier
Images Credits (clockwise from upper left) | 1: Colin Cowie Lifestyle | 2: Joe Buissnik Photograpy | 3: Katherine Rose

A makeover for Mother Nature. The outdoors boasts its own beauty with lush greens and vivid florals but, in the bold tradition of “you can never have too much of a good thing,” the sparkly glamour of chandeliers makes it even better. We love enjoying indoor luxuries under the stars — like upholstered lounge areas and pretty tables to hold our cocktails — and stunning light fixtures artfully draped from branches only amplify that pleasure.

Image Credits (clockwise from top left):
1: Sleek White Beach Wedding | Photographer: Colin Cowie Lifestyle
2: Santa Barbara Vow Renewal | Photographer: Joe Buissnik Photography
3: Glamorous Palm Beach Wedding | Photographer: Katherine Rose


illuminated lighting
Image Credits (clockwise from upper left) | 1 & 4: One Night Cereus | 2 & 3: Scott Clark Photo

Plus there’s free champagne. Fluorescent lights have provided the least flattering light possible for decades in dental offices and dressing rooms across the country. However, a new trend saturates the signature long bulbs in color and makes perfect use of their otherworldly glow to add tabletop drama. Just like in the prom limos in 80’s teen movies, a flick of the switch creates an instant party — you’ll want to find the nearest sunroof to hoist your bubbly through.

Image Credits (clockwise from top left):
1 & 4: Spotify Holiday Party | Photographer: Osh Images
2 & 3: Environmental Media Association Awards Gala | Photographer: Scott Clark Photo


Images Credit (clockwise from upper left) | 1: Posted by Engage! Summits | 2: Posted by International Event Company | 3: Simone and Martin Photography | 4: Lin & Jirsa Photography

Centerpieces that can’t be confined. Nature’s couple — water and rock — have been working together for centuries to form astonishing arches, inspiring wedding backdrops aplenty. But now, towering floral arches have spilled into the events themselves, arcing to connect tables in stunning Seussian style. These are wow-worthy centerpieces that guests can walk under and around.

Image Credits (clockwise from top left):
1: Engage!18 Ireland: Gala | Courtesy of Engage! Summits (multiple photographers listed on event)
2: Romantic Pink Wedding | Photographer: John Solano Photography
3: Garden Dinner Party | Photographer: Simone and Martin Photography
4: Aparna & Shalinda’s Luxury California Wedding | Photographer: Lin & Jirsa Photography


Photo walls and photo booths
Images Credit (clockwise from top left) | 1: Posted by Aliana Events | 2: Scott Clark Photo | 3: Sylvia Guardia - Destination Wedding Photographer | 4: Kent Drake Photography

Take a picture, it’ll last longer. Photo booths are an essential party staple for any modern, millennial event. However, photo booths are stepping up their game and becoming more integrated into events — experiential photo ops allow guests to embed themselves with props, backdrops, and structures aligned with the event’s theme. Not only does this offer a creative branding opportunity, but encourages viral sharing by your guests on social media.

Image Credits (clockwise from top left):
1: SLS Spa Grand Opening | Courtesy of Aliana Events
2: Environmental Media Association Awards Gala | Photographer: Scott Clark Photo
3: Four Seasons Costa Rica – 3 Day Event | Photographer: Sylvia Guardia – Destination Wedding Photographer
4: Chicago Premiere of Hamilton Musical | Photographer: Kent Drake Photography


Party favors - donuts, socks, etc.
Images Credit (clockwise from bottom left) | 1 & 2: ImageLink Moving Pictures | 3: Domino Arts Photography | 4: 5th Avenue Digital Photography

Shop ’til you drop. Event planners are incorporating “mini malls” into their Bar and Bat Mitzvah events. These pick-your-own takeaway shops give teen attendees the freedom they long for — without needing funding from their parents. A selection of party favors, candy, and desserts not only offers an interactive experience at a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, but also eliminates the pressure of pleasing everyone in attendance.

Image Credits (clockwise from bottom left):
1 & 2: Preppy Patterned Bat Mitzvah | Photographer: ImageLink Moving Pictures
3: Xtreme Tucker: Miami Bar Mitzvah | Photographer: Domino Arts Photography
4: Colorful B’Nai Mitzvah | Photographer: 5th Avenue Digital Photography


Paper themes
Images Credit (clockwise from upper left) | 1-2: Phillip Van Nostrand Photography | 3-4: Heather Roth Fine Art Photography

You’ve got mail. An event begins the moment invitations are sent out. A new, hard-to-pull-off trend we admire is the threading of themes throughout the entirety of events, beginning with the invitations. Let your stationery’s patterns inspire your linens, florals, tablescapes, signage, and more. This intricate coordination is impressive to the eye, and creates detailed, long-lasting memories of your event.

Image Credits (clockwise from upper left):
1 & 2: Exclusive Boho Chic Dinner Party | Photographer: Phillip Van Nostrand Photography
3 & 4: Nicolle’s Baby Shower | Photographer: Heather Roth Fine Art Photography


Party sparklers
Images Credit (clockwise from left) | 1: Nancy Cohn Photography | 2: Jessica Bordner Photography | 3: Alain Martinez Photography

Baby, you’re a firework. As admired on a sultry summer day celebrating the 4th of July — there’s truly nothing more magnificent than a beautiful fireworks display. Cold fireworks, or cold pyro displays, let you illuminate your special day without any hazards, both indoors and outdoors — so winter events, too, can let sparks fly.

Image Credits (clockwise from left):
1: Luxurious Ballroom Wedding | Photographer: Nancy Cohn Photography
2: PartySlate Palm Beach Launch Party | Photographer: Jessica Bordner Photography
3: Glamorous Palm Beach Wedding | Photographer: Alain Martinez Photography


Images Credit (clockwise from top) | 1: Phillip Van Nostrand Photography | 2: Posted by Paramount Events | 3: Brian Leahy Photography

Mother Nature is a mixologist. Bring your enchanted garden-inspired event full circle with botanical-infused cocktails. Bringing the great outdoors inside is always an impressive design feat — and now, mixologists are doing the same. We absolutely love this opportunity to coordinate your event florals into handheld drinks for all to enjoy. Mint leaves, citrus peels, and sprigs of herbs also add an effortless, beautiful, and delicious touch.

Image Credits (clockwise from top):
1: Maman x Martha Stewart Living Valentine Party | Photographer: Phillip Van Nostrand Photography
2: Cocktail Inspiration | Courtesy of  Paramount Events
3: PartySlate LA Launch Party | Photographer: Brian Leahy Photography


Personal desserts
Image Credits (clockwise from left): 1: Jessica Bordner Photography | 2: Cameron & Kelly Studio | 3. Sylvie Gil Photography

Let them eat their own cake. This mini dessert trend officially takes the cake for 2019. We love this new twist on the traditional wedding cake where everyone waits eagerly to receive a slice. Now, guests can enjoy the beauty (and portions!) of their own personal dessert. Displaying your mini cakes also adds an immediate design element to any event — the best kind of décor is the edible kind, right?

Image Credits (clockwise from left):
1: PartySlate Palm Beach Launch Party | Photographer: Jessica Bordner Photography
2: Glamorous 60th Birthday in NYC at Loft & Garden | Photographer: Cameron & Kelly Studio
3: The Sweet Spot | Photographer: Sylvie Gil Photography


Phone photography
Images Credit (top to bottom row) | 1: Braedon Photography | 2: Jessica Bordner Photography

Do it for the ‘gram. More and more, we are seeing photographers capture special moments in a vertical frame, as opposed to traditional horizontal photography at events. Any social media maven can tell you this is because everything is now designed with mobile in mind. Scroll through any Instagram or Pinterest feed and you’ll see what we mean. Vertical photography allows for focused imagery on both people and elements, rather than wide panorama type shots.

Image Credits (top to bottom row):
1: Rancho Valencia FAM Trip: Dinner | Photographer: Braedon Photography
2: PartySlate Palm Beach Launch Party | Photographer: Jessica Bordner Photography


Tall grass
Images Credit (left to right) | 1: Heather Waraksa | 2: Roey Yohai Photography | 3: Kelly Brown Photographer

The grass isn’t always greener. Soft, subtle, and ever so elegant, we are simply in love with the newly popular tall grass trend. Incorporating tall pampas grass started as an interior design trend, but events, weddings especially, are starting to incorporate this naturally feathery element into floral designs. To take this trend even further, brides are tinting grass to match their color palettes. Light blush or baby blue grass looks effortless and angelic, while still offering a natural feel.

Image Credits (left to right):
1: Rocky Barnes’ Wedding | Photographer: Heather Waraksa
2: Hidden Garden Dinner | Photographer: Roey Yohai Photography
3: Mandy Moore’s Wedding | Photographer: Kelly Brown Photographer


Colorful smoke
Images Credit (clockwise from top left) | 1: Katelyn Prisco Photography | 2: Laura Goldenberger | 3: Dawn Heumann

Pretty plumes of color. These explosions of color are quite literally blowing up our feeds. Colorful smoke bombs are the new wedding ceremony backdrop, surrounding the newlyweds with life and energy as they say “I do.” These smokey, picture perfect moments are ideal for an outdoor, bohemian style wedding, and are simply unforgettable.

Image Credits (clockwise from top left):
1: Boho Beach Wedding | Photographer: Katelyn Prisco Photography
2: Smoke Bomb on GSW | Photographer: Laura Goldenberger
3: Incredible Desert Wedding | Photographer: Dawn Heumann

PartySlate is the place where leading event professionals share their work with the world. Find new ideas by viewing and saving hundreds of thousands of beautiful event photos from weddings to birthday parties, corporate events to galas. Easily connect with the best local event professionals and find stunning venues. Sign up now »

Featured event professionals and venues receive additional links within articles. Learn about membership plans »