150 is nifty!

23 Jan

back in october i threw a surprise party for my parents and brother, who cumulatively turned 150 years old. i used pingg to send out the invites, which i whipped up using a few gold balloons and some simple typography.

it was certainly a challenge to plan the entire party remotely. never having seen the space in person, or conducted a tasting. but needless to say, all three guests of honor were shocked when the dinner for four they thought they were en route to turned out to be a cocktail party for them and 60 others.

i wanted the party to feel like a slightly more celebratory back yard bash. but since there was no way of putting this together at my parents’ house without them noticing, i rented a simple space and took it from there. i used the gold mylar balloons at the party, since they’re fun, festive, and (best of all) a really easy way to decorate. each table had a trio of gold balloons tied to a gold mylar balloon weight and was surrounded by assorted gold confetti. i kept the bar simple: sodas and waters from costco, two red options and two white options for wine, and a nice selection of beer. i also put the dessert buffet together myself, with my family’s favorites (red velvet cake for my mom and sour patch kids for my brother, for instance) plus a birthday cake with “150 is nifty!” in icing and gold candles around the perimeter. design cuisine took care of the main fare. they came highly recommended to me (thanks!), and put together a wonderful selection for the early evening gathering. i wanted it to be appetizer-style food, but didn’t want anyone to leave the shindig feeling hungry. so the spread included a delicious mezze platter, goat cheese tortas, sugar cane grilled shrimp, mini chicken parm sandwiches (a fave of my dad’s), eggplant and fontina pizza rustica (my brother is a vegetarian), and harvest pumpkin picks (it was october, afterall). and of course, i had ordered gold dinnerware, so the midas touch was on the cups, plates, and cutlery too.

i prepared a playlist on my ipod a few weeks prior that would last the duration of the evening and set up a photobooth. in my opinion, no party is complete without a photobooth. i transformed basic dry-erase boards, using metallic gold ribbon as trim, and set a couple out with markers. easy instructions told guests to write their birthday wishes on the boards. using my mac laptop’s photo booth program, they were to click the button and pose for the camera. gold balloons spelled out 150 in the background and were a really easy way to anchor the spots where guests were to stand.

lessons learned: a great caterer is so important. friends willing to help set up are too. shindigz, balloon warehouse and party city are good resources. store window displays are great party inspiration, as are blogs that post about them.

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