Welcome Home Soldier

We all appreciate the great job our young men and women are doing overseas. It is sad to see them ship out and a great relief to see them return. A military welcome home party is a time honored tradition that we think is worth keeping.
 
It is important to personalize the party and make it something your retuning hero will remember forever. They have done the hard work, now we will give you some welcome home party ideas that will show your loved one how proud you feel, and how happy you are that they are home!

Welcome Home Party Invitations
The type of invitation you extend to your guests really depends on how many you are having to the party and how far in advance you can confirm the date of the homecoming. An email or phone call is fine if it is a last minute affair. If you have enough warning, a hand written invitation will work if you are having a few friends and family over.
 
If you want to throw a big bash send out a standard invitation as soon as you have the date confirmed. It is fine to have a few people meet the returning soldier at their actual arrival and have a big party at a later date so he or she has time to settle in.

A personalized camouflage Welcome Home invitation is a wonderful option for your celebration. You can make it extra special by attaching the invite to a small American Flag with ribbon.

You can also make your own invitations by printing them at home. Dress the invite up with patriotic clip art, flag stickers, or red white and blue stationary. A fun idea is to include a little confetti in the envelope.

Welcome Home Party Supplies and Decorations
Start with a personalized Welcome Home banner that makes your message loud and clear. The banner can also serve as a back drop during the welcome home speeches that are sure to follow. Consider giving each guest a bit of patriotic color to wave like an American Flag or an LED patriotic wand.

Make sure everyone signs in so the guest of honor has a record of those that welcomed him home. A personalized sign in board where guests can leave messages and their well wishes will make a nice memento! Most parents and friends have pictures of the soldier in uniform and with his unit. Put some of those out for people to see.

Much of this depends on whether you are renting a hall or having the party at home. Most halls have an American flag available. Make sure it is proudly displayed. The same thing can be done at home. I’ve been to two of these events that started with everyone standing to give the Pledge of Allegiance. It was a powerful and touching moment.

That red, white and blue flag theme can be carried through with all your decorations. Here are a few decorations that will help you welcome home your loved one in style:
You will probably want two special tables set up. The first is a tribute to the soldier and the people they served with. Pictures, notes, letters of commendation are all appropriate. Most soldiers I know are reluctant to step in the spotlight so talk with the guest of honor and make sure they are comfortable with your plan. They all value their friends in the service so if you focus on the unit you should be ok. You can decorate the tables with a patriotic table skirt.

The other table is a food table. What you serve is up to you but it should include the soldier’s favorite meal. Pot luck is ok for this type of event so if your soldier likes Aunt Martha’s cookies don’t be afraid to ask Aunt Martha to bring some. There are plenty of patriotic paper goods available to set the table.
    Welcome Home Party Activities
    You shouldn’t plan much in the way of formal activities for this welcome home party. Most of the guests will be happy to spend a few minutes speaking with the returning soldier and sharing reminisces. Leave some time for conversation and pictures.
     
    It might be fun to do a life-sized cutout of your returning hero. You can choose one of our caricature bodies or do a cutout from a picture of your soldier in dress uniform. That will make for some great pictures!

    If you have a projector and a screen putting a Powerpoint presentation of the soldier and their unit, with a history of where they served and action they saw can be a very powerful and emotional moment. You can also set out a personalized sign in board where guests can leave messages and their well wishes!

    Having folks say a few words is nice but you have to manage this type of thing. Pick one or two speakers before hand. They’ll be prepared with appropriate words and you’ll avoid the dangers of an open microphone.

    Have the soldier speak if they are willing. It’s really not a good idea to force this if the soldier is not comfortable with public speaking. In other words keep this party relatively simple and keep the focus on the guest of honor.

    Welcome Home Party Favors
    For a sweet party favor everyone will love, give out personalized candy bar wrappers with a picture of the soldier and a personal message as the perfect end of party treat.

    Another personal favor idea are these custom mint and candy tins. With several fun designs to choose from you can't go wrong!

    Just remember, the best party favor is having your loved one home. It’s good to have you back!

    Have fun, from the Party Girl and the Party-ettes!