I like big parties and I cannot lie. Yes, that’s right, y’all know I live for a reason to celebrate. While some women fear the day they turn 30, I couldn’t wait for it. The last decade of my life has been amazing, painfully challenging and rewarding, but I feel as though 30 finally marks a time of stability and certainty with who I am, what I want in life and where I dream to go. For this birthday, I didn’t want a new purse, a fancy necklace or even a weekend getaway – I wanted to be home in New York with the people I love.
So, I did what I do best, and planned to host my closest friends and family to a birthday celebration right in my hometown of Manhattan. Highlights of this celebration include a few of my favorite things: Champagne, Tiffany’s, Cake, loud music, cigars smoked to the backdrop of a New York City Skyline, and oh yes, of course, a surprise Michael Jackson appearance to spice things up… To skip this post and find out all the details/suggested vendors for planning your next party, head down to the bottom and find a list of vendors with links to their business sites.
Before planning this party I took some time to sit back and reflect on what this birthday actually means to me in the grand scheme of the one life that I’ve been given. With a glass of wine in hand, I sketched out the highs and lows, the proudest moments to my weakest days, often weeping or laughing as I reminisced on some of the best and worst of times. Concluding on these reflections, I wrote down all the dreams I hope to keep chasing and things that I want to keep working to improve upon. Writing down my reflections proved to be a very powerful experience that I encourage ladies to consider when reaching a milestone birthday. Whether you are uncomfortable with the age you are turning or completely pumped about it (we all remember how exciting it was to turn 21), it’s important to check-in with yourself and reflect. Taking the time to reflect will allow you to better understand what works, what doesn’t serve you and the direction you wish to take your life for the new year you have been gifted.
In my personal reflections, I thought about some of the happiest birthday memories of my life. A few vivid images popped to mind:
- Preppy pony-riding toddler parties where I was notorious for shutting down the event due to my meltdowns over the “clown” hired by my parents to make balloons for the kidddos (I was terrified of clowns)
- That year my father decked out the kitchen with balloons for me – I came downstairs for breakfast and was speechless with the amount of balloons he managed to squeeze in one space, resulting in my slight obsession for mass amounts of balloons
- The first party I ever planned on my own, age 10, my dream “beach party” that was destroyed by a category 4 hurricane (I still managed to wear a hula skirt and hang my pinata despite the 40 mph winds)
- Age 13, typical pizza gathering with “boys and girls” followed by a game of truth or dare (huge deal at that age and yeah, I may have had my “first kiss”)
- Cruising around New York City in a shiny black limo with my closest teeny bopper pals at the time, en route to a Britney Spears Concert for my Sweet 16 (choker necklaces were cool then too)
- My legendary 21st birthday while a junior in college, there I was screaming Spice Girls karaoke in the basement of Harvard’s finest on campus bar (Uno’s Pizzeria) after my first legal Scorpion Bowl from the Kong
- 23 down in the dirty south, my friends in Atlanta treated me to bowling and beer where I bumped elbows with my favorite rapper of all time – I love you Young Joc
- Ah, that gorgeous gold Tiffany’s charm bracelet I received as a gift for my 25th, a gift that I have cherished as a symbol of birthday memories through the years and will forever wear on my left wrist
- By 27 I had landed the man of my dreams, a real-life Prince, he flew me out to Jamaica so I could learn the “Dhutty Wine” dance and party with locals as I had always dreamed of (God, I love you, darling)
- Holding on for dear life to my twenties, I threw myself a boozy brunch for my 29th with gorgeous lady friends at the legendary LIPS of New York (my friends were definitely entertained)
Part of the catalyst for the silly and somewhat childish “Ladyhattan & Co.” theme of the party came form this very charm bracelet. When I look at the charms I have collected over the years, each charm symbolizes different achievements, destinations, memories, and spiritual items that represent what I believe in and who I am each year I grow older. While it may look like I threw myself a Bat Mitzvah, I assure you this was an adult birthday party. My goal was to create something feminine, a bit silly, and most important, enjoyable and overly entertaining for my guests.
The evening started out with cocktails served in a private room at the 230 Fifth Avenue Rooftop. Here guests enjoyed drinks, appetizers, and indulged in the Tiffany themed treats awaiting them (gift bags and gift boxes). Of the 100 Tiffany Jewelry boxes, each box contained a candy necklace with a note saying “you wish” while one lucky attendant found a one hundred dollar bill inside. Surprise, surprise, I always love to surprise. Mingling to music, guests were a bit shocked when they saw a clone of Michael Jackson appear. He was moon-walking into the party space. A few toasts were made, sparklers were blown, and the cake was cut for guests to enjoy.
From there, everyone took the Cuban cigars and matches supplied upstairs to the outdoor patio area to enjoy a nice smoke, cake, and champagne to the backdrop of the most spectacular city in the world – New York, New York! As the night grew dark, my rock-star brother treated me to a fabulous dinner overlooking Grand Central with a few of my friends who traveled from out of town. I could not have asked for a better birthday. No clowns, no haters, no drama, just love, lots of love. Thank you to all the amazing people in my life who make me love life as much as I do.
A big thank you to my wonderful vendors who made my party such a dream come true. When I plan parties here in NYC, I only work with with the best – the best in quality, price, and stellar service. Below you can find the vendor used for each party detail.
- Venue – 230 Fifth Avenue
- Flowers – Ariston Flowers
- Cake – Isabella’s Creations
- Paper Goods/Favors/Matches/Napkins – For Your Party
- Ladyhattan & Co. Box – The Candy Brigade
- Cigars – Thompson Cigars
- Dress – Dianne Von Furstenberg
- Charms/Bracelet/Earrings – Tiffany & Co.
- Food/Drink – 230 Fifth Avenue Catering
- Balloons – The Balloon King
- Diamond Picture Frames – Olivia Reigel
- After-Party Dinner – Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse in Grand Central
- Black & White Cookies – Beigels of Brooklyn