Aaron’s 30th Birthday Party [August 7th, 2010]
Mustache Themed – Five Course Kabob Meal – Wine & Beer Tasting
[The Birthday Boy & His Shirt]
Aaron decided that he wanted to grow out his beard a month before the party…so he could have a “clean palate” to work with. I’m pretty sure it was the first time in his life that he has had a “handle bar mustache”. We all liked it so much that he actually kept it after the party (and he’s still sporting it a month later)!!! Since Aaron had the facial mustache design all ready for the party, I thought it would only be appropriate to have a matching shirt to finish his ensemble. My favorite part of the whole party planning process was designing the shirt!!! I bought a plain white t-shirt and then printed the image (using my old ink-jet printer) directly on an iron-on transfer (that was purchased from “Joann Fabrics”). I LOVED the quality of the iron-on transfer and will definitely use this idea again in the future. (Here is one mustache fact…it is appropriate to spell it both “moustache” and “mustache”. I should have been a little more consistant with the spelling).
I wanted to use my long forgotten scrapbooking and Graphic Design skills for these invitations. They took up more time than I originally planned, but I really liked how they turned out in the end (and I also enjoyed the whole process of designing them). The invitations were made using InDesign and Photoshop and created with fonts that I already had on my computer (downloaded for free from http://www.1001freefonts.com). As far as the paper goes, there was a sale going on at “Joann Fabrics” and so I purchased the paper at that store. I then ran over to “Paper Plus” to buy envelopes that would fit my 5×7 invitations. For a special last minute touch, I wanted to get a postage stamp designed (www.photostamps.com), but I realized that things were already starting to add up quickly (and I needed to stick to my budget). So, I just used plain old stamps that I had around the house.
[The Photographer & Photobooth]
Early on in the planning, I realized that I would need some help serving food and pouring drinks. I also wanted a photographer to capture the evening (because I would be too busy doing other tasks). So, I hired my wonderful friend, Courtney, and she came to my rescue in more ways than one. It really helped to have a person that likes hosting parties herself!!! She knew what pictures would be important to me after all was said and done…and exactly how to help right when I needed it. Courtney officially started her photography business a few months ago, so give her a call and hire her for your next party or family gathering. (http://smallbeginningsphoto.blogspot.com) Also, I wanted to note that I asked Courtney to give me the raw photos (unedited) so she didn’t have to spend too much time on them. So, even though they already look AMAZING, just know that the edited photos are out of this world!!!
One of Aaron’s “Simple Birthday Requests” was that he wanted a picture of every person that came to his party. For the most part, everyone decided to jump on the opportunity to have their pretty faces captured on film (however, we didn’t find out until after the party was over that not everyone used our Photobooth…so we will be hunting them down with cameras for the rest of this year).
The Photobooth was pretty simple. We used a floor length curtain that was hanging in our bedroom and stapled it to the roof on the front porch. I then set-up the piano bench in front of the white curtain and put a basket of props (ie. hat, sunglasses, boa, etc) for people to use. The mustaches-on-a-stick were just fake mustaches that I purchased at “Spencers” in the Northtown Mall and then glued them to left over kabob skewers. However, most people just used the mustaches they brought to the party. I especially loved the fact that some knitted their own mustaches…brilliant!!! The only problem with this particular Photobooth was the fact that the white curtain wasn’t big enough for large groups. I think I might go to “Value Village” next time and get a white Queen Size sheet to hang up…
[The Party Decorations]
As far as the place settings go…I borrowed awnings, tables, chairs, and salt/pepper shakers. The table clothes were rented from “T&R Rental” in Spokane, WA. All the wood serving trays, plates, bowls and wine glasses were found at a local thrift store (“Value Village”). The centerpiece vases were re-used from a wedding that I helped with the previous summer (and they were originally purchased from “Michaels”). Each beer stein was hand selected at “The Dollar Tree”…while the forks and napkins were bought at an amazing price at the “URM Cash & Carry”.
My grandma has her own helium tank, so she blew-up White/Blue/Brown balloons for me and placed them around the front yard (latex balloons were purchased at the “50% Off Card Show”) using white curling ribbon that we found at “The Dollar Tree”. She also made white “pom poms” (not pictured) that were beautifully tied to the inside of all the awnings as a hanging centerpiece above all the tables (instructions on how to make the pom poms can be found by clicking this link). That’s not all…my grandma also arranged the flower centerpieces from flowers that were growing in her garden (I don’t know what I would have done without all her help).
Each person had a personalized place setting that included a “Name Tag” on their beer stein or wine glass…and a “Menu Card” that sat on their plate to greet them when they arrived. This 1/3 of a sheet of paper listed the type of kabob that was being served, the name of the beer or wine that was being sampled during each course, three “Conversation Starters” (everyone had a unique list of questions), and one “Mustache Fact” at the bottom of each sheet (and everyone at the table had a different fact). I designed these in InDesign as well…
The Happy Birthday banner was handmade, and I used the paper that was left over from making the invitations. I bought a birthday banner at “The Dollar Tree” and disassembled it. I was able to use the pieces as a template to trace the letters and then cut them out by hand. I then used curling ribbon to tie the pieces together. From a piece of fuzzy fabric that was purchased at “Joann Fabrics”, I also cut out mustaches and attached them to the circle part of the banner that was at the beginning and end of each word (the left over fuzzy fabric was used under the glass vases as square fabric centerpieces as well).
We brought out a buffet table from our dining room to use outside. The “Thank You” dessert buffet table was a hit (although, looking back, I should have skipped out on all of the chocolate treats and only used “non-melting” candy on this hot August evening). Labels were designed (using the same paper as the invitations) and wrapped around glass jars to let everyone know what treat was in each container. I also made little white treat boxes (from “The Dollar Tree”) that had a mustache label on the front that said “Thank You” and embellished with more curling ribbon. All dessert scoops/tongs were purchased from the “URM Cash & Carry”…and the glass containers, cake stands, white glass trays, picture frames and candles were all found at the thrift store “Value Village”.
Even though we were serving a lot of beverages, we decided to set-up a pitcher of lemon water so that the people who were sampling beer and wine would stay sober by the end of the evening. I put a “Wet Your Whiskers” tag on the glass pitcher that I bought at “Costco” a few years ago (I haven’t found a pitcher like this one since I purchased it a few years ago…and I really want another one)!!! The paper cups (purchased at “URM Cash & Carry”) were a last minute thought as well. I took a picture of Aaron’s face and printed out just the nose/mustache portion of the photo. Once the image was glued on to the cup, you could see how everyone looked like they had part of his face when they were drinking water. I saw this idea using different animal noses and thought it was hilarious!!! (See animal nose cups here.)
I set-up a cup with little pieces of paper and a pen so people could write down some “Words of Wisdom” for Aaron. My grandma let me borrow one of her decorative bird cages to use as a designated place to hold any Birthday cards and “Words of Wisdom”.
I even decorated the bathrooms with the left over mustaches that I didn’t know what to do with!!! If I had more time and money, I would have decorated more areas inside our home. However, the bathrooms were really the only place people went to when they were inside…so I guess it wasn’t a big deal…
Tortellini Appetizer Kabob
Northern Lights Cream Ale
Latah Creek Riesling
Northern Lights Summer Wheat Ale
Arbor Crest Chardonnay
Salad Kabob with a Sweet Poppyseed Dressing
Northern Lights Blueberry Ale
Townshend Huckleberry Blush
Chicken, Shrimp & Vegetable Kabob
Northern Lights Amber Ale
Walter’s Fruit Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Northern Lights Stellar Stout
Knipprath Au Chocolate Port
or LaV! Port
Notice the container of melting chocolate in the ice…chillaxing with the beer. All the food and local wines wer purchased either at “Costco” or “Yokes” (with the exception of the “Walter’s Fruit Ranch” wine and that was purchased at a farm in Greenbluff). The beer was from a local brewery in Spokane, Washington called “Northern Lights Brewery”. We sampled beer from the “Coeur d’Alene Brewing Company” as well, but then we realized that it was too far to drive the day before the party (over an hour drive away). The kabob skewers were a great find at “URM Cash & Carry”…and the clear dessert plates were purchased at “Walmart”. We only had one ice bucket for the party, so I decided to use a few drawers from an extra large bin to keep the beer and wine chilled.
[The "Best Mustache" Table Prize]
Aaron wanted to talk with each person that came to his party. And although this sounds like a simple task, it was really challenging…mostly because we had over 30 people at our house. So, we decided to leave one empty seat at each table (that gave him the space to gracefully move after each course was served). While Aaron was visiting with the seven people at a particular table, I put a gift bag on his chair and he awarded a prize for the “Best Mustache” among that group of people. I decided to put a few items in the gift bags that would go along with the “Mustache Theme”…three “chocolate mustache” lolly pops in a cellophane bag and a “Wooly Willy” game (both the chocolate mold and the games were found at http://www.Amazon.com). We also awarded one prize for the “Best of Show”. My mom (Diana Stanley) won the Grand Prize for sporting her “Bacon Mustache”…and Aaron and I took her out to dinner for all her efforts.
I am super excited that I finally received all the pictures from Aaron’s 30th birthday party from everyone that attended the celebration. So, now that I’m done divulging all the little details, I wanted to thank a few people that really helped out while I tried to pull this party together…in two weeks with a toddler.
First of all, a BIG thanks goes out to all thirty of our friends and family that humored me enough to arrive at the party wearing a mustache (it really made all the planning all worth it)!!! The McGarry’s and The Stem’s: thank you for driving hundreds of miles to celebrate with us…it was a special treat to have you here during Aaron’s birthday weekend. Grandma Jeanie: you get the “best grandma award” this year for helping me with the pom poms, centerpieces, balloons and miscellaneous other details that I am failing to remember right now…thanks for being one amazing grandma!!! Scott: thank you for letting us borrow the wonderful awnings to block the evening sun and for helping us get the tables from the church. Dave W.: thank you…thank you…thank you…for letting us borrow all the cozy chairs. Courtney P.: You are an amazing photographer…thanks for capturing this party for me from the eyes of a fellow party planner!!! I don’t know what I would have done without all your help serving the food and drinks…you are one talented friend. Grandma Jeanie, Holly, Alyson, Benjamin, Sarah and Scott: you guys are such troopers for slaving away in our kitchen for hours…all 400 kabobs were perfect!!! Shelley & Larry: Thanks for offering your assistance during the party…and for the offer to hang out in your back yard after the party. You guys are very sweet neighbors. Dale & Robbin W.: It was really hard deciding whether or not this party should be a “No Children Allowed” party. Since alcohol was being served, it made the decision obvious. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for watching Naomi for us before and during the party. It made my job of setting-up the party a TON easier!!!
Thank you all…from the bottom of my mustache!!!