Mother’s 90th Birthday Celebration, part one

As many of you know, I tackled the challenge of planning a 90th Birthday Party for Mother, rather hesitantly.  Mother lives in California; I live in Pennsylvania.  How on earth could I possibly do this?  I procrastinated, I hemmed and hawed around and I had no idea what I was going to do!

I finally called Mother and told her I was going to give her a party and all I needed from her was a list of guests, keep it minimal and don’t include everybody she had ever known or ever wished she had known!  Mother, being Mother, wanted to know all the details.  I told her it was none of her business, all she needed to know was there was going to be a party!!

. . . and the party plans started!

  • First of all, I want to emphasize that I could not have done this without my son, Blaine and his wife, Elaine. They are the perfect “Party Planners!”  I asked for a little help, and I ended up helping them!  They picked up the ball and ran with it!

We needed a place to have this party, and Blaine suggested the complex that Mother and Paul had moved to last spring.  Bingo!  and they would even cater it!  Place reserved and Meal plans in place.  Step one complete.

Next step was the invitation.  I looked online for various samples so I could order one and nothing I found quite fit with what I had in mind.  I finally decided I would create my own with my own theme. . . Mother!

This was easy to create on my Mac.  This picture of my mother was taken next to a pond when she was in Junior High School and I thought the picture would be beautiful on the front of the invitation.  Then came the chore of printing them.  The price for having them printed was astronomical, so I decided to print the invitations myself.  Might as well have had them printed!  By the time I bought ink, card stock and more ink the cost was pretty well up there!  I did save since my costs included envelopes and enclosures, too, which a printing company would not have included.

But after a careful review of printing them myself vs having them printed, would I do it again?  Yup, in a New York minute!  I enjoyed every minute of the creation process and the satisfaction of knowing I had done it myself.

  • Total invitations sent out = 54
  • Total responses received = 31
  • Total people attending = 43
  • Actual people attending = 36

With the invitations printed, folded, RSVP cards, SASE and sheet of stationary for “Memories of Catherine” enclosed in each envelope, they were ready to mail.  Jim found stamps that said “CELEBRATE” at the post office and  bought them.  Only problem was they needed extra postage due to the size and weight of each one!

Invitations were sent and it was time to start on a Memory Book for Mother.  I put each one I received in a mylar page and those that were e-mailed to me were printed on the same stationary and enclosed in a mylar sleeve.  In some cases, if I had a picture of the sender and the honoree, I printed it and put it on the page.

The Memory Book was a work in progress since I couldn’t do anything until I got something to put into the book and I had decided a good icebreaker would be a set of trivia cards with multiple choice questions about my mother.  On each one I put a picture of Mother in some stage of her life.  I made ten sets of 25 cards so I could set them on each table for an icebreaker.

The last little detail to iron out was a guest book.  The only guest books I could find were for weddings, so I decided to make my own.  I found a litle birthday photo album the size of a guest book and decorated it up  with scrapbooking stickers, etc.  I did end up gluing each invidual letter on since, as you can see, the letters did not stick very well.  This was the cover.

Meanwhile on the other coast, Blaine and Elaine kept coming up with ideas for decorations, the cake, and party favors.  Since Mother was born and raised in Hawaii, we decided the theme of the birthday party would be, naturally, Hawaiian!  Blaine and Elaine had ordered little cardboard cake wedges that fit together to make a cake.  Each one had a lid and in it we would place one little pack of Macadamia Nuts and three chocolate dipped shortbread cookies from  Big Island Candies. They would be nestled in a bed of colorful confetti with 2 balloons coming out of the middle of each “cake.”  In addition, Elaine had a lead on a cake from Kings Hawaiian Bakery, so they went down there to have a piece of it and ultimately ordered it.

The only idea they had that didn’t work out was for the candles. Elaine had found a place to order a musical birthday candle that opens up to reveal 8 lit birthday candles that spin while playing “Happy Birthday!” Only problem was that the candle sometimes exploded and the candle was recalled! That would have added another dimension to the party!  We decided to put 3 candles, one for each 30 years, on the cake instead.  That would work!

Bags packed, books, trivia cards and extra supplies shipped ahead, we were ready to head for  California and start the party!

Follow it on the next blog later on this week ~

Mother’s 90th Birthday Celebration, part two.


11 thoughts on “Mother’s 90th Birthday Celebration, part one

  1. Again, great job and this surely outlines all the many details you had to cope with in pulling off such a wonderful party. You have amazing kids…..hugs cherrie

  2. i started following your story September of 2010 in planning my Mom’s 90 birthday party that will be held on June 18. I live in New York and my Mom is in Michigan. Your part one and two were a great inspiration to me and a confidence builder that I could do this., longdistance. i am in the down stretch now, Thanks for posting this online for our inspiration. Patricia

  3. I would love to have some ideas about the “Memories of Katherine” that you sent out with the invitation. I am planning my dad’s 90th and can’t find anything to help me get started with that. Your party looked like a great hit with your mom. I hope ours is as successful.

    • I simply sent a self addressed stamped envelope with a sheet of nice stationery with each invitation. On each I had a little note to please share a favorite memory they had of Mother. From some I got several paragraphs, several sent pictures attached with a little story and one did a page similiar to a scrapbooking page. It was a unique book, to say the least. Enjoy what you do, and it will just fall into place. No matter what it is, your father will enjoy being the center of attention! My mother did!

      • Linda, thank you for your encouragement. I am enjoying this so much and am so thankful I he is here for us to celebrate with. Can you give me some joggers about the trivia cards you made? Did you print these yourself? Did your questions relate to photos you had on hand?

  4. Thanks , I’ve recently been looking for info approximately this topic for ages and yours is the best I’ve found out till now.
    However, what about the conclusion? Are you positive concerning the supply?

  5. I’m glad I found your blog. I’m beginning to plan my Mother’s 90th birthday party for January, 2016. Some of your ideas are very good. Thanks for the info.

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