It’s been a while since I threw a party but recently we gathered in our backyard to celebrate a man I love, The ‘huz’. He’s a man who doesn’t like a fuss but turning fifty is something pretty special in my books so I reckon that deserved celebrating.
Have you ever thrown a bash for a male…and his mates? I hadn’t so thought I would share this process. I wanted it to be special and I needed to cover all the bases of food, booze and music but also didn’t want it to be too ‘fussy’. I wanted the guests to feel relaxed but feel special, so I enlisted some help.
Yup. I outsourced and ladies I highly recommend it! This was one of the most ‘stress free’ parties I have ever hosted and that is thanks to Ray and his team from ‘Out In The Paddock’.
OUTSOURCE THE CATERING
I am good friends with Rays wife Ally and Ray had catered a few ‘Styling Curvy’ workshops of mine a few years back, so I knew if I ever had the need to have a bigger party catered then Out in the Paddock would be who I would enlist. So I made the call, we had a short meeting in my backyard and I left it ALL up to Ray and his team.
Ray doing his thing…
They took care of the food, furniture hire (bar tables and stools), greenery photo wall with vintage lighting and laser cut name plaque, greenery threaded through my hanging lanterns, candles, vases and even a few extra touches that were needed. All I had to organise was the music, guest list and drinks…easy peasy.
I went low key (remember I wanted my guests to feel relaxed) and six weeks before the big day I sent ‘save the date’ text messages to the guests, specifying that they were invited to celebrate the Huz and that it was a ‘surprise’ party. Oh yes, I was also trying to keep this backyard soiree under wraps and have it be a surprise.
Three weeks out from the party I sent ‘invite’ text messages and then one week out ‘reminder’ text messages because remember most guests were male and in my experience they need a little reminding of dates. I did enlist the help of one of my husbands oldest friends who gave me phone numbers I didn’t have and my boys were also helping out contacting some family members…remember ladies enlist help and outsource!
I had planned on live music for the big night but the singer I had wanted wasn’t available so instead I had a whole lotta fun creating a ‘Spotify’ playlist, mostly filled with music from the 70’s and 80’s. Spotify is an app you can download onto your phone, it’s free but comes with some ads or you can choose a monthly subscription (which I have) and create unlimited playlists or listen to music all add free. We have good outdoor speakers but on the day of the party one wasn’t working so I made the call to a friend who thankfully popped in and fixed the wiring ensuring the tunes were pumping in stereo!
50TH PARTY FOOD DETAILS
Ok, let’s get down to what we ate, because the food was all kinds of yummy and a feast for the eyes! To keep with the low key vibe of the party I chose to go with a grazing table. We used our outside dining table and Out in The Paddock filled it with fresh local cured meats, cheeses, olives, fresh and dried fruits, dips, roasted vegetables, breads and crackers. Guests didn’t go hungry because we also had roaming platters of pumpkin and burnt butter arancini, pulled pork mini sliders, mini weiner dogs with sauerkraut and a selection of sweet slices. ALL THE YUM!
The best bit? I didn’t have to prepare any of it!
For drinks I supplied local organic red and white wine, assorted Bickfords soft drinks, mineral water, ciders and a couple of different beers. I popped to Ikea and grabbed a stack of wine glasses, had some stubby holders made on Vista Print (online) and all softies were in small bottles meaning no extra glasses needed. To collect all the cans and bottles I picked up some cheap plastic tubs and a couple of extra eskies for extra drinks. I also asked Ray from Out in The paddock to pick up plenty of ice and he supplied some large silver bowls to display the drinks in…thanks Ray!
COLLECTING MEMORIES OF THE NIGHT
One thing I thought may be extravagant but will never regret was hire photographers Doug and Dana from Will & Co, I mean we didn’t even have a professional photographer at our wedding! I knew I wanted to share some details with my online community plus I really wanted quality pics with friends and family at the Huz’s 50th party so outsourcing the photography was a no brainer. Having Will & Co discreetly roaming and snapping for a couple of hours meant I could put the phone down (did not take any pics) and enjoy the whole night and the photos are just so fabulous. Candid, fun, detailed photos that captured the evening, I have mostly included photos without guests for privacy. Oh, and Dana is one of my photographers who takes some of my fashion pics for Styling Curvy.
I bet you are all wondering what the Huz thought? Well, he loved it all. He did feel a little stretched wanting to spend quality time with everyone so keep this in mind when creating a guest list (I deliberately kept the guest list small with around thirty guests). He loved the food, the music and the low key ‘fuss’, it showed we had spent time planning, we cared enough to spoil and celebrate him and that we had also made his friends feel welcome and comfortable in our backyard.
This is the Huz’s first car, a Humber Super Snipe that he actually drove when I first met him and yes it sits there in the backyard all the time (not working). The youngest son tinkered with it over the years and that has lead him to following his joy and he is training to be a mechanic. Made a nice prop on the night though so the nineteen years it has sat there not working was worth it…kinda.
And what is a backyard in Australia without a Hills Hoist clothesline? Furniture from my pergola.
SURPRISE 50TH PARTY
While I had tried to keep this 50th party a surprise there had been several moments in the weeks to the lead-up to the party that had given the ‘surprise’ away. Friends, family and yes even I had given it away but the biggest clue was on the day of the party. I had asked our sons to whisk the Huz away from the house for the day, so they took him to the movies, to a meal and then home to my eldest sons house for an ‘afternoon nap’ because they had run out of ideas to keep him ‘busy’…oh and they asked him to bring a nice shirt with him. I had told the Huz that we were having friends over for a barbeque so the boys figured he would think the shirt was for that but he worked it out.
We all scrubbed up ok…
The Huz is either a good actor or was genuinely surprised when he stepped out onto the back deck…
THE PARTY OUTFIT DETAILS
Because I know you will ask here are the outfit details, dress and shoes from City chic Harbourtown (outlet store). Dress was thirty dollars and the shoes were surprisingly comfy! I had planned on a different (dressier) dress but on the day the weather hit twenty eight degrees and I was hot mess when getting ready. I needed colour and comfort and this little frock delivered both and was just right for a backyard bash.
What a night, we loved it all. Thankyou to everyone who attended and to everyone who helped make the evening happen. I reckon outsourcing rules!
have you ever pulled off a surprise party? Tell me about your favourite party?
Til next time,