My husband is 5 weeks younger than me. He doesn’t let me forget this fact. So this means that I turned 40 before he did. In fact, he isn’t really 40 quite yet. But because our milestone birthdays are so close together, we decided to throw a hum-dinger of a birthday party for friends and family.
We had a great time, and I hope it was memorable for those who came. But we did learn a few things while planning and executing this festive occasion. So if you decide to throw a hum-dinger of a party, please consider the following:
1. Choose a fun theme. I had no idea what to do, but I KNEW I did not want people dressing in black, bringing grave stones, and saying everything is down hill from here. I wanted to celebrate life: My life and my husband’s. So I chose to do a “Roast.” Not a sarcastic, bring ’em down, type roast. But a silly story, walk down memory lane, words of affirmation type roast. My husband and I asked certain people to “roast” the other; and we ended up with 7 people willing to be a part of this entertainment.
2. Keep your motivation in check. I wanted to be sure that God would be glorified through this experience. It’s hard to throw a party for yourself and not have feelings and thoughts of selfishness. So I asked the Lord to please bless our efforts and that if something was not pleasing to Him that He would not allow it, including the party itself. My husband and I have been so blessed through the years and I wanted to make sure that everyone who came would leave knowing that God is the reason we are who we are. Not knowing what the “roasters” would come out with was slightly scary, but I trusted them enough to do well.
3. Do invitations through the mail.I did invitations as a Facebook event and I guess it went ok, but I found out after the party that once someone declined the invitation, then they were totally taken out of the invitation pool. When one of my lovely friends decided that they would be able to come after she had declined, she was unable to find the invitation and thought that no one else was allowed to come to the party. And she didn’t come. That’s not acceptable in my book! So I’ll be sending invitations through snail mail and email next time.
4. Ask friends for help. Most of the time working together with others is just as much fun as the party. I did delegate the food to others. A friend of mine set it up to have Mexican food catered. I also asked three family members to make my husband’s favorite cake for dessert. There were a few people who specifically asked me what they could bring. I took them up on the offer and had them bring sodas for drinks. But I did not ask for help with decorating and I wish now that I had. I think it all turned out ok, but if we had had help then my husband and I wouldn’t have spent 8 hours decorating the room the day before the party.
5. Schedule people to help clean up. We ended up with about 4 people who stayed after the shindig to help clean up and we are SO appreciative! But next time we’ll be asking people ahead of time to help clean up. It took us about 1.5 hours to clean up. If we’d had even 2 more people, that time would have been shorter and we could have gotten home quicker.
6. Hire a babysitter to take care of the kids. We had a wonderful young lady who hung out with RB and Sweet Cheeks during the party. She made sure they were fed and that they were entertained. She did everything. And then, when the party was over, she agreed to go to the house and put the kids to bed for us while we cleaned up. This was wonderful because the kids were so tired.
7. Don’t be camera shy. I wanted to pull out all kinds of fun pictures of my husband and I over the years and I had a hard time! I have all of these wonderful pictures of places we went, but we aren’t IN the pictures! So from now on, I plan on making sure that one or both of us will be in most of the pictures we take when we go on adventures.
8. Don’t be camera shy. Yep. Again, but this time at the party. Ask a friend to be the photographer and give him free reign to take pictures. I sorta did this, but I didn’t think about taking pictures WITH people until the party was over; therefore many faces were not captured. One of the greatest things from my wedding was the point and shoot cameras I had in the reception room. We had pictures of all kinds of things, and the best pictures were taken by kids!
9. Mexican food is a great choice for a meal, just be sure that whoever picks up the food verifies that they received what was ordered. I received many complements about the food. This was a slam dunk!
10. Use forks to anchor balloons outside. They won’t fly away in the wind! And unless a rambunctious 5 year old pops the balloon, they should be safe.
A Few Tips Specifically for Roasting:
1. Have an MC. It seemed kinda awkward for my husband to be making all of the announcements, but it worked. During the roasting though, it would have been nice to have had an MC to drive the entertainment.
2. Have the “roastees” sit on the stage near where the “roasters” will be speaking.
3. Have tissues available to “roastees” who cry easily. (ME!)
4. Start at least a month earlier than the date of the event to set up the “roasters.” This way people from out of town have time to make a video or even plan to skype during the party.
So these are our lessons learned. We had a great time and I hope we helped make some memories for our kids, family and friends. I did ask a few of those who came what their favorite part of the party was and I heard: Good food! Great roasts! Beautiful decorations! and We enjoyed learning more about you. Now it could be that they are just being nice because they are my friends, but it was our plan to form a relaxing and fun-filled evening for those we love and to celebrate life at the same time. God is good and we wanted to be sure that the message of His goodness was proclaimed. I hope we did.