There’s just something about black and white that makes any party feel elegant and chic. If you’re looking to throw a black and white themed party of your own, here are a few ideas to get you started. From décor to food and specialty cocktails, we’ve got everything you need to create a sophisticated soiree your guests will love!
Although I hosted this party for New Year’s Eve, a black and white party isn’t really specific to a particular holiday or event. So whether you’re hosting a birthday party, anniversary celebration, or a graduation party, this theme would work.
Since it is all about the color scheme, black and white party decorations as well as food and drink ideas are in order.
You might even want to ask your guests to dress in black and white.
Or go all out and host it as a black and white masquerade party (which is what I did).
When everything is color coordinated like this, you’ll be amazed at how great your party looks. It’s like the whole room is a photo op.
For my party, I also used a lot of silver. It reflects light so it reads as white but the extra sparkle adds a lot more ambience to the room than flat white would.
1. Send invitations
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I have to admit, I rarely send formal invitations for my parties (and this one was no exception).
But if I were going to send them, I would go to Zazzle to find ones I like.
They have so many designs to choose from (I like this one* for a black and white party). And they customize them to say exactly what you want.
Don’t forget to tell your guests about your black and white dress code (if you’re doing that). Or that they’ll need masks (if you’re doing a masquerade party, too).
If you’re not sure what to put in an invitation, you can read our guide on sending party invitations for more details.
2. Wear a black and white outfit
If you do decide to go with black and white party attire, you’ll need to come up with an outfit.
For a casual look, black jeans with a white shirt or jacket is an easy option that works for both men and women. Or in the summer, try the opposite approach with white pants and a black shirt.
For a more formal affair, a little black dress with a white jacket, pearls and some accessories always looks elegant. Gloves are an added touch of elegance.
A black suit and tie with a white shirt is a classic look for him.
If you like to be a little more edgy, go for something with stripes or a zebra print. You’ll definitely show your unique style!
Adding a black and white hat will definitely make a statement (if hats are your thing).
If you’re hosting a masquerade party like I did, it’s a good idea to have some extra black and white masks on hand for the people who don’t bring one. (There’s always a few!) I ordered these inexpensive black and white ones* and these black lace ones* from Amazon.
3. Use black and white tablecloths
Okay now that we have the invitations and what to wear sorted out, let’s get on with the decorations!
Cover your tables with black and white table cloths to make them all look the same.
Even if the tables are all different shapes and sizes (like mine), the consistent color scheme will make them look like they all go together.
I used these black and white damask tablecloths* because I liked the pattern.
But you could also use a black and white leopard or zebra print like I did for my Mad Hatter tea party.
Or black and white stripes like I did for my Kate Spade inspired tablescape.
4. Cover the walls
I put up silver and black metallic curtains* across all of the walls, including the windows and patio doors.
They help to give the whole room a cohesive look. And add lots of sparkle.
If you don’t want it to be quite that sparkly, try alternating white and black drapes across the wall. (I used this idea for my Kate Spade party, but it would work just as well for a black and white party).
5. Make a night sky
Hanging things from the ceiling is my favorite way to take any party’s decorations up a level. They always make the room look special.
For my black and white party, I wanted to create the illusion of the night sky. So I hung these black strips with dangling silver stars* from the ceiling in the dining area.
Installing small white Christmas lights between the strips causes the light to be reflected by the stars. Which almost makes them look like they are twinkling.
The strips are 12″ wide and have wooden dowels at each end that can be hung over hooks or a curtain rod to span the ceiling.
Then you can hang the twinkle lights between each of the strips, draping the ends over the same hooks (or curtain rod) to at each end.
6. Hang black fabric from the ceiling
Alternatively, you can drape sheer black fabric* across the ceiling to add interest.
It’s a little less dramatic than the stars (which may be what you are looking for) but also less work than hanging the ceiling strips.
I did this in my living room, which was the dance floor for the party.
Just install hooks at the center point of the ceiling and at the corner points where the fabric is draped, and loop the fabric over it.
Or if you’re using curtain rods to hang drapery around the walls, you can attach the ends of ceiling swags to them, too. I used curtain rings with clips to hang the curtains and clip the ends of the swags.
7. Add a mirror ball
I know what you’re thinking. Mirror balls (like this one*) are so 70’s!
But that’s just what I like about them. They bring that disco era glam to any party.
And once you light them up (I use a flood light to do that), you’ll see why everyone loves them!
8. Make a black and white balloon arch
I didn’t actually make a balloon arch for my party, but if I were doing it again, I totally would.
I think putting one over the entry so everyone has to walk through it when they come in sets the mood for the whole event.
But you could also use it to dress up the dessert table or make a photo op out of it if you have a good backdrop.
You can find the balloon garland arch kits to make them (like this one*) on Amazon.
9. Use lots of candles
No matter what kind of party I’m hosting, I always use candles. They add ambience to a room like nothing else can.
I used these white candelabras* as table centerpieces since they are tall and skinny. So people can still see each other across the table.
Then I put other ones all around the room. Basically anywhere that there’s some space that isn’t being used for something else.
Covering the base of the candle holders with a garland makes them look more like a centerpiece. I used an evergreen garland, but you could also use one with white flowers or even a black and white feather boa.
In all cases, if you are afraid people are going to knock the candles over, use flame-less ones. That way there’s no chance of starting a fire.
10. Make feather centerpieces
If you have seen any of my other parties, you know that I love making these ostrich feather centerpieces.
No matter what kind of party you’re hosting, they always make a statement!
And they’re really easy to make.
For my black and white party, I chose to do all white ones.
But you could do all black or a mix of black and white feathers depending on the look you’re going for.
11. Hang ornaments from the chandelier
If you have a chandelier, another fun centerpiece is to hang ornaments from it using thread or fishing line.
It works quite well (especially if you’re going to be eating at the table) because it doesn’t take up any table space.
They almost look like they’re floating in air.
One note from experience: You may want to use flameless candles because the heat from real ones can cause the thread to break. Which creates a big mess.
12. Use black and white table Decor
Black and white is an easy theme to decorate a table with since there are so many items that come in these colors (plates, napkins, candles, table cloths, etc.).
Then added a black napkin with a white napkin ring that looks like a bow tie on the plate.
Finally, simple silverware finishes off the place setting.
13. Create a candy Buffet
Candy buffets are another one of my go-to options for parties.
With some glass apothecary jars and pretty cake or cupcake stands, they’re easy to put together, can be done in advance and are always a big hit with my friends.
Just look for black and white candies (or ones that have black and white wrappers), like these:
- black and white swirl lollipops*
- candy sticks*
- personalized black and white chocolate bars*
- buttermints with black and packaging*
- gumballs* in either white or black (or some of each)
- sixlets chocolate candy* in either white or black (or some of each)
Or if you prefer, you can buy this black and white candy buffet assortment* that is already put together for you.
14. Mix drinks to match the theme
Serving signature cocktails that match the theme of your party always goes over well with guests.
And they make your life a little easier, since you can mix up a big batch of them ahead of time. That way you won’t have to be mixing drinks all night and missing all the fun.
I made one white drink and one black one for my party. Then served them both in martini glasses. They look awesome on a tray together!
Here are some white cocktail recipes you can try:
- White chocolate martini – Because who doesn’t love a chocolate cocktail in a martini glass? Get the recipe.
- White Russian – White Russians are more of a cream color than true white, but you can actually get a half white/half dark look if you pour the cream in slowly. Get the recipe.
- Cinnamon toast martini – A cinnamon toast martini is another drink that is a creamy white color (and isn’t really a martini). Mix half and half Rum Chata and Fireball whiskey in a martini glass.
And some black ones:
- Black Dahlia – this one even has an interesting story from the Gallery Bar at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Read the story and see the recipe at imbibemagazine.com.
- Black widow martini – This martini is made with black rum which gives it a truly black color (but isn’t really a martini since it doesn’t use vodka or gin). Get the recipe.
- Espresso martini – An espresso martini isn’t a true black color, but it’s dark enough to look black. Especially next to a white cocktail in a dimly lit room. Get the recipe.
15. Cook black and white food
While I didn’t try to make all black and white food at my party, I did make a few dishes that were. They help to carry on the theme.
Here are a few options:
- Zebra pasta* is black and white and looks so pretty. I served it tossed with my lemon butter garlic shrimp recipe. It’s perfect because the sauce doesn’t have a lot of color so the black and white stripes are still clearly visible.
- Bow tie pasta salad – That same zebra pasta also makes a great pasta salad. Mix it with black olives and goat cheese to keep the black and white color scheme going. Get the recipe.
- I know a lot of people would serve a black and white cake, but I prefer cupcakes. They are so much easier to serve. And these Oreo cheesecake cupcakes only take a few minutes to make, so they’re easier to cook, too.
- Oreo cookies dipped in white chocolate also carry on the black and white theme. And they look awesome on a candy buffet.
- Chocolate cupcakes with white icing (or vice versa). To make it really easy on yourself, get a chocolate cake mix instead of making them from scratch. In either case, you can add a little black food coloring to the cupcake batter to make it darker.
16. Give out party favors
At the end of the night, I like to send my guests home with a party favor.
It can be something I gave them to wear at the party (like beads or a hat).
As I mentioned above, I ordered these black and white masquerade masks* so everyone could wear one at the party. So those ended up being my party favors.
But you could also go with a more traditional party favors like little black boxes with white ribbons on them and candy inside. (I didn’t use them but I really like these little black and white favor boxes*).
You can even make it a DIY affair by letting people fill up their own. Leave the empty party favor boxes by the candy buffet let your friends pick which candies they want to put in it. Which also means less work for you.
Other black and white party ideas you might like
- Kate Spade party (for a black, white and pink party theme)
- Great Gatsby party (for more of a black, white and gold look)
- DIY pearls and sand candle holders
- Winter wonderland party (for a white party theme)
Comments and questions about our black and white party ideas? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on December 3, 2014 but was updated with new content on July 28, 2022.