I love February, one reason being that we get to celebrate my best friend and sister - the creative mind and hustle behind Uncommon - KATIE! This year she turns 30, and I knew I wanted to do something BIG to celebrate her. What better way to celebrate than with a themed party?! And so, I kicked up my feet, popped a bowl of popcorn, and watched the movie 13 Going on 30 for inspiration and research. I took thorough movie notes that included key points such as color palette, clothes, decor, food, games/activities, and movie quotes…
"I wanna be 30. Thirty and flirty and thriving..." -Jenna Rink
...and razzle, dazzle the idea of a 29 Going on 30 party was born.
Let’s back up a titch, though. Being Katie’s younger sister, I’ve learned a LOT from her over the years about event planning. While I am not a creative and event mastermind like she is, I’ve certainly grown in my party planning abilities. Here are the top 2 takeaways I’ve learned from her when planning a party:
1. Choose a theme and carry it out FULLY.
Once a theme is chosen, create a mood board. The mood board helps to determine how the party will feel. The one-two punch of the chosen theme and created mood board will drive all food, decor, and activity decisions.
2. Meet your guests’ needs.
Once a guest list is compiled, be mindful of any accommodations that need to be made to ensure each of your guests feels comfortable and taken care of. For example, accommodations are needed if a guest has a food allergy. It just so happens that the birthday girl herself, Katie, has an allergy to gluten and dairy.
Here’s how I applied the above takeaways, as well as Uncommon’s other event planning tips and tricks.
| Decor |
Katie has taught me that incredible parties do not need to cost an arm and a leg. Cue the thrifting. But seriously! Goodwill supplied all of the glassware for the food table that matched the glassware in the movie. The tacky, yet SO great, ‘happy birthday’ decorations were bought at the Dollar Tree. And can we talk balloons? Those beauts don’t cost a ton but look amazing in carefully planned and executed installs. The party’s location, my family’s wonky 1950s home, provided some fun architecture elements that I used to create logical traffic patterns for guests. For instance, two bay windows in our dining area and living room will be transformed into buffets, balloon installs, and even a photo op back drop.
SAY WHAT?! Yep. I’m tellin’ ya, I’ve learned a thing or two from Katie over the years! Oh and a few props, like the iconic dollhouse & disco ball, were borrowed from dear friends and family.
| Food |
The good stuff. The stuff people gather around. Am I right? Well, so here’s the deal with themed parties: even the food should reflect the theme of the party. The movie depicts cheese balls, shrimp cocktail, pina coladas, hostess cakes, pizza, veggie tray, pigs in a blanket, M&Ms, Razzles, Diet Coke… just to give you a taste of the menu. Because many of these items are snacky, I decided to purchase the biggest quantities of the ‘hearty’ foods like pizza, veggies, and pig in a blanket. That way, the theme is fully carried out in the food, too, but the guests will not be walking away hungry, with cavities and cheesy fingertips.
| Games/Activities |
13 Going on 30 came out in 2004, Katie turned 13 in 2003, and so, I came up with the idea of 2000s trivia for a game during the party. I hopped on Amazon to find an already existing, yet reasonable, ‘2000s a Decade of Trivia’ game. Easy and fun and even more, directly in line with our theme. Beyond the organized game of trivia, there will be gel manicures available to guests, inspired by Jennifer Garner’s nails in the movie. And, the fringe + balloon install will invite guests to snap fun photos to capture memories. Oh, and did I mention that all guests will be wearing JAMMIES?! That’s right. Inspired by the pajama party in the movie, I decided to have guests wear jammies of their choice that reflect the scene in the movie.
So there you have it. A “not-so-creative but loves parties” girl, has planned a FABULOSO (that’s a line from the movie, people!) party. I chose and carried out a theme. I thought of the guests’ needs. I thrifted as much as possible. And I pulled it all together, logically, in the space that I had.
I hope you feel encouraged to plan and throw a party to celebrate the people you love. Truly, anyone can do it! Keep in mind Katie’s key points and go for it.
Everyone loves the thrill(er) of a good party!
Happy, happy 30th Katie!
Here’s to thriving,