photo courtesy of, lighting & décor: Firefly Ambiance | event planner: Events by Juana | balloons: Lush Balloon Creations
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PartySlate’s State of Celebrations: What Inspired You in 2020

The struggle was real in 2020. A worldwide pandemic put our lives in peril and halted everyday activities, but it also brought new heroes to the forefront as healthcare workers finally got the notice they deserve. Our national news was dominated by the violence of police brutality and riots, but also peaceful marches and mobilization on social media that brought long-needed attention to America’s race relations.

When it came to celebrations, large events were postponed, but smaller gatherings flourished. We witnessed a renewed appreciation for celebrating together. More than anything, one message is clear: We still want to share our most meaningful moments with the special people in our lives.

As such, we saw an increased interest and creativity around producing safe celebrations. In fact, it was a year rife with event innovation. Entrances were modified to allow for social distancing, COVID-19 testing and temperature checks were done on-site, sanitizer and masks were provided (themed to the party, of course). We also saw the rise of beautiful new seating designs and catering ingenuity. Technology stepped in to allow groups to connect and gather virtually in new and exciting ways.

Such a unique year requires closer examination. In PartySlate‘s first “State of Celebrations,” we are gathering and sharing insight from what you liked, favorited, shared, saved, Pinned, and more to remind you what inspired you in 2020 — and predicting what’s to come in the new year.

Balloons are Decorating the Most Elegant of Events

Most Viewed Events of 2020

More than half of PartySlate‘s most viewed events of 2020 feature stunning balloon installations. They spark the imagination with whimsy and elevate celebrations with elegance. We’re seeing balloons as stand-ins for arches, backdrops, ceiling décor, and more. In terms of hues, ombré and rainbows are making 2020 more beautiful (and bearable).

Intimate Boho Bridal Shower
photographer: Britney Tarno

Intimate Backyard Boho-Chic Wedding Shower

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower
photographer: Purroy Photo & Video

Dreamy Baby Shower as Sweet as a Lullabye

Allie & Steve's Colorful Fête
photographer: Dana Ann Photography

Wedding Somewhere Over the Rainbow

photographer: Next Exit Photography

Zoom Made Bat Mitzvah Dreams Come True

See inspiration and ideas for balloon décor at weddings, first birthday parties, milestone birthdays, baby showers, and corporate events and more.

Party Themes are Alive & Well

Most Searched Themes & Most Popular Articles Published in 2020

Our top on-site searches as well as a few of our most read articles published in 2020 show an increased interest in creative theming. As events shrunk in size this year, they grew in creativity — and there’s no better way to tie together every detail of a celebration than with a cohesive theme that can be expressed everywhere from the entrance and the ceiling décor to the fare being served and even the guest dress code.

Your top searches on PartySlate included halloween-themed parties (which can happen any time of year), circus motifs, and neon celebrations (which had such strong interest that we designed an entire article around the theme this year).

Some of our most read articles of the year also show your interest in creative themes for all kinds of events, even those hosted virtually.

photographer: Daniel Serrette

31 PartySlate Zoom Background Images for All of Your Virtual Parties & Celebrations

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From intimate virtual dinner parties to festive  baby showers, our selection of real event photos will make the perfect themed Zoom background for your next celebration.

photographer: Cooked Photography

16 Unique 50th Birthday Party Themes that Guests Will Remember

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From 50th birthday colors to 50th birthday music, we’re sharing all of the ways to make this milestone birthday a memorable one.

photographer: Amy & Stuart Photography

17 Baby Shower Theme Ideas That Have Us Excited About the Future

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Here are 17 of our favorite baby shower theme ideas to get your party started — and tie elements like décor and catering seamlessly together.

See more real events with creative themes: tropical, bee, Paris, disco, summer, Mardi Gras, futuristic space, casino, Great Gatsby, rainbow, fashion, winter, and other popular themes. Also don’t miss kids party themes.

Monochrome is Magic

Most Saved Images on Idea Slates

We are seeing more and more events built around a single-hued palette. Textures and lighting are being employed to create depth in grand monochrome visions.

Ever since Pantone named Ultra Violet their Color of the Year for 2018, the hue has been setting the stage for parties with a capital P. Violet creates a festive scene for dance-all-night parties and cocktails clinked at midnight (and beyond).

Meanwhile, as Billy Idol crooned in the 80s, white weddings are still the most popular. And we’re not just talking about the dress, but entire soirées positively drenched in white from floor to ceiling. Mixed metals and glass elements allow white florals to take center stage at lush ceremonies and receptions.

Technology Allows Events to Continue

Most Saved Events on Idea Slates

The most saved events on Idea Slates show the breadth of the types of celebrations on PartySlate as well as the types of events that you’re actively planning right now. Specifically, weddings, birthdays, and corporate events are not cancelled. You are still actively planning these gatherings for the future or adapting to our current limitations.

Technology is playing a vital role in the latter, offering party hosts the ability to entertain a small group in person while including a much larger number of guests from remote locations. Projection mapping isn’t just creating event dreamscapes, but is integrating faraway guests more fully into the in-person event experience. We predict that these new elements of virtual events will be around for a long time.

While many of the most saved events of 2020 were from years past, one of this year’s celebrations perfectly shows how technology can be leveraged for an elegant and inclusive event.

photographer: André Maier Photography

Hybrid Wedding in NYC

On of your most saved events of the year was this hybrid wedding. It featured extraordinary technical features that elevated the décor as well as connected guests near and far. It is appropriate for our times that this event was so well-loved as it is  a shining example of people find innovative ways to still share special moments even in difficult times.

Events Have Moved Outdoors

Most Liked Posts of 2020 on Instagram

It’s no surprise that 90% of PartySlate’s most-liked posts on Instagram depict outdoor celebrations. Not only does 2020 have us feeling cooped up, but it’s also safer to gather out in the fresh air. Your most-liked photos depict parties in gardens and backyards, next to vineyards and the ocean, under afternoon skies and lights strung over tables. Sigh.

You’re also still loving more of last year’s trends. Hello again circular arches at beautiful weddings and pampas grass lending its feathery elegance to altars, ceilings, and tabletops.

A Return to the Natural & Neutral

Most Saved Posts of 2020 on Instagram

It’s one thing to “like” a post on Instagram — but it’s quite another to “save” it. That means you want to revisit the image, that it inspires you.

We’re seeing a return to the natural and neutral. There’s an infusion of greenery and raw wood — as well as the queen of event neutrals and one of our faves: sand-hued pampas grass.

When color is employed, it’s in palettes not found on the color wheel: white, cream, and black.

Gathering Safely is Top of Mind

Most Shared Posts of 2020 on Instagram

Sharing is caring — and sometimes a scene is so gorgeous and an event so memorable, that you just can’t keep it to yourself.

The events of this year have us all considering how to gather safely, and while a full five of your top 10 are food-related, two of them are especially timely: personal charcuterie boards and tiny individually-boxed gourmet pizzas.  

Individualized presentations like these show the ingenuity that caterers have shown this year to ensure that their fare is served both beautifully and safely.

We love that PartySlate’s Instagram is serving as inspiration for all of your future celebrations (and current dreams).

Dramatic Visions Require Talented Event Teams

Most Saved Images of 2020 on Pinterest

Pinterest can often tend towards do-it-yourself visions, but the event elements most Pinned from PartySlate tell a different story. They spin a tale of elevated celebrations rich with the kind of attention to detail and over-the-top visions that only a team of talented event professionals can conjure. 

Your Pins have told us that you love engaging entrances — whether it’s a clown beckoning into an off-kilter circus, a glass-like wedding aisle, a unique iridescent brand installation, or a path created by criss-crossing neon beams of light. You’re also fond of a good dose of dramatic design like a stunning ballroom with a ceiling of inverted alabaster blooms or a celebration that glowed lavender under the desert sky.

It’s no easy task to sum our most Pinned images, but one message is clear: we all still yearn to gather and are always looking for inspired ways to do so. And often, that requires the help of a team of talented vendors to realize a grand vision.

We find ourselves hopeful as we head into 2021. This year has been a great teacher with lessons on resilience, priorities and the importance of staying connected with others. We’re looking forward to gathering with each other in the new year.

If you’re planning an event for next year or beyond, browse PartySlate’s curation of the top event planners, recommended venues, the best design teams, our favorite photographers, and more. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, visit our real events section to get ideas from — you guessed it — real weddings, birthdays, corporate events, fundraisers, Bar and Bat Mitzvah parties and more.