I am still recovering from my 40th bash at the weekend. Not because of too much champagne, but because it was a BIG night, and I am old and preggers! But I want to tell you all about the night, and what made it so special. House parties are few and far between these days and I think that’s a shame as they are SO MUCH FUN! I really wanted a party at home as I haven’t had a big bash since my 30th birthday, and because house parties tend to be more warm and personal. Admittedly, they are A LOT of work, but given event planning is in my DNA (and in fact, I was an event manager B.C) and I totally dig this kind of stuff. If you’re contemplating your next milestone birthday or celebratory occasion, consider having it at home. I am going to share with you how I did it, with styling, catering, theming and mood boosting tips. It was heaps of fun, and my girls absolutely loved helping me shop, plan and coordinate every aspect of party planning.
I decided early on that we would host this party at home. Although it can be a lot more work than having it elsewhere, it can also be more affordable and everyone loves a house party! We don’t have a huge amount of space at home, but we maximised space by moving out some furniture and using the deck outside. Given my birthday lands smack bang in the middle of the year (and it was very chilly on this night) we used a tarpaulin to close in the deck and we scattered some heat lamps around for warmth. I also figured that the booze would provide guests with an extra layer of insualation, so we made sure there was plenty of that! For those who were game to venture into the garden, we fired up a brazier, which also added atmosphere and people enjoyed gathering around the fire throughout the night (and early morning!!).
Here’s where you need to make life easier for yourself if you’re entertaining for a big number. I had 66 guests and knew there was no way I could do the catering myself for the night. This was out of the question. Plus, I wanted to enjoy the night and be a participant not a host. When you’re busy handing around food all night you don’t get to join in, and that defeats the whole purpose of celebrating. So, we hired a food truck to come and take care of the catering. We chose a pizza truck, and they banged out pizzas all night for the hungry guests, and it was a hit. I also had sushi platters for those guests that don’t eat pizza, and for people to enjoy before the main meal.
The number one rule for any party, big or small, is to have plenty of booze! I have to admit that it was incredibly hard for me ordering all the wine and champagne when I knew I wouldn’t be able to drink it. But, being a gracious host, I put my own grievances aside and made sure there was no shortage of choice for everyone else. We had champagne, riesling, pinot grigio, chardonnay, shiraz, pino noir and a selection of beers. Oh, and I also had plenty of mineral water and soft drink for the drivers and pregnant ones amongst us. Make that the ONLY pregnant lady at the party!
I opted for a pink and mint colour theme for my party, with a splash of gold! I loaded up on honeycomb tissue balls and confetti from Poppies for Grace and I sprinkled that confetti everywhere! I bought stacks of helium balloons in my colour scheme and, of course, no “milestone” occasion would be complete without some jumbo balloons to mark the big number. The big gold 40 balloons provided a discreet reminder of my age!! I hung the honeycombs and tissue pom poms from the ceiling and walls, and strung pretty pink and mint garlands above the candy buffet.
I think the house looked terrific, but my favourite decoration of all was the handmade welcome sign the girls made, which we hung at the entrance. How adorable!!!
Flowers are a must when you’re entertaining and I always like to have a few bunches. These pretty blooms came from Flowers for Jane. They delivery throughout Melbourne. I told them I was having a pink and mint theme and they matched the flowers beautifully.
In keeping with my colour scheme, my talented cake maker created this gorgeous show-stopper of a cake. Inside is chocolate mud cake and it’s covered in pink and white fondant, decorated with mint fondant circles and a touch of edible gold glitter. It not only looked fabulous, it tasted fabulous!! Miss A helped me decorate the bamboo forks with some gold washi tape, which provided some extra sparkle! Lucky for me, there was quite a lot of leftover cake so I’ve been accompanying my daily afternoon cuppa with a slice of cake!
One word: Spotify!
If you’re hosting a party, create some playlists in Spotify. You need atmospheric mood music for early on in the night. Then you need a party dance floor mix for after the speeches. And finally you need a “drunk dancing” playlist for the last ones standing, who possibly think they are better dancers than they actually are! Usually the quality of music declines as you get closer to the sun rising!! Oh, and be prepared for everyone to think they have better taste in music than you do 🙂
The candy buffet
Who doesn’t love a candy buffet? I’ve been to a few weddings where there’s been a candy bar on offer and I decided to do this for my party. I had such fun setting up the candy bar and selecting the sweets to go inside all the jars I had to buy! One thing I quickly realised is more is more! And even a kilo of freckless doesn’t actually fill a large jar! I think each day leading up to the party I had to revisit the lolly shop to top up on the lollies. This also could have something to do with the fact that I naturally had to sample the lollies in advance to check for quality control :-). I chose some old favourites: Freckles, Strawberries & Cream, Musk Sticks, Raspberry Bullets, Caramel Swirls, White Chocolate Swirls, Chocolate Swirls and then I stepped it up with a big jar of Lindt Balls. Inside this jar was every flavour imaginable!! I included cupcake pans for people to eat and enjoy on the night, and also take home lolly bags with pegs, for those who wanted a suagr fix on the way home in the uber, or to give to their kids the next day!
The mood of any party is dictated by the guests, and my guests came with enthusiastic gusto. We also added an extra layer of celebration by announcing our BIG NEWS about being pregnant. I ordered my guests to drink on my behalf, which they did, without objection 🙂
The clean up
I’m not going to sugar coat it – the mess was bad, very bad! But luckily for me, Mr NASD took care of most of the clean up, leaving his pregnant wife to be a couch potato the next day. It took him most of the day to restore the house to order, but it was a very small price to pay for a fantastic night!!
I had SUCH fun celebrating with my closest friends, and so to anyone contemplating a milestone birthday party, I say “DO IT!!” But if I have one further “suggestion”, I might say try and avoid being pregnant for it!! LOL. ON the upside, I got to view the party and party guests through sobering eyes – quite the eye opening novelty for me. And I woke up without a headache, so it’s not all bad…..
Thanks for all your birthday wishes on social media. I felt like I was sharing my birthday celebrations with you all, and it was fun. But I am utterly exhausted now. So I hereby declare the “Festival of 40” OVER!!
So, whadya reckon? Does it look like a party you would have liked to attend? Have you been to or hosted a house party recently?