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Do: A Milestone Party

Do: A Milestone Party

House.jpg

Earlier this month I threw a Hawaiian Lu’au 40th birthday party for my husband that went down in Buzzard family history. We had about 75 guests, kept things pretty simple, and it was a smashing success. Of course I did it on a budget, because I’m Mrs. Simply Silicon Valley and that’s how I roll.

Here are the key ingredients you need to pull it off (it’s easier than you think):

  1. A HOUSE.

    We already pay so much to live in Silicon Valley, might as well use your home to host the party. Talk to all of your neighbors beforehand and give them a heads-up. I also called the Sheriff, just to make sure we didn’t get busted (though that would’ve made for a great story).


  2. A BAND.

    I hired First in Flight, a local 80’s dance band made up of 4 young, enthusiastic, talented guys. I found them because I know the drummer. They were incredible, the price was right, and I would hire them again in a heartbeat. They played half their own music, half cover songs. My favorite cover they did was Taylor Swift’s, “Look What You Made Me Do.” Check out their YouTube videos. These guys are going places.


  3. A PIG.

    It’s always good to have a “Wow” factor. My first “Wow” factor was a band rocking out in front of my house. The second “Wow” factor was that there was a whole roast pig to greet guests upon arrival.

    The Filipino word for a roast pig is lechon and it’s their go-to celebration food. My Filipino friends helped me figure out where to order from and what dishes to select. Kalesa Restaurant in Milpitas provided the food and I was very happy with their service. I got a 50-pound lechon, uncut, for $335 and three side dishes: garlic rice, pancit bihon (a noodle dish), and chopsuey. Kalesa delivered the food to my house and the grand total after tax and delivery was $560. I didn’t bother trying to keep it warm; I just put it on a table, kept it covered, and trusted it would be delicious even if it wasn’t piping hot.


  4. A ROAST & TOAST.

    It’s disappointing when there’s an event to honor someone yet the whole party passes without a specific moment when everyone comes together to mark the occasion. This powerful component often goes missing. Pause the fête at peak attendance and take some time for an open mic opportunity to roast (tell embarrassing or funny stories, poke fun at the person in love) or toast (share what they mean to you, what you appreciate about them, what you wish for them) the person being celebrated. Just stay close to the mic: you might need to give a wordy guest the signal to wrap it up—a discreet rub on the back works well.


  5. AN AFTER-PARTY DANCE PLAYLIST.

    As the evening draws to a close, play some dance beats for enthusiastic attendees who have more energy to release. You might be surprised by who’s got moves, and the night is still young! The after-party often ends up being the best part of the night, especially for the host who can now take a deep breath and celebrate that the party was a hit.



A house, a band, a pig, a roast & toast, an afterparty: five ingredients for an unforgettable night. But you couldn’t do any of it without the people. It’s the people who make a party, and it’s these same people who can help you pull off the event on a budget.

My next post will give behind-the-scenes details on throwing a big party: how to avoid overspending, and how to create an evening with nice flow. If there are specific questions you want answered, let me know in the comments.

One job I didn’t successfully delegate was event photographer, so these photos don’t do the party justice. Yet, in our age of magazine-quality-photos for everything, perhaps these basic snapshots tell the story best. We were all too busy enjoying the moment to be stuck behind a camera, and if that isn’t the sign of a great party, I don’t know what is.

The scene of the party.

The scene of the party.

The stage. The band arrived nice and early to get their equipment set up.

The stage. The band arrived nice and early to get their equipment set up.

The band,  First in Flight.
The pig, delivered to the house by  Kalesa Restaurant.

The pig, delivered to the house by Kalesa Restaurant.

The Roast & Toast from above.

The Roast & Toast from above.

The Roast & Toast from ground level.

The Roast & Toast from ground level.

Last call! The ladies that closed down the party. Each lady has a dancing man that goes along with her.

Last call! The ladies that closed down the party. Each lady has a dancing man that goes along with her.

Do: Family Portrait

Do: Family Portrait

Do: Classes at West Valley

Do: Classes at West Valley