Here's a thing you may not know about me: I hate surprises. Not a fan. Cannot handle not knowing things. Therefore it stands to reason that surprise parties are NOT a thing I consider to be particularly fun - I don't even like attending them for other people because I get so terrified that I'm going to ruin the surprise.
So it's a little ironic that this past weekend… I THREW RAMI A SURPRISE PARTY FOR HIS 30th BIRTHDAY!!!
You guys. He was TOTALLY SURPRISED. And it was AMAZING!!!!
If you can believe it, I started planning this way back in October (I got the idea on the way to Hawaii and couldn't get it out of my mind the whole trip)! I don't know what possessed me to do a surprise party instead of a party that we planned together - maybe just so I could show him how much I love him? (I know, so cheesy.) And in the end it all went off without a hitch!
Here's how it went down: On Saturday I lied and told R I was going to a sample sale and spent the day of the party decorating the backyard and prepping the food. Then I raced back home, got a blowdry, got dressed, and we set off for "my mom's birthday party." PERFECT DIVERSION. My mom's birthday in real life was the day after his party so it was completely normal that we would be going to her house for a shindig.
On the way over, I furtively texted my mom when we got off the freeway so she knew to gather the crowd in the kitchen. We walked in through the garage, and I had closed the door that led from the garage hallway to the kitchen. I was shaking like a leaf when R opened the door... as soon as everyone screamed "SURPRISE!" I almost passed out from relief!
I'm a nut, what can I say?
Behind us are 40 of our friends!
He looks surprised, doesn't he!? People were taking bets - everyone thought he'd cry, me included - but he didn't! He just started cracking jokes immediately :)
Here are some fun party details!
I was a nervous wreck from the moment I sent out the invitations. I chose to do a Paperless Post and turned off the email notifications when someone replies so there was no chance of him accidentally reading my email. How cute was R as a baby?!
As for food... Ram's favorite food is Mexican so how could I not?! For appetizers, I set out huge bowls of tortilla chips with guacamole and different kinds of salsa, pita chips with hummus, spinach artichoke dip and a massive veggie tray, a huge kale caesar salad, and chicken & beef taquitos. (You KNOW I'm furious with myself for not taking pictures. SO UNLIKE ME.) All of that stuff was picked up from Costco and Trader Joe's - no need to reinvent the wheel. I also convinced my beloved housekeep Marcely to make her famous red beans and rice - major crowd pleasers!
But for the MAIN EVENT... well, I couldn't help myself. I hired Ricky's Fish Tacos to set up a grill in the backyard, and he made THE MOST delicious tacos I've ever tasted in my life!!!
The man was frying fresh fish and shrimp in front of us while simultaneously grilling fresh tortillas - not to mention the VATS of cabbage, pico de gallo, and different sauces he brought so we could set up a build-your-own-taco station. Every single person could not stop talking about how good they were - we ate until we were STUFFED.
As for dessert... we had a freaking BUFFET of cakes. R's mom made two ice cream pies, plus we had a cheesecake AND the main event, a chocolate peanut butter cake from my favorite bakery Susiecakes. Good thing there was also fruit salad... you know, for balance :)
Let's talk about decor for a sec. Ya'll know I cannot throw a party without DOING IT UP. I hung "30!" streamers all over the place and sprinkled "30!" confetti on all the tables. I used plain white tablecloths and burlap runners, with tiny vases full of orange peonies and turquoise lanterns with little votive candles on each table. Simple and pretty!
I found this amazing banner printable and made a whole bunch of phrases, including "Cheers!" for the bar, "Sweets" for the dessert table, "Tacos" for the, uh, taco bar, obviously :) and of course, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAMI!" Here are a few pictures of the banners...
I cannot tell a lie, my favorite one was "Cheers!" for the bar!
Speaking of the bar, I always get asked about how much alcohol to buy for things like this, but I'm the worst at predicting how much people are going to drink :( For this party, for about 40 people, we bought three cases of beer, 6 sodas and two huge bottles of tequila and Grey Goose. I also set out club soda and a pitcher of cranberry juice to use as a mixer, and filled my two fancy drink dispensers with iced tea and margaritas. In the end, we were left with 1.5 cases of beer, 2/3 of the tequila, and about 50% of the vodka... but we ran out of margaritas in the middle of the party and my mom raced out to get more! #embarrassing
Some fun party pics...
By the way - I could NOT have done pulled it off without the dream team over here - my mom and Ram's mom. They handled things like BOSSES :) My advice to you if you're throwing a party for this many people... bribe a friend to help you! I couldn't have done it alone... this party was a lot of fun, but a lot of work!
I wish I had more pictures/better pictures, but honestly, I was having too much fun to play photographer all night. All I can say is, the surprise was perfect and we had an amazing night with all of our wonderful friends.
Not to mention, even more celebrations are still to come - R's REAL 30th birthday is tomorrow, and we are heading to New York for the weekend!!!