Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A 50s Surprise Party

A couple years ago our parents turned fifty years old and their birthdays are only a week apart so we decided to throw them a surprise party. Since they were born in the 1950s and my mom loves the music and pop culture from that decade, we thought it would be a great theme for their birthday party. 
My parent’s birthdays are in July so we started planning in March. First we made a list of all the people we wanted to invite. I made the invitations for the party on my computer using Adobe Illustrator and then printed them at Walmart for about 10 cents an invitation.
Once we had the guest list down we divided out the responsibilities: food, decorations, and games. Most of the food was bought at Sam’s. We had mini corndogs and veggie trays. Also we had root beer floats served by some of Alexia’s friends who volunteered to help out. The cake we bought from Shelby Lynn Cake Shoppe in Springdale, AR. We had a small, tiered cake and a larger sheet cake. This is a great way to save money when serving cake to many people since cake tiers can be costly. I love the way they turned out!
The venue for the party was free since we had it in our church’s gym. Although it might not have been the loveliest location, I think we did a pretty good job with decorating it. For the entryway, we hung old records from the ceiling at varying lengths. We just went to a thrift store and bought up a lot of old ones that were the cheapest we could find.  On the tables were yellow and pinks tablecloths bought at Wal-Mart. I used some extra records as table decorations for half the tables by cutting a Styrofoam ball in half and cutting a slit in the top to hold the record. We painted the Styrofoam teal with Acrylic paint to match our color theme. On the other half of the tables we had balloons that were held down with mini jukebox weights that we had found on the Internet.

On the large wall of the gym were black musical notes that we had cut from butcher paper rolls. We also cut out a jukebox shape that we painted like the jukeboxes on the tables. This was great for covering a large area of wall.  To do these we printed off graphics onto overhead sheets, then used one of our friend’s, who is a teacher, overhead projector.  We traced the shape with pencil and then cut them out. I’m not going to lie, it was a lot of work.
Ok, maybe I'm just a little dramatic.

To entertain our guests we had a slideshow of pictures depicting our parent’s life. Also we made a trivia game about our parents.  We passed out questions involving my parents and to get the answers, we had our parents answer them in front of everyone. This led to some funny stories at times. We also had a photo booth set up for people to take their picture. We found a fifties car cutout in our color scheme that we placed on a small table. All we needed for the backdrop was a white sheet that we hung up with thumb tacks. When my parents sent “Thank-you” cards, we sent the pictures they took in with the cards.
Brittani and her husband, Michael
trying out the photo booth.
It was a lot of fun keeping the surprise from my mom and dad. They had no clue what we were doing. We had planned a fake cookout at Alexia’s house and then told them once we were there that we had a gift for them that we had to drive to so we blindfolded them and drove in circles for a while before taking them to the party. This gave the rest of us a chance to change into our poodle skirts (Alexia even made her own!). We had outfits laid out for our parents to change into at the party so they weren’t left out. Our parents are blessed to have many friends. A lot of them even traveled from out of town to be there. My grandparents stayed at Alexia’s house without my parents knowing and left early before my parents came over for the “cookout.” It was fun surprising my parents and I think everyone had a great time!

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