Whitney’s 40th

We pulled off one huge surprise this summer:  A 40th Birthday Party for my sister, Whitney.  First off, let the record reflect:  She does not look 40!!!  People are always stunned to find out that she’s the older sister.  (And gents, she’s single!)


The ruse was dinner at Kayne Prime in Nashville.  My parents came in town from Florida, and we drove over from Knoxville.  We teamed up with four of Whitney’s dearest friends, Katy, Anne, another Whitney and Mary Elizabeth to host the surprise party.  And fortunately for us, the birthday girl had to work all day which gave us plenty of time to set up for the party at Anne’s house.  Because we were doing a sit-down dinner, there was a lot of work to do, including picking up all of the rental items, making the flower arrangements, and stringing dozens and dozens of white pennant flags in the trees above the 80 foot long table!  This was one of four carloads…

IMG_6529  By mid-afternoon, Anne’s front yard nearly had been transformed.


All of the hostesses live in different cities, with the exception of a few, so we put this party together using a secret Pinterest Board.  It was a huge help, as we attempted to collaborate and execute Anne’s vision of an intimate garden party, with deep purple and gray tones.  I brought some mercury glass vases, while my mom brought up her silver candlesticks, combined with Anne’s incredible flea market finds of purple glass vases, somehow it all came together.  When you compare the Pinterest Board with the photos from the party, I think we came pretty close! Hostess Whitney was the one responsible for turning the bouquets of flowers from Import Flowers in Nashville into these beautiful arrangements. Here are all of the flower arrangements in Anne’s kitchen.


By that evening, I have to admit: my nerves were shot.  I’d been lying to Whitney all day about my whereabouts… meeting a new babysitter to watch Anna Drake and Bear… getting myself ready… sending a dozen texts back and forth with the other hostesses who were at the house and anxiously awaiting our arrival!

So, at 7:30 pm, the five of us piled into our car and off we went.  Fortunately for us, Anne’s house is on the way to the restaurant.  As Michael steered the car down Anne’s street, Whitney announced, “My friend Anne lives up here on the right…her house is the one…where the lights are…whaaaaaaat???”  She realized something was up, and Michael stopped the car.  Whitney stepped out, and everyone jumped up from behind the hedges to shout “Surprise!!!”  More than 50 of her closest friends were waiting there to greet her as she came up the steps.  It was PERFECT!!!  She had no clue!


The front yard looked even more beautiful at night…


We enjoyed whiskey smashes (Whitney’s favorite) along with a refreshing avocado and cucumber gazpacho, Smoky Mountain beef sliders with a variety of decadent toppings and a refreshing tomato and mozzarella salad.  Mary Elizabeth worked with the caterer, Crave Designs to come up with the menu.  The ladies who worked the party did an incredible job all night, making sure every last guest was served.  And for dessert, Katie chose a divine chocolate ganache birthday cake from Dulce Desserts.


The wine flowed and so did the stories.  There were friends from college, from work, nearly all of her best girl friends, and of course her family.



Even Anna Drake made a quick appearance to wish “Aunt Wut-knee” a happy birthday.  She loved playing with the Trivial Pursuit cards.  Boxes of the cards lined the table since Trivial Pursuit is, after all, Whitney’s favorite game.


Thankfully, the weather was perfect.  A 20 X 40 tent was our back-up plan, but there was no raining on our parade!  Check out some of my favorite party details.  The libations and menu cards were printed on blank versions of the PaperlessPost invitation.  I made these using the pen feature on my Silhouette Cameo.  (For non-crafters, this probably makes no sense, but they’re pretty aren’t they?)


Another Silhouette Cameo project was the sparkly 4-0 atop her birthday cake!


Anne had these cards made from a shop on Etsy.  We put one at each place setting, tucked in the napkin fold.


Whitney had a great time and ushered in 40 with grace (and sequins!)  Happy Birthday, Whitney!  I love you!



2 responses to “Whitney’s 40th

  1. Well, this is just gorgeous! What a stunning party you throw. That’s all any of us can wish for — to usher in our next birthday with grace and sequins!

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