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Discussion Forums

Photo Roasts and Toasts Party Planning Guide
Ideas, Invitations, Decorations & Favors

Done correctly a roast can be a fun way to “honor” someone.  They can be funny and are unforgettable when done well.  But there are some dos and don’ts when having a roast.  Let us answer some questions.

First of all, who is a good candidate?

Whether it be for a birthday surprise, a retirement party or for some other occasion where there is one person being honored, a roast is perfect (as long as your guest of honor has a sense of humor!).  Probably a good idea to check with them first to make sure they’ll be comfortable on stage.

Do all the "roasts" and "toasts" have to be negative?

Absolutely not. But it seems like roasts (and toasts, too) are funnier when they insult the person. If you remember, Dean Martin and Don Rickles used to host the Friar's Club roasts (or whatever it was called). They were televised, and all of the celebrities got up, one by one, and made fun of whoever was the night's honoree. So, as long as the negative comments are not hurtful and are in good fun...anything goes.

How many people do you need to make it a fun event?

Well, roasting someone at the dinner table probably doesn't qualify as a real, true roast. I remember that on my 35th birthday, my friends roasted me. As I recall, there were probably 40 or 60 people in the room. The worst teasing came from my brother, of all people, who let the crowd know that my mother liked him best. The more people in the room, the more ruckus there is. The more people who present, the more fun it is.

Is anything off limits?

Well, I should think so. Obviously, you don't want to bring up past relationships that are still lingering, or talk about how many women a man has dated...if he's there with someone new. You have to use common sense, and remember this is about being humorous--all in good fun. At my roast, an old boyfriend who I was very close to gave what would have been a very clever presentation...if I wasn't sitting next to my current boyfriend. He brought the Cleveland white pages with a new cover and said it was my autobiography listing all the men I had dated...and then fell over sideways because it was so heavy. People were on the floor laughing--except for my date! (Don't worry, he got over it.)

What if I can't think of anything to say?

There are companies that will write the roast or toast for you. Contact Adrienne for help with Roasts and Toasts. She will put together an unforgettable roast/toast for you (and you can lie and say you did it yourself...who will know?).

Another option is to “steal” one-liners from a great comic. My favorite is Rodney Dangerfield.  Here are some of his best

Party Invitations

  • Do a caricature of the honoree that depicts interests, hobbies and idiosyncrasies; include party information right on the caricature: time, date, place, phone number for RSVP. The great thing about a caricature is you can use it for a life-sized cutout or for a three-sided centerpiece. Contact the Custom Queen for some ideas for your roast.

Planning Guides

Party Ideas

  • One fun thing to do is to also blow up a snapshot of the roastees head to 8.5x11 inches, cut each one out, glue them on tongue depressors and pass them out to your guests as each person enters. It's a great favor and what a kick the honoree will get when he or she looks out at the crowd and they are all holding his/her face in front of theirs! Works every time.

Party Food

  • Serve what you can afford, but definitely have a bar (it can be a cash bar if you are at a party room and if these are close friends). Liquor will loosen up the crowd and everything will seem funny--even when someone gets up there and bombs (which happens, unfortunately).

Party Decorations

  • Put a "head" shot of your honoree, or a caricature if that's what you use for the invitation, on a three-sided centerpiece. They're very popular, and we see them on people's bookshelves long after the party is over. Contact the Custom Queen to order.
  • A great idea for centerpieces (that isn't even expensive) is to take a nice "head" shot of the individual being roasted and take it to your local Kinko's to be colored copied. Blow it up to about 2x3 feet, make about 4 per table and glue them to plant sticks. Then go to your local supermarket or florist and buy some flowering plants (about $8 at the supermarket) and stick the pictures of the honoree in the plants. Tie off a ribbon and--voila--you have a centerpiece.

Party Locations

  • If it were me, I would do it in a party room that was the perfect size for the number of people who you plan to invite. Set it up "u" style, with a podium at the front. Don't forget to ask the party room/hotel to provide sound (if you have enough people to warrant it). It's a little bit tougher in someone's living room because people aren't as comfortable--and most roasts have quite a few presenters and take an hour or more

Party Gifts

  • You may want to give a gift to everyone who speaks. This is nice and should be funny and go with the theme--your guest of honor. What works? Well, one of those picture key chains would be fun and cheap! Just take that "head" shot again and slip it into Lucite key chains that are picture frames (available at any Target, Super K or five and dime).
  • At each place setting, put a personalized candy bar wrapper. With a picture of the person being roasted and your own "special" ingredients, you can start the roast early with these unique creations. The chocolate is tasty too!

Ask the Experts


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Have fun from the Party Girl and Party411!




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