Planning a milestone celebration for a friend or family member can sometimes be overwhelming. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
When it comes to offering celebrations tips and ideas, we need to, first of all, talk about—food! Let’s face it, most parties revolve around food.
For a party at home in the comfort of your own house or backyard, these are some of my favorite local private chefs that I have had the pleasure of working with and that I call on for help:
- @boruborunyc (Italian, sushi, and custom menus)
- @cena_a_casaa (Italian custom menus)
- @thefrankchef (custom menus)
- @kosherchefjonny (custom and bbq)
- @suchi.mittel (custom)
- @masuda_omakase (sushi omakase chefs)
- @aquaegrano (personal pizza chef)
- @grillmastersny (bbq chef)
For a full-service caterer, Esprit Events prepares delicious food and creates a beautiful presentation.
For a restaurant event, following are a few restaurants in the NY area that offer great indoor or outdoor dining options and private rooms.
Kosher Indoor/Outdoor Dining
Bison and Bourbon in Brooklyn (Meat)
They have a beautiful balcony and/or courtyard to dine at. The restaurant is classic and rustic with amazing food and great options for cocktails.
Doma Land and Sea in the Five Towns - Cedarhurst (Meat)
The restaurant is chic and modern. They have an option for outdoor dining in their private courtyard in the back of the restaurant as well as the open area in the front of the restaurant.
Mocha Blu in Teaneck (Dairy)
They have outdoor seating around the side of the restaurant. It is set up with tables and couches which is cozy and inviting but it is often chaotic and loud in the area. Their indoor event dining space can fit up to 150 people that can be closed off from the rest of the restaurant.
Wall Street Grill in New York, New York - Financial District (Meat)
The restaurant’s terrace is very pretty to eat on, overlooking New York. It is more upbeat at the rooftop in comparison to the indoor dining area of the restaurant.
Mikes Bistro in New York, New York - Midtown East Side (Meat)
The restaurant has a great indoor party room and serves delicious food with attentive service.
Reserve Cut in New York, New York
They are a modern steakhouse that offers many options for private events. Each of their private event rooms can be used for both personal and business affairs. The capacity in the private events rooms range from 16 to 200 guests.
Since you can’t have a party without a cake, here are a few businesses I love to order cakes from. I can always rely on great taste with gorgeous presentations in any creative theme. Keep in mind, cakes that look like works of art also take time to create, just like works of art do.
@cakecouturenj has amazing themed cakes that are as delicious inside as they are beautiful outside. Just be sure to book early!
LeCakeChic has beautiful themed custom cakes unlike anything you’ve seen, such as a watch cake that looks like an actual Rolex, an Amazon package, a toaster, a perfect cake for a doctor, pianist, or anyone else, and more!
@tastefulcreationsbylimor creates beautiful cakes with letters and numbers. She has a photo printer for food so she can make cookies and cakes with family photos or any pictures on them.
@arianasprinkledwithfun also does fun cakes and mini cake jars. She also makes fun cookie kits – great activity for younger party people to keep busy during the event.
@bakedbydara and @bakesbyserena are two other local, impressive, and young up-and-coming bakers. Direct message them on Instagram for availability. Gorgeous, themed cakes, number cakes, cupcakes, you wish it, they’ll bake it.
SML cakes (based in the Long Island area) offers gluten-free options and beautiful and delicious cakes and cake jars.
Celebrations Tips and Ideas - Drinks
When it comes to the celebrations tips and ideas drinks part, @ssquaredmixolog and Momentum Mixology are two great mixologists who can create signature drinks or make an event more fun, especially since you’re not playing bartender.
I love a fun themed tablescape. Altoona Design is a great source of beautiful placemats, chargers and runners that can be thrown away afterwards.
I go to Dish It Out NY for disposable dinnerware that looks real.
I love using photos for special sentimental events… doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just print out some beautiful family photos and either place them in small lucite frames around the table
or create a collage or a pin board at the buffet table or in a central spot that they can then take home later.
Nothing like spelling out the occasion in helium…
Balloon King (formerly known as Party With Us NJ).
If there’s a pool at the location floating balloons are always a fun addition.
Card My Yard (Lawn sign Letters) is great for when you want to shout it out for all to celebrate with you.
At night floating lanterns make a great addition to a pool or pond.
Also, at night simple string lights make a great addition to a festive set up – and you can save them for decorating your sukkah.
Flowers always add to the occasion. It can be as simple as cutting some hydrangeas from your backyard (or Trader Joes or seasonal flowers from your local supermarket) and placing them in ball jars (I love this for an outdoor gathering).
Here are a few florists:
Sign in Book
They may feel retro but these guest sign in books are so much fun…
You can ask guests to write a page with their favorite memory with the party honoree. Take a photo that night to remember or if you have time in advance, you can request guests to send to you and then use a photo service like Shutterfly or iPhoto to create a book or Artkive.
Here's more fun with celebrations tips and ideas. If their favorite celebrity crush isn’t available to join, you can surprise them with a Cameo video shoutout! I have done this a few times and guests love it. For a fee, many celebrities will create a short 30-60 second shoutout birthday message (with information that you send them about the honoree) that you can share with them on their birthday.
As far as gifts… the better you know the recipient, the better the gift will be.
A photo or collage can be turned into a large acrylic or canvas. If you don’t have a great recent photo, a family photo shoot is an amazing gift to give as well. Abbie Sophia is my go-to.
Check out Smitten Films or if you have someone who is creative on iMovie, there are so many great apps to create something they’ll remember.
Celebrations Tips and Ideas - Gift Ideas
A few sentimental gifts for family at milestones.
@stitched.by.em makes beautiful hand stitched cases, challah covers, etc.
Jewelry with kids or grandkids names or initials engraved on it is always a great, heartfelt gift which you can find at the Velvet Box, in Teaneck, New Jersey.
For travelers, personalized packing cubes and overnight bags / garment bags, toiletry cases and luggage tags for their next trip. I have bought as gifts from @impress_giftsnj.
You can also have a favorite old or new item personalized by @zavalebespoke.
Custom tequila bottle by the talented @alexrachel.art
@remembersambor_genealogy creates family trees and history to learn about your family for a milestone anniversary or birthday (USE MY NAME FOR A DISCOUNT).
At the end of the day, the most important part of any Celebrations Tips and Ideas post is celebrating with the people you love.
How do you like to celebrate?
Share more ideas below!!!