Twenty Fifth Birthday Bash

Twenty four was one of my most challenging years yet. A lot changed for me both personally and professionally, but it gave me the chance to make changes in my life that I’m so grateful for. My twenty fifth birthday bash was a celebration of those changes, and the strong group of women who supported and empowered me along the way. It was so special, and I’m thrilled to share it with you.

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When I sat down to think about my Goals for my twenty fifth birthday bash, I knew the vibe would be key.

I wanted guests to have a ton of fun, feel their best, well cared for and thought of, and to create an environment that exuded a playful, carefree energy.

Think: California Girls (@KatyPerry), Colorful, Bold, Happy, Thriving, Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini.

Welcome Drinks

Guests were greeted with margaritas in mini Patron Silver bottles, topped with pink flamingo drink straws. A Self Serve Bar was prepped and ready to go with all of the essentials, plus some extras like individual water tumblers and drink recipe cards to mix the perfect cocktail.

Sparkle Baby, Sparkle

There’s something about the first hour of a party that dictates how the rest of an event will run. So when I started crafting the timeline for my twenty fifth birthday bash, I knew I needed an icebreaker.

Queue beauty bar to kick off the celebration, loosen people up, get some live decor in and most importantly, bring out that high-energy vibe. I’m a big fan of make up artistry, so I think this really resonated with my friends, and felt authentic to who I am as a person.

Beauty Bar Details

I filled acrylic organizers with festival glitter and primer, body and face highlight, and metallic liquid eyeshadows. To keep it COVID free, I also included disposable sponge make up applicators as well as eyeshadow applicators, and kept hand sanitizer within arms reach.

Flash tattoos flanked the make up section, which were divided into white-wash wooden trays and gold leaf vessels on each side. I stuck with tropical themed tattoos, while adding some bohemian touches like arrows, feathers, and other free spirited designs.

The metallic freckle tattoos were a personal favorite. Created by Mr. Kate Beauty Marks, they’re made to apply just over the bridge of your nose.

I added natural sea and synthetic sponges to an acrylic pitcher, and filled spray bottles with water, so that guests could apply the tattoos without needing to go inside.

The beauty bar came together atop a Golden Brisa linen from Nuage Designs, with two chairs in front for guests to sit and work their magic.

Custom acrylic signs from Coppice & Crafts read “Beauty Bar,” “Sparkle Baby, Sparkle” and “Glow Up” (because we’re all on that #glowup journey, am I right?).

I finished it off with a full length mirror, turned horizontally, rested against the house, and a handheld mirror for a closer look. I also added in a pack of make up wipes, so that guests could try different looks, and remove all of the glitter before jumping into the pool.

Accessories & Activations

I love a design that doubles as an activation. It gives the design meaning and intention, and invites guests to immerse themselves in the event.

Bonus: guests inherently become a part of the design as they use and engage with activations. It really makes the theme, vibe and goals come to life.

Queue accessories, like vibrant sun visors strung along twine with clothespins, and an assortment of eccentric sunglasses and headbands.

Sun Visors
Photo by Mel Barlow & Co. Visors – Sunnylife
Sunglasses and Headbands
Photo by Mel Barlow & Co. Cherries, Daisies, Shells & Unicorn Headbands – Sunnylife. Metal Heart Sunglasses – UrbanOutfitters. Retro Heart Sunglasses – Paper Source.

Towels, PVC Clutches & Hangover Kits

Resting on lounge chairs and tucked inside a metal basket were Tuscan Yellow Towels from The Beach People.

PVC clutches from Sunnylife in blue and pink were filled with sunscreen, chapstick with SPF, spiral hair coils and barrettes.

Guests took home hangover kits from Bachette with recovery essentials like face masks, under eye patches, Advil, rainbow scrunchies and other goodies. To view the bags and all of their contents, click the Download button below.

Lounge & Lawn Games

A vignette of lounge materials and lawn games created a seamless flow between the pool and deck. Guests used the area to sit, chat, sip and play.

A Polaroid camera stocked with colorful film options inspired photo opps and captured so many candid moments.

Dinner & Dessert

Pizza Luca has the most amazing, authentic wood fired pizza, that’s served out of a blue 1952 Chevy flatbed truck. I opted for a spring green salad, and four types of pizza; Margherita, Bianca, Filetti and Marinara, along with lemon Italian ice. It was a huge hit!

The evening ended with a variety of sweets. I’m a dessert person, so more was more with this one! Not pictured: rainbow chocolate chip cookie cake from Baked in Color & white, milk and dark chocolate covered Oreos and strawberries from Hudson Valley Chocolates.

White bakery to-go boxes were left out for guests to take sweets home, but I was still left with so many extras.

Twenty Fifth Birthday Bash Swan Cake
Photo by Mel Barlow & Co. Swan Cake (Lemon Cake with Layers of Lemon Curd, Strawberry Buttercream and Fresh Strawberries) – Nine Cakes
Twenty Fifth Birthday Bash Tropical Cookies in Sunshine, Flamingo and Monstera Leaf
Photo by Mel Barlow & Co. Sunshine, Flamingo and Monstera Leaf Cookies – Tiny Kitchen Treats
Twenty Fifth Birthday Bash Swan Cake, Tropical Cookies, Unicorn and Glitter Cake Pops
Photo by Mel Barlow & Co. Unicorn & Glitter Cake Pops – New York Cake Pops

Good Times, Good Vibes

I’m so grateful to have celebrated a quarter of a century with such a close group of friends.

Each of them has supported, motivated and inspired me to strive for the best version of myself. Thank you ladies for surrounding me with so much love, and for pushing me towards my goals.

To get a closer look into my twenty fifth birthday bash, and view the deck I created while planning, click here.

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Building the Perfect Welcome Bag

A guide to an all time favorite topic, welcome bags! From whether or not you need one, to which guests receive them, how much to budget, what contents to purchase, how to assemble the final gifts and tips for staying organized on delivery day. It’s everything you need to know on building the perfect welcome bag. Let’s jump in!

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To Do or Not To Do

The first thing to note, is that it’s absolutely not necessary or expected to distribute welcome bags. Guests that choose to stay overnight are looking forward to joining in your celebration, and not anticipating any kind of gifting experience in return.

The primary reason that past clients have opted to distribute welcome bags, is due to the number of out of town guests that require overnight accommodations prior to the event day. If guests are staying more than one night, some clients will also opt for turndown gifts in guest rooms.

Welcome and turndown gifts usually coincide with hotel blocks and villa rentals. So, if we’re arranging overnight accommodations for anywhere from 15-20% of out of town guests, they are usually given welcome gifts. They are almost inevitable for destination events, when the majority of guests travel domestically or internationally for a celebration.

Building the Perfect Welcome Bag for Destination Weddings and Events. Pictured: Plane traveling through pink and blue ombre sky
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on

How Much Does it Cost?

Depending on the number of guests receiving welcome bags, the cost of contents can accumulate quickly. Budget restraints are perhaps the most common reason why some clients decide to nix them altogether. Generally speaking, welcome gifts can average between $15 – $100+ per bag, for the vessel and the contents.

The variance in price is contingent on a number of factors:

– Cost to hire a company to curate contents, assemble and distribute bags (there are some AMAZING companies out there, but this service doesn’t come cheap!).

– Fees imposed by the hotel to hold and distribute bags (typically $1 per bag, but some properties will charge more).

– Range, type and quantity of contents.

– Paperie enclosures (think: welcome notes, itineraries, maps, suggested activities / restaurants to try during down time).


NecessitiesSnacks!Fun Stuff
Welcome note, water, mints
Fresh bakedApparel, or accessories like sunglasses
Warm Weather Essentials:
Sunscreen, insect repellent, chapstick
SeasonalGames / Activities:
Think: golf balls or a deck of cards
Travel Goodies:
Aspirin, antihistamines, mini toiletries
Locally madeMini bottle of bubbly

Think about little luxuries that guests can use in the event environment. Solemates are always well received by guests that wear heels to outdoor weddings or events. These heel protectors are designed to prevent heels from sinking into grass or cobblestone and inevitably getting ruined.


Keep it Authentic Don’t Go Overboard
Stay true to the locationNice to have vs. need to have
Locally crafted or inspired bag / box
(think: pretty & functional)
Quality > quantity
Contents that speak to the destination or represent the host
(add a touch of personalization here!)
Ask yourself, “Would I use this?”
Sweets and other edible contents are perfect items to include when building a welcome bag. Pictured: Robbin's egg blue ribbon with blue and pink macaroons
Photo by Jill Wellington on


Track the quantity of guests slated to receive welcome gifts within a separate column in your guest list spreadsheet.

The general rule of thumb is one bag per room. Although, some clients will purchase two of certain items, particularly water bottles or apparel / accessory items, such as baseball caps or luggage tags. Paper goods can definitely be limited to one per bag.

Pick a spacious room in your home to spread out all of the contents and take Inventory. Once everything is accounted for, remove any wrapping, stickers, or tags from the items. Form an assembly line, placing all of the bags in the beginning, then organize the contents in piles, followed by paper goods, and final touches like ribbon at the end. One by one, complete the bags by following the assembly line.

Pro-Tip: It can be tedious process to assemble bags all in one day. Spread out the workload over the course of a few days to make sure each bag is assembled correctly, without any stickers left unturned or contents left out.

If you’re planning a destination event, it’s not advisable to pre-assemble welcome bags and ship them to the destination (cost being the number one factor, plus items can shift in the delivery process). Work with the event manager to ensure they will accept and store deliveries of the items at the destination, shipped directly from the source. Ask the hotel to confirm receipt and label boxes on your behalf.

Plan to arrive to the destination at least a full day in advance to unbox, unwrap, and prepare the bags. Trust me – this process takes a lot more time than one might anticipate, and the more time to prep, the better. It’s ideal to reserve a conference room for assembly, as there’s typically not enough space in guest rooms for a project of this size!

The Beverly Hills Hotel
Photo by Erica Zhao on

Getting Gifts to Guests

This phase is best left to an event planner, especially for weddings. If you don’t have a planner, delegate this task to a trusted relative or reliable member of the bridal party. It’s not the kind of task you want to do the day before an event!

Request the reservation list from hotels with room blocks arrangements, and triple confirm the number of guest rooms coincide with the quantity of welcome gifts for each location. Work with the group sales manager to identify which rooms will receive gifts. Confirm if they charge a holding or distribution fee, and inquire if guests will need to mention the hotel block to receive their gift upon check in, or if gifts will be placed in guest rooms prior to their arrival.

If you know of certain guests that are staying at rental properties, reach out to confirm where they’re staying and when they’re checking in. Create an itinerary of your drop off route to save time, along with addresses and whom to contact upon arrival.

If a welcome party is hosted prior to the event, it can often be easiest to distribute the gifts as guests depart that initial celebration, especially if guests are spread across various lodging facilities.

Then, celebrate the completion of a massive undertaking – You’ve earned it after this process!

Champagne toast
Photo by cottonbro on

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