when mike started brainstorming ideas for my 30th birthday with me in the fall, i could. not. decide. on a theme. i knew i wanted to have a theme that was easy for our guests (and us!) to execute but for weeks i just couldn't think of anything that seemed to fit.
but then, one day in december, i saw a picture of a lumberjack themed kid's birthday party and it just clicked--lumberjacks are fun for all ages and i'm obsessed with buffalo check. i knew i had landed on the perfect post-holiday winter birthday party theme. the buffalo check plaid/lumberjack theme took off from there.
we created a simple invite on paperless post to get the word out. their invites are totally customizable (but there are tons of great templates and many are free to use) and they're way easier to manage than paper invites. you can track when people open them, send out easy reminders and send and receive messages easily through their website and app with your guests. we'll never go back to the hassle of paper invites and chasing RSVPs.
guests were encouraged to wear buffalo check plaid (or black if plaid wasn't their style) and we put together a little goodie bag for the best male and female outfits. i think the key to a good theme (that people will actually participate in) is that it's simple for people to execute--either things they would already have in their wardrobe or something that can be easily found on amazon. my friends and family SHOWED UP for this theme. my younger brother and future sister-in-law really embraced their inner lumberjack and lumberjill for the night's winning costumes.
finding a venue for the party was one of the easiest parts of the planning process. we wanted to try to keep the party (and our money) in andersonville, our awesome neighborhood in chicago. i reached out to the chamber of commerce and they sent a few venue options over to me. one of the venues was above one of my favorite antique stores, brimfield. i knew that if their event space was anything like their charming plaid-filled store, it would be the perfect spot for the party...and it didn't disappoint. from the taxidermy to wood burning fireplace to the beautiful plaid furniture, i knew we had found the perfect space to celebrate. jeff and julie, the owners of brimfield, were incredible to work with, helping us through the process from start to finish and were extremely accommodating. it was a seamless and simple process getting the space booked, which included key features like the ability to BYOB and a full kitchen to use for food prep. they also included a bartender in the rental fee and she turned out to be one of the best elements of the party! if you're looking for a unique and charming venue in chicago, look no further. jeff and julie have created a magnificent space.
after a couple failed attempts at finding decorations at target and michaels, we hit it BIG at joann fabrics' post-christmas sale. from fabric to charming little animals with buffalo check scarves to our buffalo check plates to buffalo check duct tape, we were able to find lots of perfect little pieces to complete the theme.
we were lucky enough to get the amazing kyle wheeler of kyle john photography to shoot the party. we used him for mike's surprise 30th birthday party and it was great to see him again. kyle has a keen eye and ability to float amongst the partygoers for awesome candid shots and we were thrilled to work with him again!
we were also able to utilize the vintage freight elevator door in the back of the venue for our makeshift photo booth, which was a big hit throughout the night.
when i found out my favorite local bakery was closed the week before my party, i decided to take on the challenge of making a fun, lumberjack/buffalo check themed cake. my dear friend, amy, helped me design and bake the cake and it was an absolute hit. it was a challenge my baking heart loved taking on and i am so proud of how it turned out!
mike and i planned out the alcohol we wanted, which included a keg of my favorite home state beer, spotted cow, and two signature drinks, moscow mules and old fashioneds. the drinks were topped off with the cutest little straws designed to look like birch trees. claire was our incredible bartender who rocked her post with grace and ease, all while making everyone laugh all night long (made all the more impressive by the fact that we had chosen two labor intensive drinks as our signature drinks).
we provided heavy appetizers and all the food came from our favorite wholesaler, costco. mike did a phenomenal job keeping the food coming hot and fresh out of the oven while still hanging out with our guests all night long. big shoutout to my host with the most for making this party come to life and executing it perfectly.
we were lucky and the weather cooperated for us, keeping the roads clear for everyone driving in from milwaukee and the chicagoland area. the biggest surprise of the night was the appearance of my aunt jill and uncle marc, who flew in from florida to surprise us all!
the night peaked with a lovely speech from my dad and a beautiful song from our nanny, hannah.
we ended the night across the street at our favorite neighborhood dive bar, simon's. i could not have asked for a better night to celebrate turning 30. i am so thankful to have so many amazing friends and family to walk alongside me through life. my life is better and more colorful because of them.
invites: paperless post
photographer: kyle john photography
hair & makeup: chyla camacho
ring sling: wildbird