We wanted to do something special for my brother Gavin for his 30th birthday this year, and boy did we ever…we managed to throw a SURPRISE party for 25 people in about 3 days and with almost no stress. (The only stress being we planned it around his flight arrival which ended up being 3 hours late!) But have no fear…here at 3P we had snacks, drinks, favors to be given, party music playing (which is really important to set the mood!), dinner ready, and everyone had a great time.
The look of surprise on Gavin’s face when he opened the door to all these people who love him yelling “SURPRISE”…was priceless. We had the best time, and we were able to use some 3P event basics to put it all together without spending a lot of money, or creating too much chaos.
3P Questions to ask to simplify and professionally plan any party:
- Theme? What are your guest of honor’s likes and interests, as personalizing the party is key. Gavin is a Canadian Rocky Mountain Adventure Guide so an adventure theme was a shoe-in.
- Budget? Your budget is important to determine right away so you can factor in everything else. Ours was $300 and we came in under that as we used food items we had on hand, a lot of our own decor, and because we opted not to have invitations made.
- How many people are attending? 25–30 were invited to our party.
- Invites? Determine the best and most effective way to secure your guests. Once we got our guest list together we sent all the necessary emails and made the needed phone calls to confirm who could make it. That helped us with our menu planning.
- What is the location/venue and times? We opted to host the party at home.
- Menu? We chose an easy, warm meal of hot beef dip sandwiches that was affordable, simple to make, and fed the whole party! We also had plenty of appetizers, as we knew our guests would be waiting as he arrived. All of Gavin’s favorites were served.
- Cake? We were able to custom order a cake with an edible photo of Gavin printed right on it, and the bakery at Albertsons had it ready the next morning! It only cost us $34.00 for a delicious marble cake with custard filling for 30 people. Tying this into your decor and theme enhances both elements. Gavin loved his cake so much he didn’t want to cut it.
- Decor? We were able to repurpose our Christmas Table centerpiece by swapping out the Christmas bulbs in our candle sticks for rustic pinecones. And our deer candlesticks and greenery was a perfect fit. Since it was still Christmas time, we made our Christmas decor work with our theme.
– We were able to order custom printed posters that fit our theme from our local FastSigns, who does a great job and turns things around quickly and affordably. This is an effective way to put a professional touch on a home party. And to drive home your theme. Visit the FastSigns website HERE.
– Balloons were ordered in animal prints and nature colors to add some height and dimension to the stations we created around the house for snacks, drinks, and dinner. Big Score: US Party Store has a package of 24 assorted balloons for $24! We simply picked these up the day of the party and they were ready to go in bouquets. 3P tip: Remember to request gel to keep balloons longer lasting, and take in your own weights to save money. (We keep ours in our Birthday Box).
– We picked up oversized paper clips on a stand from the 99 Cent Store and used them as photo-holders (This gave pictures height and dimension) that we placed all over the house with pictures of Gavin now, and as a child. It got everyone laughing and once again personalized our party.
– With our rustic/adventure theme we were able to pull items from all over the house like globes, binoculars, ski goggles, etc to use as décor that didn’t cost us a penny.
- Favors? Rather then individually bagging or wrapping favors, we used rustic baskets to hold individual favors that people could help themselves to. Keeping to theme…we chose affordable favors like bags of gummy bears, Goldfish and animal crackers, as well as beef jerky. We then used party favors such as mini compasses, magnifying glasses, army dog tags, etc. as table scatter.
We even had mini versions of the posters we had printed to scatter throughout that house, AND they doubled as thank you notes for Gavin to give everyone after the party. We had SUCH a fantastic time, and with putting it all together in under 72 hours…it couldn’t have been a bigger success. More importantly, our friends, family, and Gavin spent quality time together. Since then, we’ve had requests to help with a Sweet 16 Birthday Party, as well as 1st Birthday Party, so stay tuned for more as we help 3P readers.
Do you have any upcoming parties that you need help with? We’d love to help and answer any questions that you have! Email us: (firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com) or leave us a comment and we’ll get to work to make sure you throw the happiest birthday party ever!