There’s no question that each birthday is a milestone in its own right, however some dates seem to deserve more celebration. This was the case for my father’s 60th birthday this past August. We decided very early on that we wanted to throw him not just any celebration, but rather a celebration that would make him speechless and take his breath away for longer than the evening itself.
When deciding on the theme, we thought of what we loved about him and more importantly, what he loved. We came up with the Art Deco aesthetic, a style that reflects his personality and that worked with black tie perfectly.
Black tie also injected a certain degree of excitement for the guests, who could truly dress up and embody the glamour of the evening. It was also important for us to keep the event a surprise for him, in order to guarantee maximum effect, so we took advantage of my sister’s birthday happening one week later to tell him that it was her party on that date, which we were planning in a burlesque club (something that he wouldn’t see through and that justified the dress code). He didn’t suspect a thing, at least to start with.
The planning of the party, which we elected would happen at The Savoy hotel in Central London, went by at breakneck speed. A whirlwind of floral arrangements, band choices, centrepieces, cake and food tastings, calligraphy and praying that no one out of the 80 plus invited guests would spill the beans. Luckily, no on did, until the very last day when someone slipped up slightly. I tell you, this kind of thing always happens at the last minute! My dad started to get a bit suspicious and he later told us that he expected a dinner with maybe 10 friends. So thankfully, our secret was still quite safe.
The night of the party, I was at the venue coordinating everything and my sister and mother brought him in a taxi. The moment they walked through the revolving doors, my father first, all the guests doused him in exploding gold confetti and yelled, “Surprise!” The emotion in his eyes was the best part of the night.
Following that was a flurry of greetings, drinks, photo booth pictures and his present reveal: a 1958 Panther motorbike with custom helmet, bought by all his friends there.
Not quite able to believe that he was now the proud owner of his dream bike, we sat down to dinner in the ballroom, complete with jazz band and singers, which was interspersed with my speech and a slideshow of his life and videos of non-attendees put together by my sister. When the moment came to cut the cake, the voice of Stacey Kent came over the speakers singing Happy Birthday to him.
My father’s face did not stop glowing from the moment he saw her, as she is his absolute favourite jazz singer and we all danced to her set. The night concluded with a DJ and everyone kicking their heels off and strutting their stuff on the dancefloor.
It truly was memorable and magical for everyone, not just the birthday boy, and that ultimately is the goal with any event that La Fête throws.