Living the Dream

This is how you get what you want…

How To Throw a Successful Surprise Party October 18, 2007

So we can’t all be party planners, or so you think … but it’s much easier than you think! Mammie has put together a few successful surprise parties, and it’s super easy! Surprise parties are a great way to make your loved ones feel special. Surprise parties aren’t always an expensive ordeal either… Here’s your quick guide on “HOW TO THROW A SUCCESSFUL SURPRISE PARTY”

1. Find yourself an accomplice. The middle person who is going to find out information, and help plan the event.

2. Plan a date- Make sure the special boy/ girl is available on the date. Easiest way to find out – ask your accomplice to see if the special person is free on a specific day… Have the accomplice make plans with the special person . For example: When Mammie threw her best friend a surprise birthday party, Mammie had Mammy (accomplice) make plans with her best friend on the day of the party. That way – best friend would never expect anything other than her ‘plans’ with Mammy (accomplice). You don’t want to plan the event too far in advance because the special person may find it suspicious. Ideally try to plan it 2-3 weeks in advance.

3. Pick a venue- Once your accomplice has secured a date- figure out a venue. Easiest way is to have your accomplice plan something where he/she can either take the special person to. For example: Mammy made plans with best friend to hang out during the day and then head home to get ready for dinner. Surprise! happened when they came home. Another example: Have accomplice make dinner plans with special person- and have everyone at that location at least 45 min before. (Saying 45 min will translate to people getting there just on time)

4. Send out the invitations- Best way to send an invitation is via phone. Phone calls will not leak to the special person. However, sometimes we don’t always have their phone numbers. If you don’t have everyone’s phone number- get their email. Best electronic way of sending out invitations are through evites. Go to and you can create your own evite. If you aren’t close friends with special person’s friends- find a trust worthy person to be a middle person. For example: When Mammie threw a surprise party for her brother, she had his roommate forward all the evites. This way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting someone. ***MAKE SURE YOU EMPHASIZE THE *SURPRISE* ASPECT***

5. Follow up- Follow up with the accomplice. Follow up with your guests. A week before your event- send out a follow up email. A few days before your event- get a final count. Make sure the plans are still in effect with accomplice and special person. Confirm reservations or accommodations for event night.

6. Day of event: Set everything up with extra time. When you are planning something like this – you want to make sure you give yourself an extra 45 min-1.5 hours- just in case. If you having the event at your residence, or at a residence, make sure you are completely ready before the guests arrive. If you are having the party at a restaurant – try to arrive early enough for decorations. Most restaurants will allow large parties to sit when 1/2 the party is present so make sure you get some people there on time.

7. Right before the accomplice and special person arrive: make sure everyone is in their place. Last thing you want is a straggler to be wandering, or making excessive noise that will ruin the surprise. Have the accomplice text, or call you right before they arrive. That way you can make sure you have people in place.

8. SURPRISE!!!!! Try to have someone there to capture the moment.

*Keep in mind* A surprise party is an event to remember. Make sure you have a camera to capture all the moments. Try to decorate the venue so that your special person will have no doubt in their mind that this was a planned event. Get a blank scrapbook, color pens, and have your guests write a little message while they wait for the big surprise.

The above 8 steps should be able to aid you in planning a surprise party. The key is to have enough time to plan, set up and execute your party. A surprise party is such a heart warming experience. Go the extra mile and get people together and share a special night with those you love. Good luck!


How to dress for an Engagement Party September 20, 2007

Have you noticed the increasing trend of engagement parties amongst your friends? For some of us who are unaware of the appropriate engagement party may wonder ”What do I wear?” Although some engagement party invitations will specifically state the dress code, others may simply state the date, and location of the party. The following steps will lead you to a stress free outfit choice:

1. Take a look at the invitation:

-Where is the party taking place? Someone’s residence, or a five star restaurant? Seems obvious but someone’s residence is probably going to be a bit more casual than the five star restaurant.

-When is the party taking place? Season, and time of day. If the party is being held during the Summer day, you may be tempted to wear white. DO NOT wear white to the engagement party. You do not want to outshine the bride-to-be in any way. Even if the party is being held during the day, do not wear shorts – opt for a knee length dress or skirt. Make sure you have the appropriate cover up just in case you are under dressed.

2.Ask your friends who were also invited what they are wearing. This is the ‘strength by numbers’ strategy. The more people you communicate with, the more in sync you will be with the rest of the guests.

Look at the big picture. You want to look your best- this is the beginning of the couple’s memorbable ”wedding” chapter of life. Dress according to venue, type of event ( BBQ, 5 course meal), time of day, and season.

*Keep in mind* – Engagement parties are never as formal as the wedding. So, if you have 2 outfits in mind, wear the less formal outfit to the engagement and save the formal outfit for the big day.

Some appropriate outfit options for an engagement party:


Winter- Try to wear something that is either a long dress, or skirt. If you have to wear something shorter than knee length, make sure you wear appropriate closed toe shoes, or boots. Try not to over do the outerwear. Remember, you don’t want to steal all the attention.

Spring- Think Sunday best. Or what you would wear for a family brunch. Something with light, larger patterns, or pastel colors. Again, nothing too short.

Summer-Summer is a great time to find your engagement party outfit because there are so many fun sundresses available. Remember to take a cover-up. If you do wear something without straps, or thin straps, I’d recommend you wearing your cover up into the event. Better safe than sorry. Try to avoid showing too much skin… unless of course it’s a pool party.

Fall- Autumn colors tend to be less festive and happy but try to be fitting with your season. Layering in the fall is a great way to make your outfit more exciting. Even if they are having an ”outside” party, try to dress appropriately for the weather.


Sorry, no season guide here but the guidelines are simple.

Try to find something that has a collar. Whether it be long sleeve, short sleeve, polo, or button down is depending on the actual party. Jeans are usually accepted as long as they are on the dark wash side. Flip flops are usually frowned upon unless it’s a pool party or on the beach.