A Retro Soda Shoppe Birthday

tween party ideas

Tween Party Ideas

Jen Carver of Banner Events here to talk about some amazing tween party ideas. I am excited to be flashing way back to the 1950s for this fun retro soda shoppe birthday party I created for my daughter's 11th birthday. The talented Maureen of Anders Ruff Custom Designs worked with me to create an entire diner/soda shoppe inspired invitation and printable collection from scratch. These provided the framework for my styling. I hope you dig the 50s style outfits & hairstyles! As well as a retro inspired menu - including an amazing sock hop cake - and all of the classic décor which we all love from the 50s. Grab your favourite milk shake, pull up a stool and enjoy the photos by A Fresh Take Photography.

Some of my favorite details from this Retro Soda Shoppe Birthday Party are:

– 1950s poodle skirt inspired tutus by Atutudes
– Retro car favor boxes from Via Blossom Shop
– Diner guest check inspired birthday wish cards from Anders Ruff
– Sock Hop themed cake by 4 Kids Cakes
– Soda Shoppe cookies & cake pops

I'm a huge fan of guests having both a say and a hand in planning their own birthday parties. Everything from the theme, colour palette, activities, menu and decorations should be about them. As a result, the party represents things they love! When my daughter expressed interest in having a roller skating party for her birthday, which sounded like a fun idea, and then a few months later she followed up with a fun twist to the roller skating idea, suggesting we take the party theme back to the 1950s with poodle skirts & a diner & soda shoppe style menu. I loved the idea and began conceptualizing this retro soda shoppe birthday party with her requests in mind.

Young girl at her birthday party

Establishing a Party Theme

If you follow my parties, you know that the first step in establishing my party theme & concept involves the invitation creation. Mixing the classic aqua, red, black, white and pink colours from that era with the retro inspired diner signage. Maureen amazed me again with the invitation design! I love the red checked border, common on the food paper lining burger baskets from the time. Perfection for tween party ideas! Thank you to Driftwood Printing for their incredible, vibrant printing on the invitations. As well as all of the coordinating items you see featured in this party.

Retro party invitations - tween party ideas

Tween Fashion & Hair Styles for Retro Party

Fashion is one of the things that makes the 1950s so fun! To really drive the theme home, and because girls love getting dolled up, we surprised each guest with an outfit to wear to the party! Attendees donned gorgeous poodle skirt inspired tutus made by the talented Atutudes with tulle from Nashville Wraps. We thought this was a fun nod to the 50s without being as constricting as real poodle skirts while roller skating. Brenda of Great Stitch worked her magic and created 10 monogrammed t-shirts, one for each girl. For some fun accessories, we gave each girl a polka dotted neck scarf (only $1 each) and added rhinestone accents to inexpensive cat eye glasses (also only $1 each) to complete the look.

The girls were treated to custom hair styles, light makeup and fingernail painting in our own make-shift beauty school. Fortunately, our stylist wasn't a "beauty school dropout". A big thanks to my amazing hairstylist friend, Tiffany Shakespeare, for sharing her talents and making over these beauties!

Even the guys got in on the dress-up action, with my husband stepping in to be our soda jerk, and my little boys playing totally cool greasers.

5 tween girls at a retro soda shoppe birthday party.
Girls having a milkshake at party
tween girl and her dad at birthday party

Retro Tween Party Menu Ideas

Everyone loved eating the diner inspired food. We kept the menu to a few basics:  hamburgers (with or without cheese), hot dogs, fries, fountain drink/soda and fresh shakes + a few fruit and veggie options thrown in for good measure. My husband took orders on the guest checks designed by Anders Ruff and had each girl leave a sweet keepsake message on them. As a result, my daughter could keep them to enjoy after the party was over!

Food menu at tween girls birthday party
Kaylee looking at camera at her party
Tween Girl eating hamburger
Girls having food at party
Girls sitting at table and talking at party
Milkshake at Kaylee's Retro Tween birthday party

Tween Party Ideas - Retro Soda Shoppe Decorations

Dining tables were set with tablecloths from Wholesale Event Solutions and striped runners from Koyal Wholesale. The centerpiece of each table was a small ode to 50s style diners. I paired a metal napkin holder and sugar shaker with a scalloped pie stand which held a small menu, ketchup and mustard bottles, and salt and pepper shakers.

Place settings were made by layering black plates to look like vinyl record "45s" chargers with striped paper plates from Hoopla Events. Each plate was personalized with the soda shoppe logo, a fun printable detail we had designed by Anders Ruff. Reusable plastic soda bottles from Via Blossom also got a custom beverage wrap and party flag embellished striped straw (Hoopla Events). Retro burger baskets were lined with red and white checked food grade tissue sheets from Nashville Wraps. Burgers and fries were packaged in glassine bags with the cutest custom sticker labels from the Anders Ruff Diner Soda Shoppe 50s Retro Party Collection. Guest checks were included with each order. We loved this detail that allowed friend's of Kaylee to leave her a sweet message.

decorations at tween girls birthday party
Table set up at Kaylee's Retro Soda Shoppe Party

More Decorations and Food Table Ideas

A retro soda shoppe party calls for an amazing dessert table! Using an oversized logo, inspired by diners and ice cream parlors popular in the 50s, I got to work building a fun table for retro inspired treats. To dress up the table, we flanked each side with clusters of balloons from My Paper Crush and added a custom "Kaylee" name banner to the front of the table.

Retro Cake

Christina of 4 Kids Cakes designed the most perfect cake, combining elements of the printable designs with elements of the girl's' costumes. Plus, how awesome is that checker board floor? Christina also knocked the cupcake design out of the park! Aren't those the cutest ice cream inspired cupcakes you've ever seen, complete with a fondant cherry on top? They looked adorable served up in baking cups from Hoopla Events. Sundae style glasses were used to creatively display soda shoppe themed cake pops baked up and decorated by. As a result, they were super sweet and just couldn't be any cuter.

Retro Decorations

Cat eye glasses, roller skates, milkshake, record and logo cookie pops by Auntie Beas Bakery looked amazing displayed in square vases filled with paper shred. Bethany's cookies are a favorite here! Morsels Parties came through in a big way, executing my idea to serve chocolate covered Oreos designed to look like vinyl records. They were snatched up and eaten in a flash!

And last, but certainly not least, a retro soda shoppe definitely means milkshakes have to be served. Fresh strawberry milk shakes were served in retro Coco-Cola glasses and then sprinkled with Candyfetti from Sweets Indeed. Sweets on sweets is never a bad thing, at least not in my book.

Party Favours

After dinner and dessert, it was time to box up leftovers and party favors and head to our local roller skating rink. Each guest was provided a personalized "take home" gable box to wrap up their leftovers and tuck away a treat for later. Attendees also grabbed one of the adorable retro car boxes from Via Blossom, which contained a small popcorn snack for the car ride and cute candy tubes from Hoopla Events filled with gumballs. Water bottles with soda shoppe labels were taken in to the skating establishment to keep the girls all hydrated.

Retro Soda Shoppe Birthday Cake
Lolly table at birthday party
tween party ideas
tween party ideas - food

We are so grateful for all of the friends who came to celebrate with us, as well as the companies that helped us pull off such a fun celebration! Call us old-fashioned, but we believe a party isn't over until the thank you notes are sent. Classic values never go out of style. We can't wait to send out these cute thank you cards from Tiny Prints. We especially loved being able to customize one version with the party logo Anders Ruff designed for us. Until next time, 1950s! You were a lot of fun!

thank you for coming birthday card
tween party ideas - party favours
tween party ideas

Vendor Credits:

– Event Design and Styling: Jennifer Carver of Banner Events

– Photography: A Fresh Take Photography

– Party Printables: Anders Ruff Custom Designs

– Large and Small Format Printing: Driftwood Printing

– Poodle Skirt Tutus: Atutudes

– Monogram Shirts: GreatStitch.com

– Custom Sugar Cookies: Auntie Beas Bakery

– Baking Cups, Plates, Gumball Tubes and Paper Straws: Hoopla Events

– Custom Cake: 4 Kids Cakes

– Cake Pops: Vypassetti Cake Pops

– Candyfetti: Sweets Indeed

– Chocolate Covered Oreo "Records": Morsels Parties

– Custom Pillows, Canvas, Thank You Cards: Tiny Prints

– Polka Dot Balloons, Mylar Number Balloons, Tissue Fans: My Paper Crush

– 1950s Car Favor Boxes and Soda Bottles: Via Blossom Shop

– Tablecloth: Wholesale Event Solutions

– Striped Table Runners: Koyal Wholesale

– Cabana Stripes Ribbon, Red Polka Dot Jewelry Boxes, Red/White Checked Food Grade Tissue Sheet: Nashville Wraps

For more tween party ideas, check out our article on 'A Vintage Style Party for a Tween Girl'

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Jennifer Carver

Banner Events is an event planning and styling company obsessed with the little details that make an ordinary event extraordinary! I strive to pair individuality and creativity with well-executed details to bring flair and fun to your event. I worry about all of the details—big and small—so you can relax and be a guest at your own party. While I offer a variety of services, my specialties are boutique style children’s parties, wedding/bridal showers & dessert tables.

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