This September is a milestone birthday here on the Doggietrail. The big 3Oh is just cause to pull out all the stops and throw a serious party. Here’s how you can do this.
1. Pig roast – The first piece of the party puzzle is the type of party. Having a backyard party gives you lots of staging and setup time. It also doesn’t restrict the time limit of the party. Going to a bar or restaurant would have a four hour max party time and a strict need for headcount.
The catering company we hired not only came with on site roasted pig, but with all of the fixins. They brought their own tent, tables, serving items… not to mention salads, desserts and spiked watermelon. They were self-sufficient and needed nothing from me. This frees up a lot of party planning time.
2. Beer and beer – Not only do most guys like beer, but there is a massive surge in craft beers out there. Have a craft beer tasting table to celebrate the change from frat keg party to mature tasting party. Ask your guests to bring their favorite craft beer for everyone to “taste”. Remind them to have it ready to drink for the tasting. That means cold, if it needs to be cold or room temp, if it needs to be room temp. Prepare voting ballots for guests to pick their favorite. Have a prize for the most loved and most hated brew brought.
Have a cheaper old standby ready for your guests. Because Brett isn’t THAT old, we also had a keg… and only because we had a real tap and didn’t need to use that horrid hand pump torture device.
3. Personalize – In a world of Pintrest overload it’s easy to get caught up in recreating someone else’s party. Don’t just copy the catalog, make it personal. Creating custom cup wraps are a simple way to wow your guest of honor and the guests at the same time. I was able to hit the beer theme and Brett’s love for the Simpsons with the Duff Beer solo cup wraps. We also personalized the water bottles, tasting cups, chinese to go boxes and candy bar bags.
4. Favors – Ok, so I’m not a fan of favors you can’t use, so I tend to focus on things you can eat later. A candy bar is a great way to continue to personalize the birthday boy’s tastes, cover a bit of dessert, and have something for guests to take home! I was shocked at how well received the candy bar was as well as how much fun it was to put together. We’ll circle back to this in another post.
5. Photo booth – There should be a photo booth at ever party. There. I said it. There are a gazillion ways to set up a photo booth. From very simple iPad apps to custom-built rigs. Pick your level of DIY and just do it. It was by far the most talked about thing at the party and it did not cost me very much to set up. Gather hats, glasses, Halloween wigs, etc. You’ll be surprised how much prop-like junk you have around the house. Also make some cutout props to continue your party theme.
6. Decorate – This is the tricky one since everyone has their own style. I don’t like to spend a lot of money on decorations since they will only be for one day. I try to reuse what I have around the house. An easy way to decorate is to print out or create signs that match your theme and put them in your existing picture frames. Our beer silliness continued all the way into the bathroom.
There can never be enough ambient lighting once it starts getting darker and you want your guests to party well into the night with you. Mix a number of solar lights, tea lights, tiki torches, candles, spot lights, and string lights.
7. Have fun – Plan activities and make sure there is enough comfortable seating areas. We setup darts outside and had a fire with a build your own s’mores table. Make sure you get out there and enjoy your company and a s’more or two.