We threw a party for Simon's 40th birthday on the weekend.
65 family and friends were invited to come and celebrate with us. We had an amazing time and there were a few sore heads the next morning. Always a sign of an epic night! ;)
I started looking for a venue a couple of months ago. I knew we didn't have the space at home (plus I wanted to keep the mess off site!) so I started looking for the perfect place.
I wanted somewhere that would allow us to do our own food, drink and music and stay on past 11pm if we liked. (We ended up booking it til 1am) We decided on the Collaroy Swim Club right on the beach, heaps of parking space and central to our family and friends.
The room was a blank space which was great but I wanted to add a few touches to personalise it and give it a festive birthday feel. The main issue for me were the lights. They were a harsh flourescent light, not really conducive to that party feel! We decided to bring in our own rope lights to add a warm glow to the room. Luckily they were easy to hang off the existing roof beams.
We were going for a cocktail party style so we just had a few tables set up for people to rest their drinks on. I dressed these up simply with a little jade plant in a brass planter and a tea light candle. We also had a few long bench seats for those who wanted to sit but we wanted the majority of people up and mingling. We brought out extra chairs once dinner was served and as the night went on.
Most of the walls were bare but I wanted to cover up 2 honour roll boards so I brought some black plastic from Bunnings and taped it to the wall. I then dressed up the backdrop with silver foil 40 balloons (Target) and some paper lanterns (Kmart). There was also another couple of big pinboards that I also decorated. One with a HIP HIP HOORAY sign and the other with a giant photo of Simon as a toddler. A gold foil "Happy Birthday" banner (Kmart) was the finishing touch.
I knew I wanted to do a massive platter for nibbles for when the guests arrived and to graze on through the night. I set up 2 trestle tables in the middle of the room and popped on a tablecloth.
I then placed a 3 metre long piece of wood down the centre of the table to put all the food on.
(I picked up a piece of wood from the timber yard and Simon smoothed it out and oiled it.)
I served the usual antipasto food. Olives, sundried tomatoes, various dips, several types of cheese, crackers, lavosh, raw vegetables to dip, dried fruit, salami, proscuitto, cabanossi, quince paste, feta filled bell peppers, grissini, pretzels, falafel and nuts.
This was great as people could help themselves. I just had to top up the crackers a couple of times through the night. I had plates and serviettes set up on the edges of the table.
We also hired a 115cm paella dish (Oliver's Hire) and chef who cooked in front of everyone in the corner. The smell wafting through the room was amazing and got everyones appetites going!
We used 4kg of Bomba paella rice, 3.6kg of chicken thighs, 3.3kg chorizo, 3.3kg fresh green prawns (head + tail removed) paprika, cumin, fennel seeds, saffron, salt, chicken stock, peas, parsley and lemon wedges. The cooking time was about an hour. This size pan usually serves 110 people (small bowls) but our group polished off the lot! People were going back for seconds and thirds.
It was delish!
Instead of a birthday cake I brought 60 donuts and arranged them on a platter.
This made it easy for everyone to help themselves. No cutlery or plates needed!
We had a welcome cocktail for our guests on arrival.
We set up 3 of our 7 litre mason jars with white wine sangria.
Each mason jar had 14 shots of Cinzano Bianco, 7 shots of Triple Sec and 1.75 litres of Chardonnay. Topped up with approximately 3 litres of lemonade. We then added ice, lemon, mint and lychees (canned) Drain most of the juice but add 120ml to the mason jar for extra sweetness.
We served them in a plastic tumbler over ice with a slice of lemon, a lychee and a mint leaf.
I also made up some straws with Simon's face on them for a laugh. They were definitely a conversation starter ;)
We had 2 bars set up, 1 for soft drink and water. The other served beer, wine and champagne.
I finally got to use my methuselah that I received for Mother's Day!
We hired a couple of backpackers with hospitality experience to help set up, serve and clear away through the night. They were awesome and helped everything run so smoothly.
Later in the night we bought out trays of jelly shots.
This was a throw back to our 21st's and when Simon played rugby they would always go back to the clubhouse and jelly shots were always featured!
We made them by mixing up one packet of Aeroplane Jelly dissolved in 375mls of boiling water, add 150mls of cold water and 180mls of vodka. This makes up 12 x 60ml shots.
(we preferred using the 60ml shot glasses rather than the tradtional 30mls - cups from Big W)
The above ratio ensured that each jelly shot contained 15mls of vodka. They had a kick ;)
Our friend is a DJ and organised speakers for the night as his gift to Simon and put together some playlists for us to use through out the party. The right music makes all the difference!
We had such an amazing night and it was wonderful to catch up with everyone.
Simon was thrilled to see all his friends and family in the one room.
How was your weekend?
Anyone having a birthday in your family?