A Surprise 40th Birthday Party

Now this was fun! Our neighborhood is amazing. There’s about 4 of us families that have become super close over the years. We take vacations (with and without kids) and spend time BBQ’ing and hanging out. My husband and I love this group of people so much.

So when my neighbor friend asked if I could help throw her husband a surprise 40th birthday party … of course the answer was yes! I’ve only thrown my own kids parties and not someone else, so it was a little stressful to try to figure out what all he might like. In the end, they both seemed happy (or what he remembers of it anyway .. lol).

Here is the party:

In the beginning I decided a theme of wood, paper, metal and chalkboard seemed like it would be fitting. I found this awesome customized printable (http://www.thebirthdaytimes.com). I printed it out and got it laminated at Office Max.


Outdoor table. I used brown craft paper that I found at Dollar Tree and black chalkboard paper from Michaels (www.michaels.com/recollections-chalkboard-paper-roll/10366137.html). For the centerpiece, I actually used beer growlers that I already had. I purchased some green fake leaves from Michaels craft store and then some real flowers the day of the party and stuck them in the growlers (one for each table). I wrapped some burlap around each growler so that you couldn’t see the logos on them. And then I lucked out by finding a few metal N’s (and “40”‘s for the other growlers) at Michaels in the clearance section for .25 cents each!! IMG_8208

Here’s a closer pic of the centerpieces. The candles are mini mason jars from Dollar Tree.


Oh and that cake!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE the cake! First .. I ordered a carrot cake from Whole Foods since the wife had told me that was his favorite cake. I searched google for a design of carrot cake that I liked and took that image in with me when I went to order it. They nailed it! Then I knew I wanted the cake topper to be a statement piece. I contacted Charlie Chalk Designs (they own an etsy shop and you can get custom wood items here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/293456077/yum-birthday-cake-toppers-childrens-1st?ref=shop_home_active_5) since they are local and I could just pick up what I wanted. I told them what I was looking for and they had this wooden “forty” ready for me in 2 days for $10! Lastly . . . the wood that the cake is sitting on. My husband actually had someone he knows cut that for him (you can also buy them at Michaels craft store) and then he sanded it and stained it with food grade stain/oil. It all together made for one beautiful cake!


We set up a couple folding tables and topped them with the brown paper. Then I put a centerpiece on there and these buckets http://www.walmart.com/ip/Better-Homes-and-Gardens-Ice-Bucket-Gray/43278027. I already had some chalkboard labels (you can get them at Michaels – of course..lol). So we labeled each bucket with different types of beer we had and filled them with the beer and ice. I did have some custom labels made as well and put one in each of the buckets –  just over the top of one of the beer labels. It made it a little more custom and special and I thought gave it a nice personal touch. I use Red Barn Studio for most of my custom invites, labels, etc. You can find her shop here and she does all things custom: http://www.etsy.com/shop/RedBarnDesignStudioIMG_8221

More personalized labels here. We put one on the large hard alcohol bottles for this table with an ice bucket so that people could make their own drinks. Under this table was a cooler with some mixers. IMG_8216

This was a fun little corner. We had the cake above for the adults and the cupcakes below for the kids. Chocolate and vanilla. I found the light up “N” on at Michaels and used one of their 40% off coupons http://www.michaels.com/make-market-led-letter-7in/M10462571.html?dwvar_M10462571_color=A#start=38 . I made the picture board myself. Just took a piece of wood we had laying around from an addition we did and painted it with black chalkboard paint. Then I attached bakers twine to each side and used clothesline clips from Dollar Tree to attach the pictures and wrote “40 years…” with a white chalk pen. So great, because the board can be used again and again.


Kids drink station. These great drink dispensers were from Big Lots. $15 each. We just attached little paper tags with the bakers twine. Then added in some stripped straws from Party City. IMG_8231

This part was one of my favs. We found this idea on Pinterest and loved it. A little snack station. We already had these jars, but you can buy them from Target (www.target.com/p/heritage-hill-glass-jar-2-gal/-/A-10620266#prodSlot=medium_1_19&term=large+glass+jar+with+lid) and you can get all different sizes. For this, we put burlap down instead of the brown paper, so that the jars wouldn’t accidentally slide around. Then we just tied some twine around them with the paper tags on them. This was a huge hit.


Main food table. Used the same table coverings & centerpiece as the other tables. Used a couple more wooden pieces for food serving and a metal serving tub we found at Walmart. The little flags were part of the custom order with the labels from Red Barn Studio (listed up above). The food was a mix of things we did ourselves and then some catering/take out for the meats.



This was a fun party to plan. It turned out just like I wanted … manly and modern.

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