Neon and Neutral Party {So Glad You Were Born!}

Neon and neutral are the perfect colors for a party.  You may remember that I entered a contest a while back in an effort to win treats for a party I wanted to throw for my friend, Erika.  I didn’t win, but decided to throw the party anyway.  It can be really hard to figure out a theme for an adult birthday party.  So I went with a color theme instead.  I am beyond grateful that the amazingly talented Jackie Culmer, photographer extraordinaire, said she could come and take some pictures before the guests arrived.  If you haven’t checked out my post of one of Jackie’s parties from a few days ago, go see it now!
{See the original inspiration board for this party.}
Along with the color scheme, I decided to use the letter “E” all around to further personalize the event for the guest of honor.  I was able to make large letters for big visual impact while still being able to keep the costs down by purchasing small sheets of Styrofoam and conning one of my best party resources (my dad) in to cutting them out on his saw.  A few coats of spray paint were all they needed.  We also reused some plywood from a previous party to make some of the smaller ones.  And instead of calling it a birthday party, I decided to instead use “So Glad You Were Born,” which is directly inspired by Shanna Murray’s poster on Oh Happy Day.
These are my girls!!!  Love them.  We are very rarely in the same place altogether (Kayla, second from the right lives in Texas) so to have a photo with them was very special.  The birthday girl, Erika is on the end on the right and Taryn, right next to me (in my fave $10 H&M dress – I can’t quit you!), was ridiculously gracious in opening up her home for us to use.
This is my favorite party to date.  I know I say that about all of them but this one was ridiculously fun and personal.  I created little vignettes around the party space of all the things she loves or that remind us of her.  And they all had to fit the neon and neutral scheme because I am that OCD.  Erika is a woman of Christ so I decided to share that with a neon yellow cross (which would look kind of awesome hanging in a home I think).  She is also a lover of the 80’s so I created a custom “cootie” catcher in her honor.  Under the flaps were 80’s dances that she had to do when she landed on them.  We only pulled that out after all the guests were gone and it was just closest friends.  Although she would have done it with the party in full swing.  That is why we love Erika.  For other pops of color I used tall cylinder vases filled with neon pink ‘Easter Grass’ (I’m calling it that because I have no idea what that stuff is actually called…) and topped it with an air plant.  In other areas I put flowers in empty glass jars I had collected and spray painted on stripes in neon yellow and pink to jazz them up.
Erika loves office supplies and spreadsheets so what better way to show that than with spray painted calculators and erasers.
Yes, that is a neon pink fondue pot.  Thanks for asking.  And check out the bling on those skates!  I did NOT do that, btw.  All Erika!  She is full of child-like wonder and joy and so I asked her if I could borrow the skates.  I put them along side some bright yellow bubbles and we were all set.
It was literally one hundred bazillion degrees that day so we kept food crazy simple.  Pretzels and kettle corn were set out for a little snack and we had a company come and set up smoothies and funnel cakes.  I am not at liberty to say which company we used as they were quite awful and I don’t want to recommend them to anyone.  But I will say, they may have been a screaming deal, but you get what you pay for…
Anyone interested in a sugar cookie bake off?  Because Taryn has the best recipe.  And she will go to blows over it.
I wanted a way to share some photos and mementos from Erika’s life and needed a simple way to display them.  I found these two really large frames at a thrift store and used cording to wrap them.  Anyone else a Fanadu (meaning you have an irrational love for the disco movie Xanadu)?  No?  Just Erika, then?
I borrowed some photo albums and memory books from Erika a few weeks before the party.  I pulled out some of the best treasures I could find, including her DMV written test from when she was 15, report cards and school photos, scanned them and then using neon colored zip ties attached them to the cording.
We did two versions of a guest book for her.  The traditional writing of sentimental message on a card sort as well as a personalized plate.  You can find the enamel paint pens at your local craft store.  I had really wanted to do something like that since seeing Lauren’s tutorial.
I really love how these books turned out.  I spray painted them and created silly book titles that also represent the guest of honor.  And now I need to give a huge shout out to Ms. Jenny of Hank and Hunt.  She came up with the cool patterns in neon and a neutral that you saw around the party on pennant banners.  She created the banner that hung behind the pool that lead to the look of all the other signage at the party.  And to top that off, she created water bottle labels and cupcake flags.  Boom.  And guess what?!  She is going to share them with you!  Jenny is the best!!!
Huge thank you to Jackie Culmer for taking such amazing photos.  I can’t wait to work with her again!  Huge thank you to Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop for creating a really fun splatter paint cake (of which I promptly forgot in the fridge) and cupcakes.  My parties would not be complete without my father and his super talented skills.  Thanks, dad!  And of course thank you to Taryn for the use of her house and for helping me with some of the crafting.  Oh and to you, spray paint – you’re my heart.  What would I be without you?
All photos by Jackie Culmer


  1. Thank you SO much for the inspiration!!!! It’s a good friend’s 40th birthday in 3 weeks and you’ve really saved the day! She’s hosting the party so she knows of some things. I went with her to Party City yesterday to pick colors. We tried a bunch of options and finally I suggested pink and yellow (gave your blog credit =). and she LOVED it. So that’s all she knows. 4 friends are I are going to make the ‘frame collage’ (a neighbor was throwing away a huge light ‘box’ that is perfect), the huge letters (I happen to have plywood), a friend is making the cookies, little vignettes – owls, B Aurther, mustaches, wonder woman, david bowie, armadillos (we also live in Texas =). Thank you sooooo much!!!
    I’m now on the hunt to find neon pink ‘easter grass’… not having much luck and neon yellow zip ties.
    Thank you sooooo much!!!!!!!! Counting the days to the party!! Thank you!

    • Sharon Garofalow says:

      Yeah!! I’m so glad you like this idea! Please share pics when the party is done. I’d love to see how your friend was represented. :) email me!

      • Wow!!! OK, you seriously saved the day! The party was a HUGE hit!!!
        I asked a friend to take pictures… the celebrating started pretty quickly so I don’t think she did it for me =). We did ‘B’ cookies exactly like yours, I grabbed a frame-thing from a neighbor who was throwing it away for the frame collage. I couldn’t find yellow zip ties (I chked 2 stores and googled to no avail =), so spray painted mini clothes pins. I spray painted 3 gnomes (she loves gnomes) and owls pink and yellow (looked at Micheal’s and Home Depot, Lowes had the best spray paint). We also used disco balls.
        For a center piece, I spray painted those twiggy things and pink tissue paper at the bottom (searched and searched for that bright pink ‘grass’ you have to no avail), put them in a large glass vase, spray painted the twigs yellow used more pink spray painted mini clothes pins and put photos of her on.
        OH!!!!!!! And the birthday girl has a thing about armadillos so a friend made an AMAZING red velvet armadillo cake.
        You seriously made my day, month, whatever! About 5 people told me I should plan parties. Ha!!!!! I gave you credit each time. I would consider it… but seriously, I have NO idea how one could do it without charging $1,000. Its a LOT of time and money! =) But its sooooo fun for a friend!

  2. Thanks for the great idea of using letters as a focal point. Your post was the inspiration for my most recent monthly dinner – A Just "B" party! Check it out…

  3. Cupcake Carrie says:

    LOVE what you did for Erika!!! The details are amazing and I can see Erika through the party details. SUPER cute and fun!!!

  4. insane in the membrane! I am obsessed with that yarny thing!!!! I'm back! We should play soon! I was gone for so long! You are just rad. RAD. really really RAD!

  5. With Style and Grace says:

    WOW!! love LOVE every detail of this party – the colors and the photography, awesome!! I like the idea of using tape to "write" on the food containers, very cool. Nice work my dear, as always.

  6. Bella Joviality says:

    Love it!! The neon colors and details are fabulous!

  7. Go Against The Grain says:

    oh wow I love the bright colors!

  8. Jessica Johnson says:

    um can we be best friends? i have lots and lots of scrapbooks. SO freaking cute!!!! all of it. dying over here!

  9. Anna Elder says:

    amazing little details!

  10. A Blissful Nest says:

    Just darling! Love it!!


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