Nautical Surprise 60th Birthday Party

Recently my parents turned the BIG 6-0! So of course we had to throw them a BIG birthday bash and it had to be a SURPRISE (because who doesn’t like a good surprise?)!

We fell in love with the beautiful function room at Finz in Salem. There was plenty of space, lots of natural light, a built-in bar, private restrooms and an elevator for anyone who needed it. It was perfect! And with the venue located right on the water, naturally, we went with a nautical theme.

The Print House created a super fun nautical invitation for us:


Last month, we asked my parents to save the date for a night out to celebrate their milestone birthdays. They had no idea they would actually be celebrating with 60 of their closest family and friends. Our night began with a limo ride to Salem and plenty of bubbly, of course!















When we arrived at Finz, we had my parents take the elevator up with my grandparents, while my siblings and I ran up the stairs to get there just in time. The elevator doors opened and we all yelled SURPRISE!

And we pulled it off! They were completely surprised!














We asked each guest to share a favorite memory or something they love about the birthday boy and girl.








The centerpieces were lanterns filled with pebbles, set on authentic fish netting decorated with seashells and starfish. We tied rope around the silverware to continue with the nautical theme.

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With a little Pinterest inspiration, we created this nautical “Happy Birthday” banner. Additionally, we gathered some old and some new photos to create these adorable collages!


Everyone seemed to have a great time…













Especially the guests of honor…


The food was fantastic and the night was a great success! A huge thanks to the Finz staff for everything they did and also to Cakes for Occasions for creating a beautiful nautical cake.








Cheers to 60 years!

The Swank Team

Beth’s Surprise Birthday Party at the Connors Center

At Swank Events, we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to work with such amazing clients.  And every once in awhile we find ourselves fortunate enough to work with the friends of former clients, and the fun starts all over again!

A few years ago, Kelli had the pleasure of helping Mary Beth plan her sister Judy’s surprise birthday party (and WHAT A PARTY that one was)! We were thrilled to hear from Mary Beth again in April, however this time she was referring her good friend Mike, who was trying to pull together a surprise 50th birthday party for his wife, Beth. After talking to Mike, it was clear that Beth was a pretty spectacular individual and he wanted to throw an equally spectacular birthday party for her. Unfortunately, Mike’s original venue cancelled on him just a month before the party date. With a busy schedule and family vacation coming up, Mike knew there was a lot of planning left to make this party happen, and very little time to do it! We are so glad he called in the Swank team to help pull together all the details!

The venue for this top secret affair was the Pavilion at the Connors Center in Dover, MA. The simple, open air Pavilion provided a nice, laid-back feel and the perfect atmosphere for this party.


Coral and lilac tones brought color and warmth into the Pavilion, and globe lights contributed to the ambiance of the evening.

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The Grits and Groceries Orchestra not only provided an excellent assortment of funk and soul music, but also provided the cover story that made the surprise a success! We had a friend of the birthday girl invite Beth and Mike to hear the G&G Orchestra play a concert nearby that night. Little did Beth know that the “local concert” she thought she was going to was actually a fantastic party with 50 of her nearest and dearest there to celebrate her!

Bone Daddy’s Burgers food truck catered the party, providing a great assortment of fresh burgers, truffle fries, vegetarian options and tasty basil lemonade.

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Using photos provided by Beth’s sister and friends, Kelli created customized image boards spelling out Beth’s name with pictures of her with family and friends over the years.



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Mason jars doubled as guests’ customized drinking glasses for the evening and favors.

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Mike wanted this party to have a sentimental factor, so Kelli suggested doing memory letters. Mike secretly reached out to all of Beth’s family and friends, and asked them to send him their favorite memory of Beth. The response was overwhelming and the memories that people contributed were HILARIOUS! After reading those letters, we absolutely understand why so many people love Beth! The Swank Events team printed out the letters and placed them in sealed envelopes for Beth to read later. We also included extra paper and envelopes for any of the guests at the party who didn’t have a chance to send in their memories beforehand.


This fantastic surprise party was definitely one of our favorites. Mike and Beth, thank you SO MUCH for letting us be a part of this big night! We can’t wait to celebrate with you and your friends again soon!


The Swank Team

Alternative Guest Book Ideas

While we love the inspirational and heartfelt messages a traditional guest book encourages, sometimes it’s nice to mix it up a little bit! Why not consider one of these creative ideas for your big day?


Photo Guest Book
This is a great way to share those gorgeous engagement photos!
Photo Credit: The Lucky Penny



Wooden Heart Keepsake Frame
Ask your guests to write a message for you on a wooden heart and place it in the frame. The end result will be something meaningful that can be displayed in your home!
Photo Credit: Etsy




Photo Puzzle
This is our all time favorite guest book idea. If you’re a puzzle lover, this one’s for you!
Photo Credit: Bella Puzzles


Wishing Stones
Have your guests write well wishes on stones like these. They can be displayed in a vase, basket or another way to fit in with your theme!
Photo Credit: Wedding Bee


Photo Booth
So this one is not an original idea & a lot of couples have photo booths nowadays, but that’s because it’s FUN!
(If you opt for the DIY photo booth, we are obsessed with the custom made backdrops by The Keep Collective, so be sure to check them out!)
Photo Credit: Wedding Chicks + Smiley’s Photo Booths









Have your guests leave a little message on a Jenga piece that you can revisit on game night!
Photo Credit: A Magical Affair








Of course this is just a sampling of all the great ideas out there, but we have so many more so contact us today! Your guests will sign anything you ask them to so the possibilities really are endless!

If you did something creative with your guest book, we’d love to hear about it!

Happy Planning!

The Swank Team