ENTERTAINING

Surprise Soirée

Many people throw surprise parties to celebrate milestone birthdays. Whether you think 40 is over the hill or the new 30, it's still an occasion worth celebrating!

DIY Décor

Here are some helpful tips for re-creating some of the decorative items used by Raeline McIntyre and Michelle Hope.

Split Pea Wreath:
Purchase a plain white Styrofoam wreath from a party store. You will need clear drying glue, eight bags of green split peas, and some ribbon to hang the wreath. Simply lather the wreath form with glue and press the peas onto the wreath. Allow to dry. You may need to repeat several times for desired thickness. Note: Store in a black plastic bag away from sunlight to keep from fading!

Glittered 40!
Using white foam core board, trace out the numbers 4 and 0 in pencil. Cut out with an exacto knife. Coat the numbers in a clear drying glue. Sprinkle glitter over glue to cover the numbers. Repeat as many times as necessary to cover them completely in glitter. Allow to dry. Note: Store in a bag to collect loose glitter.

Burlap Happy Birthday Banner:
Purchase two yards of burlap from the fabric store. Trace the desired shape/size of your pennant onto the burlap and cut out. Trace desired letters onto each pennant and paint with white acrylic paint. Note: Be sure to paint on a covered surface, as the paint will seep through. Once the paint is dry, use the desired length of twine to glue the pennant in place. We used hot glue and made a fold at the top of each pennant (only using a dab of glue on each end of the fold) in order to be able to slide them for adjusting. Hang banners and cut excess string.

Make a Birthday Wish…

Neil McIntyre’s surprise 40th birthday party was a night to remember. See how friends and family, with the help of event planner Michelle Hope of Social Butterflies planned the perfect sneak attack.

When Raeline McIntyre decided she wanted to throw her husband, Neil, a surprise 40th birthday party, the hardest part was keeping it a secret. “We were so excited to help her in the planning and came up with a fun DIY theme incorporating many of Neil’s favorite things,” says Michelle Hope of Social Butterflies, LLC.  The look and feel of the event was designed in a color palette of light greens, slate, grey and white.
To create a wreath on the front door as well as centerpieces for the tables, Hope and Raeline McIntyre used split peas. The girls even spelled out his name using all peas. “Using commonplace materials is a good idea for anyone looking to decorate on a budget,” says Hope. “It’s super easy, too!”
Always looking to make each person’s experience memorable, Hope ensured that there was never a dull moment as each person was entertained from the time they arrived and even while waiting on their special guest. 
As the early well-wishers arrived at Magnolia Hall at Florence Gardens, they were greeted with an assortment of  hors d’oeuvres and a variety of lawn games like cornhole and horseshoes for them to play while awaiting the guest of honor.
Neil’s wife, Raeline McIntyre, had been baiting Neil for weeks by telling him how she wanted to look at houses near the party’s venue. So when her mom offered to babysit last minute so they could have a date night, the perfect opportunity was at hand. En route to dinner, she started to drive toward the party where she then pulled over and told Neil she had a surprise for him and gave him the blindfold.
The party was a success. Neil arrived completely shocked and the surprises didn’t stop there. Among those in attendance were out-of-town guests that had traveled significant distance to take part in the celebration. And to top off the occasion, a special musical number highlighting the past 40 years was performed by Raeline McIntyre with a group of close girlfriends.
Each element of Neil’s Surprise 40th Birthday Party was custom designed to fit his likes and interests. The menu featured Neil’s favorites like grits and grillades, and for dessert, a cookie bar and Carrot Cake. Even Neil’s favorite tunes were incorporated into the dance.

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Expert Tip:

Throwing a surprise party can be tricky to pull off without spoiling the surprise. Here are some tips and tricks to help you in orchestrating a memorable surprise.

• As you plan, include family and friends in order to help pull off the surprise
   and provide many positive and lasting memories.

• Consider doing a themed party, destination party or interactive party — all are
  great ways to keep guests entertained and make this milestone something
  more than an average birthday party.

• Choose a venue (if it’s not at your home) that is often visited by the birthday
   person to help in keeping it a surprise.

• In lieu of gifts, ask 40 guests to write words of affirmation about the guest of
   honor — one for each year of his/her life.

Party Sources:

Party Planner/Floral Design
Michelle Hope of Social Butterflies, LLC
901.828.9321, sb-events.com

 

Photographer
Jessica Lumpkin, Grace Photography
228.243.3323
gracephotographyblog.wordpress.com

 

Venue
Magnolia Hall at Florence Gardens
12321 Preservation Dr., Gulfport, MS
228.539.5039, florencegardens.com

 

Caterer
Cajun Gourmet Catering
228.323.0579, cajungourmetcatering.com

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