Well hello there and happy Monday to you! How was your weekend? Relaxing? Exciting? Boring? Whatever it was, I hope you enjoyed it. Our weekend was the good kind of crazy. It was my dad’s 60th birthday and we threw a big ole’ Workman party at our house. We danced, sang, and ate lots of ice cream cake. I love milestone birthdays. They are good for the soul and a time to reset. I’ll be posting photos of the whole thing in a couple weeks – stay tuned.

Our Surprise Engagement Party

If you’re caught up on last week’s post’s this is old news. But if not, here’s a quick recap: Brandon’s Valentine’s Day proposal didn’t happen the way I thought it would – primarily because all our family and friends weren’t there to celebrate with us. Not only were they not there: he didn’t tell them he was going to propose.  I was a bit disappointed. But decided I wanted to find a way to share this news with everyone and turn his proposal into something spectacular that everyone could participate in. What better way than to throw a surprise engagement party?!

It was February 18th and I needed to get planning. Upcoming travel was going to be tricky: We were in Mexico for 3 weeks. Home for 3 days. Off to Florida for a week (you better believe we went to Disney) and home again for a few days before we spent the majority of April in California. This left 1 potential day to throw a party so I said my prayers that all of my preferred vendors would be available for that day.

I compiled a list of our 40 closest friends and family members and began putting the invite together. But how was I going to get all of our loved ones in one room to surprise them?

Well well well… both Brandon and I had big birthdays coming up: I was turning 25 in April and he was turning 50 in May. What better disguise for an engagement party than a joint birthday party?! Ha. This was my every dream come true. I love surprising people and throwing a party. Both 25 and 50 are milestone birthdays so it didn’t seem too over the top to plan a big party. I felt extra clever because no one would question why the entire event was about both of us since it was “our” birthday. Plus – I’ve always wanted to throw a combined birthday for his 50th and my 25th called “She’s Finally Half His Age!”

It was too short of a timeframe to get printed invites, so I used Evite and here was our invitation:

This had our names written all over it. Literally.

So I got to planning. Over the next 3 weeks in Mexico, I planned the whole event from our living room. We picked a date. Found a venue. And I got wrapped up in the invites, the cake, the menu, the flowers, and every last detail. It felt like a mini wedding. I hadn’t figured out how we’d announce our engagement but that would come later.

The big challenge would be not telling anyone for an entire month. I wear my heart on my sleeve and we’re both not good at secrets. But what was the point of going through all this work if we told everyone ahead of time? We kept telling ourselves this over and over, especially before we saw our friends throughout that month in order to keep the secret a surprise.

I fell so in love with the idea that we’d get to share this moment with everyone we love – on our terms.

When it came to the planning, things fell into place and a miracle happened: every one of the vendor’s I hoped to work with were available. I have to give a HUGE shout out to this team: they brought my vision to life and were flexible every step of the way. We only did one walk through and the event came together seamlessly. It was a lot of planning but the day of was flawless and exactly what I had envision. If you’re ever planning an event in the Portland area, I would highly recommend using this team of people. They won’t disappoint.

Portland Event Vendors

Flowers: Swoon Floral Design

Kim is unbelievable. I had seen her work before and she was my very first choice for a florist. I told her my vision of an all-white party and she absolutely nailed it. The table arrangements were perfection and the photo wall was spectacular. I still light up when I see her work. Working with her the day of was amazing: she made the setup and take down a breeze. I will use her again and again and again.

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Cake: Rosycakes

Rosycakes created the tastiest part of the event: the cake and cupcakes. Their tasting process was amazing and they had white glove service from start to finish. The day of, I realized I ordered the wrong cake size so they whipped up an extra 2 dozen cupcakes within hours of the event starting. They were a life saver and their deserts were divine. My favorite were the bride and groom cupcakes that they delivered after we made the engagement announcement at the party.

Hotel: The Nines

If you’ve ever been to Portland, you’ve likely heard of The Nines Hotel. It is in the heart of the city and boast 2 of the best restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. Brandon and I are regulars and have years of special memories at this hotel. This was my first choice when planning the event. Not only were they available, but they went above and beyond to make sure the event was flawless. We turned their hallway conference center into the perfect dinner for 40. If you’re planning an event or wedding in Portland, The Nines is a must.

Entertainment: John English

I met John English when I was 11 years old at my mom’s 50th birthday party. He sang all the classics: from Frank Sinatra to Bobby Darin. He was such a hit that we invited him back 4 years later to perform at my dad’s 50th. He was the first person that came to mind for this party because his frank Sinatra inspired set would set the exact mood I was hoping to create for the party. Classy. Sophisticated. Timeless. Little did I know that Brandon had also used him for a few party’s so his intrinsic connection to us made his performance extra special.

Photographer: Whitney Lyons

Whitney is our photographer extraordinaire. She was so busy taking photos that night that we didn’t get one together! I met her last year when I was thinking about creating a fashion blog and she’s become a staple at every family event since. She seamlessly integrates into any event and has the uncanny ability to pull everyone together for the can’t miss group shots while also capturing the unforgettable candid moments. Her work is amazing.

Videographer: Creative Asset

Brandon and I have worked with the Creative Asset team for years. James and Ricardo are dear friends and we were ecstatic to have them there to capture the evening. When the time came to rearrange the dessert table, they gracious helped out – they’re like family to us. From a production standpoint, they come well prepared, capture the precious moments, and are quick to make any video come to life – no waiting around for weeks and weeks. Their work speaks for itself – the video from the night will be posted soon.

Photo Booth: Happymatic

At the last minute -I’m talking 2 days before the event – I reached out to Happymatic to setup a photo booth at the event and they came through in every way. They were a breeze to work with. They came early, brought a chest of photo booth props, and stayed far later than they needed to. It was a quick setup and take down process and the photos were a hit! They were high quality and the prints were the perfect keepsake for our guests. I will definitely use them at parties to come.

I loved every minute of the planning for this event. The team made it fun and we all worked hard to make it a reality. With all the details taken care of, we only had 2 critical components left to figure out before the party: we needed to talk to his daughters and plan the surprise announcement.

See you tomorrow 🙂

Xoxo Natalie

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