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How To Create A Soulful Celebration

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If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I recently threw Nick an epic surprise 40th birthday party. After sharing the details of his birthday bash, I’ve been getting so many messages and questions about how I put the party together and created an unforgettable event, so I thought I would share all the juicy details with you here.

To begin with, this event was almost a year in the making. I’m not quite sure how I managed to keep it a secret when I have the world’s worst poker face (especially when it comes to my husband) but I did. I kept it under wraps for 11 whole months. Nick truly had no idea — the look on his face when he walked into the room was priceless!

I always knew I was going to do something special for Nick’s 40th. My intention was to surround him with all his favourite people, so that he would feel incredibly loved, held and supported… and that he did.

The first big decision was what kind of event and where to hold it. I decided I wanted to throw Nick a beautiful lunch on his parents’ property. It’s a gorgeous location full stop, but it’s also where we got married. So for us, it’s a spot that holds a very special place in our hearts.

With the date and the venue locked down, it was time to start planning. I knew people would be flying in from Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast and even LA, so one of the first things I did was send out a ‘save the date’, to give people loads of time to book flights, organise baby sitters and make it happen.

I then discovered the epic @boho.sisters Renae and Harmony on Instagram (I love instagram for that), and immediately knew I wanted to work with them. They came to check out the property and I shared my vision with them. They did all the styling, set up and event coordination and were a dream to work with.

The Boho Sisters then introduced me to Nat from @heavenlyblooms who did all the florals. Nat and I had a meeting and I briefed her that it was for my husband’s 40th, so I didn’t want pinks and reds. Instead, I had visions of Australian natives with neutral tones… Nat took this theme, ran with it, and totally nailed it. Another dream to work with!

The girls also introduced me to @therusticatheart who did all the beautiful name settings, timber signage, and cake topper, which were such a special touch.

I love giving gifts, so I wanted all of our nearest and dearest to walk away with some goodies. I know that usually, guests at a party give gifts, they don’t get them. But I wanted to shower our attendees with love — after all, this was a celebration of Nick’s life, and these are the most important people in the world to him. So I wanted everyone to walk away with not only a heart full of memories, but a bag full of goodies...

@ever.eco supplied these super cute eco tote bags for everyone to take their goodies home in. They also supplied the funky straws for drinking.

At every place setting, our guests found themselves laden with an epic @hartroks gift pack, filled with the most amazing crystals and palo santo incense. (The men got clear quartz and the women got rose quartz... It was such a special touch and a real talking point at the tables.)

I also had a beautiful display of some stunning @theintrinsicway journals, bowls, affirmation cards, purses and so much more, so that everyone could come up and pick and choose what they wanted… watching the looks on their faces made my heart burst!

Just before lunch, I surprised Nick with the most epic interactive dancing and drumming workshop from Rhythm Culture. I was so surprised by how much everyone got into it! This was a massive highlight for me, and something I will never forget. I actually had most of our friends say this was the best party they had been to, and ask how were they ever going to top it for their partners... What a compliment!

Lunch was then served by the amazing @ckcoffeebarandwholefoods. It was all organic, with wild caught fish and slow cooked lamb. When I briefed them, I shared that I wanted the food to reflect how we eat at home, so they made sure everything was local, organic and made with so much love. They did an epic job — all the food was delicious, and it brought so much joy to the party… and to our bellies!

My beautiful friend @sheridanjoyaustin created this epic, delicious, healthy, gut friendly, full of goodness and no crap birthday cake, which was a massive hit. I told her it had to be chocolate (Nick’s favourite) and I sent her a picture of what I wanted it to look like, and she totally knocked it out of the park. You can get the recipe here.

Nick and I don’t drink alcohol (we even had a dry wedding), so the beverage side of things was another opportunity to get creative. Naturally, I called in my favourites — @remedydrinks, @greenestreetjuice, @byronbeverageco and @imbibeliving — to keep my guests well hydrated. (And again, this was something that people raved about.).

After lunch and dessert, there was another surprise for Nick...

In January 2018, we started ballroom and latin dance classes together. A few months in, I stealthily told our teacher that I wanted her to teach us a Rumba set to Nick’s song Just Us, that we would perform at Nick’s surprise party. To keep it a secret, we told him it was for a competition, and we spent months learning the choreography. Then, on the day of the party, I whipped out some costumes and told him the truth — that it wasn’t for a competition, and in fact, it was for his party and we were about to perform it for the first time in front of all our family and friends! He was a bit nervous (as was I!), but we nailed all the steps and had a ball doing it.

Because we wanted to keep the whole day ‘in the family’, our beautiful and super talented friends @jordiepieface and @roybyrne were the souls behind the cameras, and captured the whole day perfectly (don’t ya think?!).

… And there you have it! That about sums up our beautiful, incredible day, held in honour of a beautiful, incredible soul!

I think when planning ANY sort of soulful celebration or event, whether it’s a birthday, wedding or something else, it’s really important to stay true to yourself. Do what you love and what resonates with you... If you don’t want alcohol, don’t have it. If you want a fire dancer, go for it. It’s got to be a representation of you.  

When it comes to planning any event or soulful party always stay true to you. It’s a representation of YOU!

And finally, throughout my planning, I always had one thing in the back of my mind: how can I over deliver, not just for Nick, but for everyone who was there…

All of these thoughts — and all of our wonderful guests and providers — combined to make it a day that we will never forget, and that was filled with so much love, we all just about burst.

Now it’s over to you, beautiful — do you have any special tips or tricks for throwing an epically soulful celebration? I’d love to hear them! Let’s get an awesome list going in the comments, so we can all come back here and get inspired the next time we’re planning an event!

Comments (6)

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    • Laura Plumb
      January 31, 2019

      this is so beautiful melissa. you are such a goddess bringing so much love and inspiration to our world. xo

    • Jana miller
      February 1, 2019

      Hi melissa. This sounds epic!!! What a beautiful amazing day you all.must have had xoxo

      • February 8, 2019

        It was so beautiful Jana and something I will remember and treasure forever. xx

    • Adele Hayne
      April 6, 2019

      What an amazing party for Nick. So thoughtful, generous and full of soul. You are an inspiration Melissa

      • April 9, 2019

        It was seriously one of the best days of my life. I wish we could do it every day. xx

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