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Planning events is a passion I discovered only after I planned my own wedding last year. Since then, I’ve been itching to plan another event and so when my sister and I decided to have a surprise 60th birthday party for our mom, I was thrilled at the opportunity. I love scouring pinterest for ideas, putting the ideas together and developing a theme, getting my hands dirty with DIY projects and then finally seeing everything come together in one fantastic night. Well, our mom’s 60th birthday celebration was no disappointment. Let me break it down for you.
Finding the venue for an event is the most important part to me. The venue and the decorations set the mood of the event and put the guests in the frame of mind that you want them to be in. I tend to gravitate towards places that have a rustic vibe so I was thrilled to find The Solar Manor in Roselle Park, NJ. The outside of this place is completely charming and while there are some traditional banquet rooms, there are also a few non-traditional spaces one of which we used for the party. The food (mostly Portugese) was delicious and there were many different packages (in many different price ranges) to choose from. The coordinator, wait staff and maitre’d were attentive and were a huge reason the party was such a success.
It’s always great to have a theme for a party but when you can’t think of one, use color. We stuck to the burgundy/champagne color scheme for our theme and even though it was subtle it tied the room together.
Our inspiration came from this pin. The IKEA lanterns and candles were a perfect complement to the rustic feel of the room and the tulips gave the table an elegant touch. For the table numbers, we used old photos of mom and superimposed the number corresponding to the table in one of the corners (in Picasa).
The fabulous Mia from MakeMiaCake captured the theme of the party WONDERFULLY in the dulce de leche cake that she made. We sent her a proof of the invitations and she took it from there. We couldn’t have been more pleased with how the cake looked and how it tasted – it was beautiful and delicious!
No party is complete without a memento for the guests to take home and figuring out what to give our guests at this party was easier than I thought. Our mom is a very good cook and loves to entertain and feed everyone. Her recipes are beloved by all our family and friends and on several occasions she’s tried to teach others how to make them so I thought it would be a great idea to create a little recipe book with some of her best ones. I made the book on Blurb and using a coupon was able to get each book for a little under $5 a piece!
While looking for photos to use for the table numbers, we found a ton more photos of our mom that we wanted to display. We thought the best way to do this was to create a collage of the photos — that way, guests could see the photos and our mom could frame it after the party as a keepsake. I created the collage in 15 minutes using TurboCollage on my mac (after trying 3 other collage making programs and failing miserably) and then sent it over to Fedex/Kinko for printing.
This was probably the toughest thing to figure out. After tossing around fake engagement parties, and a fancy anniversary dinner, we finally came up with an idea that would force our mom to dress up and get her hair done. We told her we were getting professional family pictures taken! And she bought it hook, line and sinker! I mean, you can’t fake this kind of reaction:
And it was the truth, after all, we did get a lovely family photo:
No party is successful without great music and for this occasion we wanted to make sure that our mom got to dance to some of her favorites which were mostly exclusively Latin American songs – salsa, merengue, and Peruvian selections. Luckily, our DJ, Robert, of SG Productions, who is also Peruvian, played a great mix of our mom’s favorites and kept mom dancing all night!
Finally, I wanted to make sure the evening was captured on film so that our mom would never forget it. Alberto of Flowing Color Photography did an AMAZING job of taking pictures throughout the evening (as evidenced by all the photos above). You can see some more of the pictures from the night on his facebook page.
All in all the evening went off without a hitch and our mom said she’ll never forget it — mission accomplished. I hope I have another opportunity to plan a large event soon!