I just threw a 70th birthday celebration my dad he will never forget. There are few things I can do for my dad, but this was something I knew he would really appreciate. Who wouldn’t enjoy having all the people that love you come together in celebration?
I planned this New Jersey event from 3,000 miles away. Despite the geographic challenges, it was just perfect. People are still talking about it and my dad is just so touched that he keeps thanking me.
It went so well, in fact, that I wanted to share 10 things that made it great for your benefit:
I was fortunate to secure a private room at the popular Brownstone in Paterson, NJ. This venue has special meaning because my parents had their wedding reception there in 1965 and their 25th anniversary party there in 1989. This venue has recently gained popularity due to its being featured on The Real Housewives of New Jersey (Bravo TV), so I was lucky to get my preferred Saturday date. I must say that the family that owns this venue was amazing at providing fantastic food and a great end-to-end experience.
2. Invitations that Set the Tone
Invitations set the tone and I wanted mine to let everyone know what a special event this would be. For this, I chose a fun Shutterfly invite that included a featured photo of my dad.
3. The Photo Book Gift That Took His Breath Away
This is among my favorite books ever. I presented it with a toast to my dad to pay tribute to him on his 70th birthday and he was blown away. This 70 page book summarizes his 7 decades. It also contains very personal, heartfelt letters to him from every family member and close friend. These letters show photos of each person who contributed and shares what my dad means to each of them, the qualities they admire, favorite memories with him and personal birthday wishes. I also created a spread that summarized all the kind things that people feel towards him – the foundation for my toast at the celebration.
4. Photo Posters on Rigid Boards
I created seven 20×30 rigid posters and propped them on easels. The first one was an adapted version of the invitation displayed as you entered the room. The rest were vintage and current photos of my dad that told the story of 7 decades in authentic moments. The rigid boards were from Costco at $24.99 each and the easels were from Amazon at only $20.99 and free shipping.
5. PhotoShow DVD
I used the whole sequence of pictures from my dad’s photo book and created a PhotoShow DVD in minutes with a soundtrack. The venue also provided me with a flat-screen TV to play this.
6. Music Playlists
I created three playlists on our iPod which set a great mood. We started off with 60’s cocktail music for appetizers and drinks, moved into general music from 50’s – 70’s for dinner and moved into upbeat music for later evening. All the music was drawn from decades my dad would appreciate and the songs were curated to appeal to a wide range of ages.
7. Share Site
I took all the photos and videos from the party and shared them to all the attendees days after the party so everyone could relive the experience.
8. Party Photo Book
From the best photos on the share site, I easily created a book to preserve and relive the joy of the evening.
9. Thank You Notes
I took a photo of my dad holding his 12×12 photo book gift and make beautiful thank you note cards. While not a person who writes thank you notes, he was so thankful that he actually send out over 30 notes within the week after the party.
10. Family Photo Framed
It was unusual to have our whole immediate family together for a group photo, so as a follow-up gift, my dad received a framed picture to remind him every day.