The only picture I have of (only) myself for the evening. Thanks, Mom!
Well, it’s about time I share some details about this birthday party that I’ve been talking about for months now, huh? I’m going to break it down into four posts: invitations and guest list, alcohol (that’s right, it gets a whole category to itself), party details, and costs.
Why am I documenting this party in such detail? Well there are a few reasons for that (1) I feel like I’ve been a huge tease about this and for that I apologize, (2) so that I can learn something from my experience, (3) so that somebody else might be able to learn something from it, and (4) so I can google it later to see exactly what I did. Also, for the record, the reason that I do so much detailed planning before (and after) a party is that when I actually do execute these parties, it seems simple.
The theme for my 25th birthday party was a late night boozy brunch. I rented my favorite brunch venue in Philadelphia, Cafe Lift – a BYOB restaurant that holds approximately 65 people. Also, I found a DJ for the occasion. 🙂
Then I started making the birthday party list, in Excel, of course. I made a preliminary list of all of the people that I usually hang out with, then scrolled through my cell phone, and then I looked down my gchat. I did a final quick glance over Facebook, but that probably wasn’t my best idea, it made things far more complicated in my brain.
At the end of the day I had a list of my 158 closest friends and family (including their other halves) – which can essentially be separated into church choir, co-workers, college, resident assistants, and friends from home. Yes, that number sounds crazy, but 73 of them lived out of state, which leaves me with 85. That being said, come the day of the party I looked around and I felt so honored and blessed and loved by everybody who had made it in to visit me from out of state, in a snowstorm, – people from NYC, New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana, Texas, and a bunch from towns over an hour outside of PA.
I decided to email the invitations to everybody so that I would have a more direct line of communication with everyone. I was shocked to find out how many of my friends email addresses I didn’t have, so that was an adventure in itself. Also, I made the executive decision to email groups of people together so that people knew who else was invited to the party that they would know.Here’s the invitation I created.
I tried to keep it simple and I tried to figure out what questions people were going to ask before it came up. A big one at my parties is dress code, I don’t know when it started – probably at the murder mystery parties, but people always think they’re supposed to dress a certain way – I should probably take advantage of this at some point, but this time I didn’t. I ended up deciding on Smart Casual. Mainly because – just look presentable and jeans are totally fine, but if you want to wear a dress with me that’s totally legit too, but don’t forget it’s going to be cold because it’s January in Philadelphia – was too long. I also liked how in the end it ended up being $25 on the 25th of January for my 25th birthday. I also asked for homemade cards, because you’re allowed to do that on your birthday.
As for the RSVP situation, I really really needed that number, so I was pretty much a woman on a mission about it. I emailed everybody a week before to remind them that I needed them to RSVP in a week. Then I texted/called/IM-ed/and g-chatted everyone I could think of on the 10th.
So you know how my life is a little bit… out of the ordinary? Always in a different state, never quite sure when I’m going to be anywhere. Well, there’s a bunch of my friends that are the same way (and I love them for it and wouldn’t have it any other way). My two favorite, “I’m not sure if I can come yet” reasons were – (a) I’m not sure what day I’m flying back from Chile yet, and (b) she doesn’t have a visa to the country yet so she’s not sure she’s going to be here.
A few days before the party I sent out an email to everybody who had RSVP-ed yes with every detail they ever could have wanted divided into the following categories: the basics, the food and drink, the atmosphere, the dress code, the payment, and what to bring. I also inserted this nifty pie chart that I created.
I figured it would grab people’s attention. And it did. I got text messages of everybody asking which group they were in if it overlapped.
So, I’m sure you’re asking yourself at this point, but I thought the venue only held approximately 65? Well, at the end of the day, we ended up with 70 people total so it all worked out just fine. Although, I admit there were a few moments when I was a little bit nervous. And nervous about where all of these people were going to stay.
What an adventure. Stay tuned for the next post about, so, how much alcohol exactly do you bring for 70 people?