Wow. I mean I don’t even know where to start. First of all, if you are reading this without watching the video first, pause, scroll up, and press play. I promise you will not regret it (also, don’t forget to subscribe)! As beautiful as these pictures are and show some really cool details, the video really gives a better idea of the scope of this party as well as some background to WHY it was thrown in the first place!!
Also let me clarify…your “golden birthday” is when you turn the age of your birthday date. So Alec turning 26 on May 26th meant it was his golden birthday, contrary to the other “golden birthday” when you turn 50 lol.
Let me first and foremost give a major THANK YOU to Alec’s mom and to everyone else who was there right as I got Alec out of the house to set everything up in three hours!! Three hours! I was so blown away at how they brought all my ideas to life down to every little last detail! I’m going to break it all down for you and fill you in on how I was able to pull off this insane party/ trip!
- Don’t invite too early. I was soooo paranoid the minute I made the facebook invite live (about a month beforehand) because it wasn’t just a surprise party but a surprise trip to California and I just knew that someone was going to say like “are you excited to visit?” or “hope I get to see you when you’re down!” BUT nobody said anything (that I know of lol) so good job, friends 👏🏼 But just be really sure to make sure everyone is c r y s t a l clear on the fact that it is a SECRET SURPRISE party.
- Pick a focal point. We really put a ton of attention on the dessert table as well as the bar. I really wanted these to be filled up and be super cool. I found the signs on Etsy (I’ll link everything below) and found pretty much everything else on Amazon! The huge difference though were those AMAZING cookies from Sugared and Iced (they actually won a food network cookie challenge so….they’re legit). Not only were they incredibly detailed but they tasted soooo good too! We also ordered some basic cupcakes from the store and decorated them ourselves with candy pearls and edible gold stars. As far as the candy goes, we tried to stay with the gold theme so we opted for white and gold sixlets from Party City, white and gold gumballs, almond Hershey kisses and rolos (complete with personalized stickers on the bottom that ready things like “doll face” and “old sport”), almond roca, gold rock candy sticks, and gold mango, clear pineapple, and dark cherry gummy bears. On the drink table we also had candy cigarette boxes and chocolate cigars.
- The devil is in the details. What does that saying even mean? It sounds like a bad thing but I mean it in a good way…One of my favorite things from this party was all the little details and personalization we included. I mean for one thing, the cookies had “Alec” and “26” on them. So cool. But the other show stopper were those MnM’s!! Weren’t those crazy?! We custom ordered them from their website and they turned out incredible and people were freaking out that they had his face on them. We also had custom water bottle labels created and I handmade and traveled with the “26” sign made up of photos of Alec from a baby until now. We also had a really cool snapchat filter made but I kind of forgot to tell people about it…oops. Also, balloons are a major way to add a lot of decoration and pizzazz to fill a space. We used cheap little pearls, plastic diamonds, fabric, and garland to fill up the extra space and backgrounds.
- Have something to do. We have thrown a number of parties in our day and it’s usually a bunch of people eating (we had this party catered and it made the biggest difference in the world not having to worry about preparing food for 50 people), drinking, mingling, and photo-boothing (photo booths are a MUST at a party, seriously, trust me), but we went above and beyond and rented blackjack and roulette tables with casino workers for the party. Not only that, but the winners also got amazing prizes like Angel’s tickets, nice alcohol, electronics, etc. My good friend’s fiancé also offered to DJ the party for us which was just next level. It made it go from a party to a parrrrrty.
- Also, if it works for your plans, I think themed parties are WAY easier to plan and decorate for. Also, people love to dress up! I mean, when else can they really do that?? Whether it is Gatsby themed, luau, fiesta, Disney, or whatever, try to pick a theme to help with your planning! Also, Amazon and Etsy are your best friends.
- As far as actually keeping it a surprise from Alec, it was mostly on my end just trying not to say anything which was REALLY hard. I was planning so much and devoting so much time to this, it’s all I wanted to talk about but couldn’t say a word to him. But I also had to be careful not to go overboard with leading him astray either saying things like “You’re really going to like your gifts this year. I’ve been keeping track of things you wanted”. But too much of that gets suspicious. I also took a picture of the neighborhood where the party was at and marked where I wanted people to park so Alec wouldn’t see a bunch of cars when we pulled up. Then you have to come up with a convincing story, as you can see in my video, to actually get them to the party. He said that he honestly had no clue anything was up until the very last minute (oops, you’ll see 🤦🏼♀️). His sister helped just by suggesting little things the day of like “oh let’s watch this movie tonight” or I was like “we should do a birthday hot tub tonight”. I mean, you can only do so much, but I really can’t believe we pulled something this huge off.
SO there you have it! Please feel free to ask me any questions or let me know if I forgot about a major detail in surprise party planning because there is A LOT that goes into it (including stress and $$$, lol). But it is so so rewarding to walk through that door and see the smiles and feel really accomplished with all the time and energy you put into it. Happy planning!
(Here’s a look back at Alec’s 25th fiesta party from last year)
What we bought:
My mother in law found all the old glassware and decanters at places like Savers or Goodwill! She also made the boxes on the bar table! The cake stands and photo booth backdrop were from my bridal shower!
Decanter Tags (I loved these!)