My thoughtful Sister-In-Law, Ali, recently turned 30 and her husband Justin decided to throw a surprise birthday bash to celebrate her. April is busy season for Justin’s profession (corporate tax accountant) so he asked Ali’s family and if we could help out with the details and decor. Of course I said absolutely–I just love planning parties and Ali deserves nothing but the best! She is one of the sweetest people and is an amazing Aunt to my kiddos Ava and Carlito. I got started on the planning right away.
We started searching for venues right away and hoped to find something in the city. Things book up quickly and can get expensive real fast. We used a couple of websites, such as Eventup and Convene to get pricing and availability directly from venues. We narrowed it down to 3 venues in Brooklyn and a venue called The Farm Soho in Manhattan.
The venue in Soho was super rustic and chic and centrally located to all Ali’s friends and family. The Farm also allowed us to bring our own alcohol, food and music and stay as late (and as loud) as we wanted. It was a no-brainer, we went with The Farm Soho! If you ever get a chance, it is an interesting space that is actually a shared workplace, but they rent out their space for parties too.
After we established the party spot, I needed to plan the decor and theme of Ali’s party. After asking some questions, I found out Ali’s favorite color is cerulean blue (its like an ocean/sky blue) and her favorite cake is chocolate with chocolate frosting. The later was not too surprising, as Ali loves all things chocolate.
She is also a huge fan of baked goods, in particular doughnuts; we all decided a doughnut-wall was must for the dessert table! Since the venue was so rustic, I decided to use mason jars for flower vases and burlap on the tables. Can’t ignore the decor essentials, right?
So first things first–in my mind one of the most important items for a birthday is the birthday cake. I might be the only one who puts this much importance on cake, but I can’t help it. There is just something so wonderful and delightful about cake–it’s beautiful, delicious and should always reflect the birthday person!
I have never done a naked cake, but I decided this would be perfect for Ali’s rustic 30th birthday. I also wanted it bigger than life and imagined a 3 tier wedding style cake. Call me crazy, but I just can’t help myself.
Planning the cake was a bit challenging, I love chocolate cakes but had a hard time deciding on a filling. Since she loves chocolate, I decided what could be more decadent than chocolate gauche? Here is the recipe I decided to use–it is one of the most moist cakes I’ve made and super rich. I would just recommend using more dowels than I used (I used three on the bottom tier, I really should have used 4).
For this cake I decorated with fresh, white carnations, large and small. I also used the leafs to add a pop of green. To create a bit of glamour I added gold heart-shape foil flakes directly to the side of the cake. I used a paint brush and almond extract. So lovely and glamorous!
Speaking of birthday cakes, we actually had two cakes–Ali’s 3 tiered cake and a special Boston Cream Cake from Conti’s in the Bronx for my Father-In-Law. They actually share the same birthday so we had to get him a cake too of course (and Boston Cream is his all-time favorite).
Now on to the doughnut-board! I saw a doughnut-board pin the other day and thought, how genius is this for doughnut lover like Ali! I went through many photos but couldn’t find one that was the color and size I had in mind. So I had to play around with a few wood stains and wood.
I will have a separate post to show step-by-step how I created this particular doughnut-board, but for now here are the pictures of the finished product.
For the actual donuts, I ordered 2 dozen freshly made donuts from The Donut Pub in the West Village. Because it was a large order they delivered! There seriously nothing better than freshly frosted and cakey doughnuts. Actually, these doughnuts were the biggest hit of the evening!
So back to the rustic venue we hosted Ali’s surprise 30th birthday–The Farm Soho has a DJ booth loft where my husband played only Ali’s favorite tunes. We used the venue’s sound system and AV equipment to show a slide show too–so personalized!
Lastly, for an extra entertainment boost, we had a Step-and-Repeat for Photo-ops! Here are more pictures of the party we hosted, I hope you can use some as inspiration for yours!
Cheers and happy partying!