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 ~