Thursday, August 23, 2018

Surprise Daddy-o! [Part 1]

Months and months ago (I think it was October, 2017 - yes, I like to plan in advance!), I started thinking about hosting a surprise party for my Dad's 50th birthday. His birthday isn't actually until September 4th, but we thought the best way to surprise him (and accommodate people coming from out of town) would be to host it a little bit early. So, we picked a date and we started working from there. We booked a hall, we started researching caterers and as everything started falling into place, I arranged our poetry magnets on the fridge to say this:
I put these two magnets together in December and then got to work on this fun surprise! Today, I will document everything that happened before the party. I will share all the planning details from the invites and the RSVPs to the decor in this first post. Next week, I will talk about the actual party in another post! I had this all written up as one big post, but friends, it was long! I mean, too long. So, I cut in the most logical way I could think of - the planning and the actual party. Let's get to it!

Once we chose a date, I crafted up this invitation. I browsed through some examples online, then used my favorite parts of things I'd seen online to create this invite! I went back and forth over whether to send the invite by e-mail or by snail mail, but e-mail won out for cost & time sake! My Mom & I composed a guest list, then I contacted my uncles for help getting everyone's e-mail. And they rallied for me! They were great at getting everyone's e-mails and getting the invite moving around!

For privacy sake, I blocked out some information on the invitation, but I was careful to include everything guests need before the party on the invite. When we sent out the invitations, we mentioned that guests can be in touch if they have any questions & provided the info necessary to reach us.

When composing the guest list, things got big really fast. My Dad comes from a family of four boys, with a pretty big extended family. We went through his family first then added some close friends and before we knew it we were looking at hosting 80 people! Wild! It was overwhelming sometimes, but it was so worth it! It was the most perfect grouping of people!

We sent out the invite above to everyone, as well as a link for them to submit their RSVP form. This is what the RSVP form looked like:
I used Google forms to track RSVP's. So, once someone filled out the form, my spreadsheet would track it all and total everything for me. This made it super easy to compile food intolerances or look at everyone's song recommendation. I'm not experienced using Google forms but I wouldn't have done it any other way. It was so easy to manage and quick to reference whenever I needed.

We decided to have a local Italian place cater the party - so we had a buffet of lasagnas, tortellini, Italian Sausages, crudités, cold cuts & salad. We homemade a separate option for people with food sensitivities that was not included in the buffet. We kept the gluten free/dairy free option in the kitchen so to make sure everyone who needed got, and to not cross-contaminate.

The invites and the food orders were done 2-3 months before the party, but other details, like decor came together closer to the day. Several weeks before, I saw these beautiful rustic wood frames on Pinterest to string pictures in and I knew they would make such a perfect touch at the party. I asked my uncle for help and he delivered! Aren't these frames gorgeous!? He was going to go out and get new wood, but I loved their recycled deck wood so much, we opted to use those instead! The recycled wood gave the frames a little bit of a rougher look, but with some string lights hung, they were rustic perfection!

Otherwise, we kept the decor pretty straight forward. We hung little metallic spirals from the ceiling, we topped the tables with some confetti and we used helium balloons as our center pieces. Picking the color scheme was tough. my Dad's favorite color is green, so initially we had green everything in our cart but it looked a little nuts! We decided to go with a more subtle black, gold & silver theme. We used black table clothes, and decorated with gold and silver accents.

I had lots of help on the day of the actual event - we had so many hands on deck to put this part together and I was so grateful! Several times I looked at my to-do list for the party and felt way overwhelmed. But on the day of, everything went smoothly because I had so much help! At one point, I told my cousin and his friends I needed 70 balloons inflated and one of them said "I can do it no problem, my Mom told me I'm full of hot air." And what's a girl to say to that? They blew up 70 balloons in less than 10 minutes. I'm telling you they were rockstars! Everyone was such a big help and so dedicated to getting the room ready, it felt easy! It was seamless and quick!

Today was lots of chatter with a few pictures squeezed in, but part 2 is much heavier in the picture department! I can't wait to share more from this fun night! Stay tuned!


  1. You are SUCH an organized party planner! From the photos, everything looks really awesome. Cannot wait to hear more about the night.
    I've also never tried out Google Forms before- definitely going to look into that now.

    1. Thank you SO much! It was a fun night! I haven't explored other uses for Google forms but it seems really versatile & definitely so user friendly!