Friday, February 18, 2011

I threw another huge party!!!

So as if planning a wedding for 190 guests at a huge venue with lots of different vendors and aspects to deal with wasn't enough...I decided to throw a mini version of a wedding just 9 months later!

This past February 9th my daughter, Little Miss turned 16.  And just like getting married, turning 16 is a *BIG* deal...so of course we wanted to do something spectacular for her.  Alas, I came up with an idea to throw her a surprise Sweet 16 party with dinner, desserts, a DJ/dancing and a mock faux-to booth to entertain her.  It was quite a feat that took over two months of planning, shopping and conniving since we had to enlist a lot of help to pull off the surprise.  And of course, just like with a wedding, it wasn't easy either! :(  We ended up having a few hiccups that seriously stressed me out.

Here is the deets and the photos and video to show all that happened:

1)  Come up with the guest list.  I enlisted 5 of her best friends to create a guest list which ended up with 100 people on it:  17 family members and 83 friends.  Funny thing was, with 15/16 year old girls, the guest list ended up with over twice as many girls as boys.  In the end, we had about 55 people actually able to make it. 

Here are some of her friends from the night of the party:

The theme colors were black and white with touches of silver.

That crazy lady on the right is me with some of my daughter's besties who helped me pull off the surprise by coming up with a guest list and passing out invitations.

Some of the food we had set out.  We kept it to easy finger foods for teens. 

2)  Pick a date.  I wanted to throw the party the weekend before her actual birthday (which fell on Wednesday) so that she wouldn't be expecting anything.  I picked Friday the 4th because it turned out that was a minimum day and the last day of finals for the semester.  What a great way to celebrate ending your finals - a big party!  Unfortunately, I didn't think about the fact that several of her best friends are cheerleaders and athletes and Friday nights mean games for high school students.  So we probably would have had closer to 70 or 80 people show up if we would have held the party on Saturday.  :(  Oh well, live and learn.

3)  Pick a venue.  I called tons of recreation centers, club houses, even hotels to find a location big enough to hold a DJ, food, tables and about 70 people.  Most of them were either thousands of dollars (way out of our budget which was about $1500) or they had hugely ridiculous limitations due to the fact that it was a 'teen' party.  For example, one place told us we had to pay an extra $200 in security for the teenagers and we could only rent the place from 6 to 10 pm which included set up AND clean up time!  That's just silly.

We thought we had the perfect place when we found a clubhouse that was the perfect set up in a reasonably close neighboring town for only $100!  We had a friend who lived in the area and could rent the club house for us.  Due to stupid miscommunication on the part of the clubhouse representatives, the day we went down to reserve the room, they told me they had just rented it to someone else!  I was livid.  And desparate.  Then suddenly Mr Fix It suggested I look into the YMCA. 

We ended up booking a room they had there which was going to cost $540 for the night.  It had some downside:  1)  every single guest would need to bring a signed waiver from their parents (or self) to get into the party  2)  we had to have all of the food outside on a lawn/patio area instead of in the acutal room because it was an exercise/fitness room that they didn't allow food in.

It wasn't perfect, but it was somewhat close and it was somewhat affordable and it was better than all of the other options.

I booked it mid-December.  Cut to February 1st...3 days before the party.  I received a phone call from the YMCA profusely apologizing that they couldn't allow us to have the party there that night because they received a notice from the electric company that their power was being shut off that evening to have repairs done. 

Needless to say, I spent a huge amount of time on the phone with the YMCA and the electric company trying to think of other options but it was pointless.  I called Mr Fix It crying since we had mailed out 100 of these little pretty invitations designed by my sister:



Note they all have the YMCA address on them.  UGH!

But suddenly it came to me...I had a friend who lived in an apartment complex that had a clubhouse.  I called the apartment complex and by the grace of God they had an opening for Friday so I called my friend and asked her if she would reserve it for me and she met me there the next day.  In the end, it all worked out even better than we hoped because the location we ended up at gave us a cheaper rate, longer usage time, a mini bar area for the food - inside, better furniture, a patio area, a location for the photobooth and a great big room to dance and eat in!

So we took this place which was located like 5 minutes from the kid's school:
With this room we rented:


 And turned it into this:

Video first, then pics:


Cupcake table

My sister made all those little cupcake toppers (she sells them on Etsy by the way)

This picture doesn't do the toppers justice because they are actually super bright and colorful in real life.

The DJ set up right in front of the fireplace.  You can see the pink and black tablecloths and little balloon and decor centerpieces we used on the right. 

My sis made the signs that read Happy Birthday Jordan and Sweet Sixteen.

There was plenty of room for us to move furniture around and all the tables, chairs, and sofas were included in the rental fee.  We just rearranged them the way we needed to make a dance floor.

I bought bunches of decorations from a web site called Windy City Novelties...great stuff! 
Highly recommend.

We put silver fedoras and metallic pink beaded necklaces all around the tables for the kids to take home as favors and wear around.  Again, from Windy City...super inexpensive!

Here you ca see the set up of the tables, cupcake table and mini-bar food area.


The invitations came in an envelope with this graphic on the front...it had the guest's name in pink across the top left corner area.  Loved it!



 The back of the invitation envelope had more graphics like this one that let the guests know there'd be a DJ, dancing and food!



And of course, we pulled off the super fun surprise part:


Did you notice on the left side of the video those flashing balloons?  Yeah, how cool are those?!?  Here's a clip of them in the room.  We had them all over:


Again, I got these from Windy City Novelties and rented a helium tank from a local party supply store.  They were a huge hit.  If you choose to try them, I suggest getting an extra pack or so from how many you'll need as there were a couple that were defective or didn't work :(

Mr Fix It ran around all night with a camera taking photos and helping run the photobooth area.  Here's some of the great shots he got:

My sis acting all gangsta...or tryin' to

Kids in the photobooth

Hangin' with guests

Little Miss as she walks in for the big SURPRISE!!!

Being silly with 2 of the only 7 boys that were there that night :)

Girls gettin' groovy on the dance floor!

Mr Fix It acting like he doesn't enjoy himself hangin' with Little Miss' friends.  We truly love her group of girlfriends...they are really good girls and so fun to be around!

Every teen likes to get a piggy back ride!

The back patio area of the clubhouse...it overlooked the pool and the kids could hang out there and get some fresh air after tearin' it up on the dance floor.

And shawty got low, low, low, low....

I love this one because I have no idea what I am doing and Little Miss has that typical 'You're an idiot' teen look on her face.  :)

Such a great shot of her being surprised.

And even more dancing!  My little one is just like me...she could dance all night regardless of what everyone else is doing.  I love it.

Ok, this one is kinda scary...those are 2 of her best girlfriends in the background.

Little Miss and her dad with the photobooth props.




You can't tell from this photo but those dreadlocks actually light up and flash! 



The pretty birthday girl


Toasting with cupcakes


This was a cute shot of my daughter with her dad's whole side of the family that was there.

So all in all, we had a great time.  She was totally surprised, we ate good food, danced all night, got silly and after cleaning up, I collapsed in bed exhausted! 

Share Time:  Have any of you thrown any other huge parties since or before your wedding took place? 

3 comments:

Patience said...

Party looks like it was a success. I am so glad she was surprised and she has this day to remember forever.

Bicoastal Bride said...

Wow! What a lot of drama, but I'm so glad you worked it out! I totally hope that I can do this for my own daughter someday. What an awesome surprise! I'm coordinating two weddings this year, but no big parties of my own yet since the wedding.

Ghenet said...

You did such a great job! The party looked like a blast. :)

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