Event Planning


It’s that time of year where we surround ourselves with close friends and family to celebrate all that we are thankful for.  A chance for reflection, gratitude & gathering.  I had the honor of planning and executing the 50thbirthday party last weekend.  My client and friend wanted this celebration to reflect her admiration for her husband, an assembly of all the special people in their lives, and gratitude for their friendship, strong marriage, and all his accomplishments.  It was a truly special occasion.


50 shades of grey party theme

Coordinating and working events is not new to me.  I have years of proficiency in the high-end service industry.  I bought myself my first car a Plymouth Acclaim at 16 years old after working event set up all summer at Maple Bluff Country Club.   In college, I worked at Dunwoody Country Club during the time that they denied Michael Jordan access to playing the golf course because the waitlist was so long for a membership.


I went on to manage a Marriott resort spa in Stone Mountain Park where we held corporate events and conferences.  Eventually, this path led to me to own my own boutique day spa where I held grand openings, anniversary events and we offered spa parties.  I flourish with the opportunity to create remarkable experiences.   Therefore offering party planning to my list of services was a natural extension of the Laufty Life brand.  My announcement made the perfect timing for being recruited for this event.


50 Shades of Grey Party Theme


A well thought out theme brings a party to life by thoughtfully weaving the fun and cohesiveness through the vision.  In this case, my client had booked the venue, hired the band and a magician.  Her bestie and she had also settled on the theme prior to hiring me.  Not only did it give me clear direction, the theme means more if it comes from the party host.  Her silver foxy husband is distinguished and accomplished so this theme was oh so fitting.

50 shades of grey party theme

Party Planning Services


Although the framework for this event was in place there was still lots of details to execute.  My party planning services included tracking and coordinating all the vendors involved in the event and their associated fees.  Accompanying my host to meetings for the venue, bar order and caterer.  I noted what was included and ordered, I picked up and returned the rented linens.  I crafted all the decorations by hand, ordered the supplies, tracked the expenses.


In addition to the band and magician, I hired a photographer, baker and graphic designer for the photo backdrop.  When the florist quote came in extremely high I decided to make the vases myself and instead ordered the flowers from a Hy-vee grocery store floral department in bulk. Saving my client hundreds of dollars from the price we were quoted.

Since this was a surprise having all the supplies and set up done at my house, helped my client pull it off.

[stextbox id=’custom’ bwidth=’1′ bcolor=’D0B0C3′ bgcolor=’8396B4′ image=’null’]“What I loved about your service is that I always knew where we were with the budget even though I didn’t provide you with perimeters.  The transparency was great because I could decide where to splurge and where to save.”  Denise[/stextbox]


The Venue

50th birthday party idea

When deciding on a venue for this size event consider peak season rates and peak days.  You can save money by hosting events outside of the wedding season.  If your special occasion lands during the busy summer/fall season, consider a Friday or Sunday to save a little on venue rental.

50th birthday party ideas

Communication is key as questions will arise as you approach the event date. You will want to work with a venue coordinator that is responsive, pleasant and informative.  Be clear on what is and isn’t included in your rental fee.  These are some questions to consider:


  1. When are you able to get into the space for set up and break down?
  2. What caterers do you have access to use?
  3. Is there a cleaning fee?
  4. What staff is included with the venue rental?
  5. Is there a sound system available for before or after the band?
  6. What time should the guest be out of the space?


Despite the versatility, price and beautiful setting that the venue she rented was for this event, I would not recommend it based on those credentials.


The Food

50th birthday party idea

For this event, the food was catered by Buck & Honey’s a local favorite with delicious cuisine and outstanding staff. Passed hors-d’oeuvres of deviled eggs and bacon wrapped shrimp were passed from 6-7pm prior to the big surprise.


A buffet was opened at 7:30 with additional heavy appetizers including Swedish meatballs, meat and cheese, pork sliders, taco dip, and Thai chicken lettuce wraps.  Drooling yet? As if that weren’t generous enough pizzas were delivered at 9 pm.  The bakery items were inspired from our Pinterest feed and Golden Days Bakery nailed it at an outstanding price!


The guest of honors favorite drink is Tito’s press.  We gave it a signature name with Grey incorporated into it.  Additionally, Decoy red blend wine and Migration Chardonnay were hosted for guest. This was such a classy event!



Band for Events WI

I had never heard of the Pink House’s Band but wow were they good. This is a cover rock band with eleven members on stage.  They were professional to deal with coming several hours in advance to set up.  They kept the dance floor rocking throughout the night and since I was there prior to guest arrival I got to chat with some of the members.  A stellar group of performers.


Jimi the drummer substitute teaches for music teachers when he is not on stage and I was entertained just by chatting with him.  Tom was my contact prior to the event and he was accommodating and a joy to work with.  The ladies in the band are the focal point and they sparkle and shine on stage.


Custom Photo Booth



Laufty Life Decor


To achieve the beautiful ombre look on the vases we used chocolate celebration six-lets in white, silver, and black.  The chocolates were wedged between two vases with the vase that had the smallest diameter in the center.  I found it easiest to cover the inner vase with aluminum foil to prevent the chocolates from dropping inside.  I placed white chocolates at the bottom since the tablecloths were in black.


Ordering the premium roses in bulk saved us a ton of money.  I asked that they add a little dogwood red twig to the arrangement to add a little height.  Some of the ankle cuffs whips and blindfold eye mask were scattered around on the tables.  I anchored the floral vases with white crowd control chains.  The chains added a contrast to the black tablecloths.

50 SHADES of Grey Party Theme

Party Favor


Finally, The skeleton key favors are a touch I’ve used before for the boho chic baby shower that I threw.  They immediately came to mind for this event and they worked well here.  On one side, I printed a Join me in the red room of pain message.  On the reverse side was a thank you message letting the guest know to take the key and that it also doubled as a bottle opener.


50 Shades of Grey Party theme was fun, sexy and ultra-classy.  I am thrilled at how it came together and honored to be a part of such an amazing families’ celebration.  This theme would also work great for a bachelor/bachelorette party, ladies night out or even New Year’s Eve party!