I had the pleasure of recently planning an Oscars themed surprise 30th birthday party for my best friend! She turned 30 on December 30th (that’s right, champagne birthday!), but because that time of year is always really busy with the holidays, her boyfriend and I decided to wait a few months and throw her a proper party that all of her favourite people could attend.
THE BIRTHDAY GIRL
I’m so lucky to call this woman my best friend. We’ve been inseparable since we were in college for design school. That means we’re going on 9 years of shenanigans, wine nights, going to concerts and movies and comic cons, sending each other cat GIFs, having sleep overs, grooving to 90’s rap music on summer nights while playing Yahtzee and Farkle, smoking hookahs, critiquing each other’s design work, laughing hysterically, crying, fighting, making up, finishing each other’s sentences, communicating with our eyes, having deep conversations about life, job changes, relationships, and everything in between. She was my Maid of Honor when I got married. She just gets me!
I wanted this party to be super special for her for all of those reasons. I wanted the room to be full of the people and the things that she loves. She is a movie buff, and an even bigger lover of movie awards such as the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Her boyfriend suggested that an Oscars themed party, held the night before the Oscars, would be the perfect way to celebrate her! It was a brilliant plan :)
(Photo by Eric Domond)
We rented a room in a small hall in our neighbourhood, and I had a blast setting up the room with a few friends while my bestie’s boyfriend tried his best to keep the party a secret from her, and get her to the hall on time. We set up a lot of fun things for the party to set the mood, which was almost as much fun to me as the party itself! In another life, I’d be a party planner for sure! I picked up a bunch of black, red and gold tableware and decorations from Party City, we got a few giant gold number balloons to spell out 3-0, we had a red carpet, a black gold and white tassel garland, and put tea lights all over the place in patterned gold candle holders. The party was so busy that I didn’t stop to take any photos of the setup, but that just means the party was way too much fun…so I made a mood board instead!
FOOD & DRINKS
We set up a popcorn bar with retro popcorn boxes and a bunch of flavour toppings, we had a candy bar, and a bunch of other finger foods like fruit, veggies, shrimp rings, meat and cheese, and hot snacks like cocktail hotdogs in puff pastry, taquitos, pizza, and other deliciousness. Another good friend made beautiful and yummy cupcakes sprinkled with edible gold stars, and Jell-O shots! Guests brought their drink of choice, and we also had a champagne toast later on in the evening, to honour the birthday girl.
(cupcakes by Amanda Morrell)
For entertainment,we set up the photo booth from our wedding with a gold streamer backdrop and a bunch of silly props, we had a projector playing silent movies on the wall, we had our music-savvy friend make a killer playlist full of songs that reminded party guests of the birthday girl, and we set up the TV and played Jackbox games. In case you haven’t heard of Jackbox, it’s a multi-player game for the X-box or Playstation where smaller groups of people use their phones as controllers (by visiting the jackbox.tv website, rather than downloading an app), and play games like Drawful (similar to Pictionary) or Fibbage (similar to Balderdash) together, and compete for points. It’s crazy fun! One of our friends has a 3D printer and made miniature Oscar statues as prizes for the winners, which was incredibly cool.
The best part of the entire party was the group of people who filled the room. Quite a few friends offered to help make this party come to life, which is a true testament to the amazing woman that we were celebrating, and the amount that people care for her. The party was full of love and warmth, and you could tell that each person was honoured to be there to celebrate the past 30 wonderful years that my best friend has lived. Plus, they sure know how to let loose and have a good time! I’ve got some photo booth pictures to share, but I apologize in advance because it was hard to sort through the hundreds of hilarious photos and only choose a few! For those guests in attendance – I have plenty more photos to share with you…
It was an incredible night :)