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Bollywood Theme Party Plans

Updated on February 17, 2016
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Jaynie has extensive experience with party and event planning, having planned events for groups between 20 and 600 people.

Bollywood in Your Backyard

When I think of India, a few images immediately come to mind. These images form the basis for my Bollywood theme party.

A successful theme party is one that transports guests to the locale that inspired the theme. In this case, guests are headed to Mumbai, formerly Bombay, where the Bollywood craze began.

Bollywood is the eastern version of Hollywood, churning out hundreds of movies each year, starring the biggest names in Indian cinema. These stars are practically royalty, recognized and beloved by Indians everywhere.

Bollywood is a visually stunning, colorful and magical place. Your party should aim to replicate this dazzling feel by featuring bold, vibrant colors, sweet, pungent flavors, and provocative sounds and movement.


Your invitation is the calling card that will help set the tone for your party. It should offer guests a glimpse into the magical world you’re about to create and leave them anxious to attend. The invitation should be evocative of the environ, bursting with colorful images and offering just a hint of what will be featured, so as to intrigue, but not spoil the effect when your guests arrive. Some of the common Indian images include elephants, henna tattoos, the Taj Mahal, and Indian gods and goddesses such as Ganesh, Shiva, Krishna and Vishnu. Their art is intricate and colorful. Consider incorporating some of these images into your invitation.


The decorations can be an extension of the images you’ve incorporated into your invitations, alive with color and culturally relevant. The colors vary greatly and the bolder, the better. Do not worry about matching. In the world you are replicating, oranges dance alongside pinks, purples and teals.

As I prefer an outdoor venue under a large tent, that’s the idea we’ll build upon here. To enhance the structure, roll heavy, solid colored fabric into a tight, long rope and wind around the tent poles. You may make a thicker rope by winding two tightly wound individual ropes around one another and wrapping them both around the tent poles. Then take a series of thin, colorful drapes and tie them to the center of the tent top, splaying them out toward the sides of the tent to create a tent-within a tent effect. (see photos below for ideas on how to hang drapery).

To create additional magic, use a combination of white and blue string lights to enhance the party area. Use them to outline the tent poles and drape them along side the tulle from the center to the sides of the tent. They will provide the perfect ambience when the sun goes down. Colorful paper lanterns make a lovely touch when hung from varied lengths of string from the top of the tent.

The inside of your tent should also feature a variety of comfy, soft and bold-colored pillows strewn about. Colorful floral centerpieces and candles in beaded candle holders make beautiful accents. Marigolds are especially authentic and even more lovely if the small vases are surrounded by fresh rose petals.

If you have the means and space, projecting a Bollywood movie onto the back wall of the tent adds a festive element and ties in perfectly with your theme.


Most women are not likely to own a sari, but if they do, what a perfect occasion to wear it! Encourage your guests to wear vibrant colors that the guests themselves add to the over-the-top effect you’re aiming for. Check out these gorgeous fashions.


Authentic Indian cuisine is delicious and creating a buffet featuring a variety of Indian street foods or finger foods will help keep your menu simple, yet delicious. A few deliciously simple ideas include: Punjabi lamb kebabs; Chicken tikka bites; east Indian chickpea salad; Naan with variety of dipping sauces; and cold curried chicken salad.

Chicken Tikka Skewers
Chicken Tikka Skewers


Because henna art is commonly associated with Indian culture, featuring a henna tattoo artist at your party would surely be a hit. If you can’t find one in your area, consider purchasing henna tattoo kits so that your guests can decorate one another. Kits can be found at a variety of online outlets. I purchased one years ago at Barnes and Noble’s. Allow plenty of time for ordering if you select yours online. Also be sure to have a table at which the henna art is the feature, preferably with a disposable tablecloth to catch any mess that might be made.

Photo booths are increasingly popular at parties and other special events. You can build your own photo booth inexpensively using PVC piping around which you drape colorful materials such as tulle and holiday lights. Because most guests use their smart phones as cameras, you don’t even need a photographer, but having a digital camera available is always a great idea. You can share photos later through Instagram, Facebook, or another social media outlet or by email.


What better way to set the mood than with music? This will take a bit of investigation but most options can be found through iTunes. During dinner, you may opt for more calming background music and then pick it up for dancing and socializing later.

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© 2015 Jaynie2000


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