Sunday, May 07, 2006

Vivien's SUPRISE 21st!

What: Vivien’s surprise 21st
When: Saturday May 7th
Where: Matty’s house
Theme: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Last night was Vivien’s belated 21st surprise birthday party. After 6 weeks of planning the party turn out better than we could have ever imagined. The secret was kept, the birthday girl looked beautiful, desserts were ordered; people arrived on time and the food ohh...the food!

I’m a bit disappointed because the settings on my camera was wrong so I don’t have many photos to share but keep your eye out on Trish’s site.


If you happen to follow the Xanga’s or Blogs of some of my friends (like Di, Matty, Cynth, Trish) you’ll probably see many posts and photos of what a fabulous night it was. This wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work that was put into this party. I thought that I whould share some of the planning that was involved.

The beginning
On the 31st of March Matty came up with the idea of a surprise party for Viv, he sent out an email to gather thoughts and ideas and within a week Vivien’s surprise birthday committee was formed. Roles were delegated and a date was set.

The emails between the committee became so overwhelming that I set up a folder labelled Viv’s party. Despite deleting heaps of emails I still have over 70 in that folder. Coming up with a suitable theme wasn’t easy, some of the suggestion included Casino Roy ale, poker night, an ‘all white party’ an ‘all black party’ until Di and Matty decided on Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

By the 9th of April a guest list of about 50 people were was drawn and the first email invitation was sent. Matty made it clear that this was to be a surprise, please see an excerpt from the first invite below:
“…..I will be emailing again over the coming weeks, mainly to remind everyone that it is supposed to be a SURPRISE (ooo caps and BIG LETTERING!) so please DO NOT MENTION IT TO VIVIEN – DON’T POST IT ON YOUR BLOGS – DON’T ADD IT TO YOUR MSN NAME – DON’T GET IT TATTOOED ON YOUR FOREHEAD etc. Viv usually likes to issue threats to people to ensure they don’t ruin any surprises, but that’s not my style.
I hope you all can make it!”

The Plan in action
By the 11th of April, Viv’s surprise birthday was renamed “Operation B@T”. Di began sending out emails requesting stories for her speech and I sent out emails requesting photos for Viv’s life poster (keep in mind that during this whole time everyone is still working full time, studying for exams or writing their Thesis).

We also needed to make sure that Viv would dress real nice on the night, so we put our heads together to come up with some ideas. I suggested to Matty that maybe he should tell her that he had a work party and he was allowed to take a date. On the way to the party he has to head home to pick something up that he "forgot".

I nearly died laughing when I heard how creative Matty became. He eventually told Vivien that he had a work party where if he impressed his bosses it would potentially lead to a VERY BIG promotion. Furthermore the theme of the part was ‘The Golden age of Hollywood’ and each table was modelled on an old movie, their’s were Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the best dressed table would win $10,000!! When Viv was telling me about this party over dinner I had to use every bit of energy in me to not giggle.

The Dress
I got a message from Matty late one night that said “….she said she didn’t want to dress too nicely (as in too revealing) for a work thing. If she consults you, encourage her to dress very nicely and that cleavage is not slutty….”. I thought it was soo sweet that Matty was going into so much effort to make this absolutely perfect for her.

We even devised this whole plan where I would get Viv to talk about the party so that I could offer to lend her my Bare dress and jewellery (but things didn't quite work out as planned).

The Poster
Meanwhile time was running out and I hadn’t received many photos, to make a 16 x 20” life poster I usually work with 150 full sized digital shots where I eventually pick 80 to use. I then crop each photo and brighten certain colours before renaming each one and placing them in the order that I want. Professional framing usually takes 1 to 2 weeks and time was really running out.

Matty was determined to make this happen, so late one night (23rd of April) he drove to JY’s, Trish’s and Ken’s house to collect various usb keys and Cds for me. Everything was all timed to precision:

Sunday 23rd – usb key and cd picked up and dropped off to Ken’s
Monday 24th – Jacky meets with Ken for the handover
Tuesday 25th – work on poster during Anzac day (completed in record time, usually takes 1 week). This was thanks to Trish's excellent photos which meant I didn't need to edit the colours.
Wednesday 26th – Burnt on CD and express posted to my friend Jenny to take to the printers for me. Jenny was also responsible for helping me order the cake because I couldn't understand the lady on the phone! Thanks Jen!
Thursday 27th – CD arrives and Jenny takes to printers for me.
Friday 28th – Poster is completed (arrange for Matty to go pick up).
Jacky and I then drive to Matty’s house at 10:30pm Friday night to pick up the poster from his porch (as Viv was over). Once the poster was picked up I sent him a sms to let him know, it read: “Checked out apartments in Eastwood today and picked up some catalogues, thanks for the idea”.
Saturday 29th – Met with the framing man to select a border and frame. The poster will be ready for pick up on Saturday but we negotiate to have it ready by Thursday.

The Finished product, everyone signed on the back just like a guest book.

Originally I was suppose to do the food + desserts but I thought that I would be in Melbourne for a few days before the party so Muz took over with really short notice and did THE MOST amazing job! He doesn’t normally cook but managed to throw this all together by watching and gaining inspiration from Iron Chef…he is an absolute natural!! Mario and his sister Tina cooked the whole day, I have so much admiration for them both!
Peking Duck with a sauce that he mixed himself...tasted awesome!
Pastry cups with boccaccini cheese, apricot, duck...(not sure what else)

Viet rice paper rolls with a twist; the ones at the back contained pork, mint and various salads whilst the ones at the front (my favourite of the night) was made with seaweed, raw tuna, vermicelli and finished with the most amazing wasabi mayo dressing!

There was also marinated prawns, fried won tons, tempura wontons, salasa and so much more.


I was in charge of desserts and the birthday cake -Toffee Profiterole cake with custard and cream.

We also had strawberries, Jelly cups topped with whipped cream, krispy kremes donuts, chocolate crackles, mud cake. I stayed up till about 11:30pm the night before waiting for each layer of jelly to set (I bought this new Aeroplane jelly 'quick set formula' I don't recommend it because the texture is a bit odd). I was so pleased and relieved when everyone ate it!

I think that I have missed out on a whole lot of stuff, but I'm totally exhausted just blogging to this point. So thank you Matty for letting me be involved and Vivien - Happy Birthday! I hope that this party was everything that you could have hoped for!

Great Job Everyone!!

Matty you were a great project manager and I think you have well and truly set the bar for all the boyfriends out there (I'm looking at YOU Jacky Chan!).


princess_party said...

great post em..woowww you guys did such an awesome job, i didn't realise how much behind the scenes work was involved! very impressed =) i loovve the poster

reverendtimothy said...

Wow, wow, wow, wow and wow.

Now that's what I call a party! :-D

That collage in particular is FANTASTIC!

thegreatwhitehope said...

Operation B@T: Success! Thanks for everything Em, I read through some of the emails today. I must have about 150 in my folder and I deleted a lot as well!

You have some good photos despite the wrong settings! I took none, I didn't get a chance =( I love your one of Viv when she first walked in =)))

Ayako said...

Holy moly....o_O *looks at the mile-high bar* pretty hard to beat i say! well done =)

lil_lamies said...

Ems the collage looked fab! I swear I'm gona start calling you Martha Stewart. you should quit your job and do that for a living!

Vivien said...

*shakes head* you know how completely dumbstruck I am that even though you've known me for such a short amount of time you're still willing to do SOOO much for me and go so out of your way. It STILL makes me laugh thinking about how gleeful you must've been on the inside when I was earnestly telling you about the 10 000 door prize!! Damnit!!! hahahaha :D like I've already told you, you're a very rare and special friend, and I'm so so sososososo glad to have met you :) :) :)

Nancy said...

Awesome night.. thx for organising it.. and u pulled it off! u ever considered changing careers to be event coordinator?!?!!?

now i know who to go to if i wana organise something!!

Bosco said...

Haha, how grand... i trust that Moonriver (one of my fav songs of all time) was sang in unison at various stages of the night :) hehe

Dianna said...


i'm still totally hyperactive about sat night =D

PiCkLeS said...

Cynth: I tried to cut it as short as possible because it was becoming the longest post ever!

Tim: hahha thanks it's been an absolutely crazy weekend. That's why i kept telling you i was busy with life posters.

Matty: Don't be so modest!! you did a great job and i'm just so impressed that you went to so much effort! Though that getting Viv to go to your house to get a tissue was a big dodgey!??! ahhaha

Amanda: Matty has set the bar very very high!

Lisa: you know me i enjoy stuff like this, i wish i had time to make that tiramisu. Can't wait till i get my own place then I can invite people over too!

Viv: I'm so glad it all worked out so well! I was a bit worried that you'd wear the AH dress again because I wanted you to feel unique and special. At the Jap dinner I was biting my lower lip to stop myself from smiling when you told me about the $10k prize...

Nancy: I do really like doing stuff like this! I kinda get this image in my head of how i want things to turn out then I go abouts trying to make it happen. Though my friends just laugh that I'm really anal =P

Bosco: i think everyone was too busy eating to notice the music! we had so much food and everything..EVERYTHING was eaten!

Di: I think that our next catch up dinner will be a funny one!

trish said...


you are awesome =) ppl ask how i fit stuff in - now it's my turn to ask you :P

and - love your food photos, i think i shall leave those to you from now on =)

great work sweetie!

Dianna said...



nah emmels, you're not anal, you're precise and organised and everything turns out perfect.