For my mom's 60th birthday, my sisters and I planned a small surprise party, inviting a handful of her closest friends. For the invitation, I used a charming vintage photo of my mom paired with more modern type. We asked each of her friends to write a short message, a lengthy anecdote, or a fond memory to include in a birthday book we compiled and presented to her at the party.
We served a sampling of hors d'oeuvres, choosing to focus our efforts mainly on the desserts. This was, after all, a party for my mom who always served us "just enough" savory food (meaning not nearly enough!) paired with multiple desserts. I made a Sweet & Salty Cake festooned with "flags" printed with my mom's favorite sayings. I also made my favorite homemade yellow cake with cream cheese frosting and decorated it with graphic polka dots made from royal icing (this was inspired from a story my friend, Brooke, worked on at MSL). My sister, Emily, made "J"-shaped sugar cookies and my sister, Sarah, made Pierre Herme's Chocolate Mousse.
I carried the design theme throughout the party with tented food cards and custom water bottle labels.
The highlight of the evening was a presentation of "Juju's Favorite Things" (my sisters and I pretended we were Oprah). These included her favorite magazines, recipes, music CD, soap, mascara, etc. Each guest received a number and each number corresponded to a favorite thing. My sisters and I took turns presenting each "thing" and telling why it was our mom's favorite. Each guest went home with one of the favorite things (if we were really Oprah, everyone would have gone home with one of each!).
Finally, sets of personalized notecards were laid out for everyone to take as a favor. The perfect end to a perfect event.