My love of event planning is magnified when a birthday comes around. I always love helping to throw a birthday party, and without a doubt, I love to throw surprise parties for my loved ones. This month, my husband turned 30 – and, of course, we had to celebrate him.

Over the past few years, I’ve tried to throw him surprise birthday parties, but he’s normally caught on – even if it was just as he was entering the venue. Of course this time around I wanted to be sure it was really a surprise! I even had to throw a decoy party to distract him from the surprise!

Long story short, it took a lot of cover stories, but we pulled it off.

While construction is underway at our house, I knew I’d need to rent a hall. For anyone considering hosting, first steps are easy – pick a date, find a venue, and decide on a theme. I went with whiskey and cigars.

The theme

The hubs loves a good Jack and Ginger, so I decided to go with a bit of a Jack Daniels theme. I got the invitations from an Etsy seller – and had an easy time having them printed at staples.

Since Jack Daniels bottles are black and white, picking the color scheme was easy.

We couldn’t do a whiskey tasting at the venue, so I decided to lean into the cigar bar. I made this clear up front – having “Grab a cigar, and hit the bar” as the top of the invitation.

The decor

I’m always a fan of signs for party decor. First of all, they’re easy to make and always within budget. I love words, and incorporating quotes into a party theme I think really sounds out the energy.

A dear friend made a banner for us as well, with white letters on black rectangles – leaning into the Jack Daniels bottle look. To keep consistent, I also had black paper goods and incorporated 30-themed napkins.

For center pieces, I used small bottles of whiskey. I put together a trivia game – 30 questions for the 30th birthday, all based on fun facts about my husband – and the whiskey center pieces were the prize. I also put out the trivia sheets on each table with the pencils, as well as a framed photo of the hubs in a simple black frame.

I added photographs of my husband throughout the hall his life just for good measure.

My mom came through with some casual fall flowers, and turned empty whiskey bottles into vases.

The menu

We had way too much food. To be honest, I never realized how difficult it would be to figure out how much food is appropriate for 70 people! At least I don’t have to meal prep for the week!

Too many apps later, We had some fall staples – bourbon pulled pork, whiskey-bacon mac and cheese, chili and cornbread. We also had whiskey cupcakes! A classic birthday cake rounded out the night.

The favors

To keep up with the cigar theme, I dipped Twix bars into some chocolate, added some sprinkles, and topped each with a stripe of frosting. The result, a chocolate cigar!

Published by pauseforprosecco

A Boston girl who loves her pearls. Follow along with me as I balance a busy schedule and try to incorporate one new adventure a week into my life!

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