Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Beer Tasting 30th Birthday

I must preface and say, my boyfriend is NOT easy to surprise and I can not keep a surprise to save my life.  Did I mention, Mike hates surprises?  I mean, hates, and I know that's a harsh word.  He likes to know what's going on at every turn and every second that passes.  Let's just say, he likes to be prepared.  Soo, about 6 months prior to his birthday I started thinking what the heck am I going to do!??  It's his 30th and it must be done right! 

I wanted in the worst of ways to surprise him, but I knew this was a sure-fire fail, so what did I do? One night as it was coming down to the 1-month-prior mark, I straight-up asked him what his ideal celebration would be.  And before this, he'd said he didn't want anything, but I think I kept dropping the message that this isn't just any birthday...sure, it only comes once just like all the others, but it's important, it's special, YOU are special, and YOU are important, your friends want to celebrate this day with you, and it's the big 3-O! You can't escape it! I think he got the message of how important it was to me to do something for him, and deep down I knew I could throw him something that he'd truly enjoy.

So, he actually told me what he'd like to that's surprising! He said a get-together at home with friends would be perfect and then we can head out to a bar downtown for drinks later in the night.  Everybody would then enjoy eachothers' company and it would be the easiest scenario for all involved (he's always thinking of others).  No traveling to far off places, no throwing in tons of cash-ola for the people attending...just show up and have a good time!  And having a good time is exactly what Mike's all about.

Here is how it went down...  

Once I knew the logistics of what he wanted, I went to town on being creative, my forte!  I decided on a manly-man theme and something that he would love...a "Beer Tasting" party...what guy wouldn't like that?  I kept the theme a surprise to everyone and just gave out the minimum details to the party goers so there would at least be a few elements of surprise throughout the night.
I researched some trusty party sites and came up with a culmination of good ideas: 

I liked the decor of the pinwheels in this "Pots and Pigs" themed party on the Hostess Blog

This bottle cap cake was most definitely being made from a "Modern Beer Tasting Party" also from the Hostess Blog
I got the idea to make the Blue Moon and Guinness cupcakes and adorable bottle cap coasters from a "Plaid Flannel Beer Tasting Party" once again from the Hostess Blog 
I enjoyed the idea of galvanized pails as beer coolers and chalkboard signs for more decor which I found on A Thoughtful Place blog.

The "Gourmet Grill-Out" Party on Pizzazzerie really confirmed my want of chalkboards, pails, bunting signs and the color scheme of teals and oranges. 

And of course, every party needs a game...the Beer Tasting Game from the Could Be Interesting blog
*All photos courtesy of their respective blogs.  

So after compiling all my ideas, I made a plan of action.  I started with Michael's for any random supplies they might have.  I did find awesome beer cozies and all my chalkboard needs!  Party city came in handy for all the food serving necessities and they have a plethora of colors to suit your party theme, for sure.  Thanks to World Market and Bevmo for the never ending supply of alcoholic beverages.  And to my favorite grocery store ever...Winco for all my gourmet needs.  

I was able to prep and prepare everything in a day and a half after a month of good hard planning and decoration creation.  I think he was pleasantly surprised with all my hard work and preparation...yes, actually surprised despite the fact that he knew the shindig was happening.    
I used a Martha Stewart punch to personalize each cozie
I bought these cute wooden crates at Michael's to hold the non-alcoholic beverages and found the huge blue totes at Party City for a surprising $4 bucks!

I bought a block of thin Styrofoam and painted it black for a concrete look and glue gunned the bottle caps on.  Cheap coasters!
Got these cute little chalkboard pails for snacks in the dollar bins at Target! What a find!!
The Beer Tasting/Guessing game...don't worry, the bottles were covered and the caps off once people started arriving :-) 
And you can't forget the food... 
Mini wedge salads with bacon bits and blue cheese dressing on the side
Cheese tortellini skewers with pesto dipping sauce
You can't have a beer party without soft pretzels!
The Blue Moon and Guinness Cupcakes, recipes linked
And even though we had cupcakes...
You've gotta have an actual cake on your birthday! My own red velvet and cream cheese concoction in the shape of a Stella Artois bottle cap :-) 
I think the birthday boy was definitely a happy camper and it'll be a night he remembers.  

My mission: accomplished! 

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