Dr. Seuss Surprise Birthday Party

By Nicole Braghin
April 20, 2020.

This if by far the funnest family we have ever met. Two siblings, polar opposites, throwing a surprise 60th birthday party for the third brother who is even more different than the first two. The big challenge was that the birthday boy hates being the center of attention, and hates parties for himself with lots of people…  The other challenge was that the birthday boy lives in Star Island, a very small private island in Miami Beach, and the estate where the party was being held, was his late mother’s house in the same single street island and he jogs down the road every day! Planners in stealth mode...

So, to make things easier for us to execute this mega birthday, the family decided to use the opportunity and combine it with a fundraiser cocktail for a charity dear to the family’s heart. Guests were invited to a gala that would transition into the surprise party. The beginning of the party was an actual fundraising event, where the family donated a Guarneri violin to the Frost School of Music as an initiative to stimulate guests to donate funds to purchase many more incredible instruments for the school.  Student prodigy Miclen Laipang played the violin to showcase its power.  Since the family likes to keep their guests entertained and surprised, we flew in comedian Alonzo Bodden to pretend he was a Guarneri historian explaining all about the facts about wonderful violin! One of the most memorable moments of the evening was that without the guests knowledge, we switched the real violin (that had its own security detail) with a replica.  During the presentation Alonzo dropped the faux violin and it broke. Guests were gasping!!!  At that point the siblings announced it was all a prank, and that the surprise of the evening was that they they were also there to celebrate their brother’s 60th birthday.

For the fundraising part of the evening we used acrylic chairs and fendi colored banquettes from Brelex to keep a neutral and soft tone and to blend with the nature outside of the tent.  We created elegant arrangements in grey vases with purple hellebores. To understand the design of the birthday party side, you must know that the birthday boy has two loves: Dr. Seuss and The Chicago Band.  We took the theme very seriously and decided to create StuVille!!! Part of the planning process was creating the transition from one side to another so as the siblings announced the party, a Junkanoo band with Thing One and Thing Two as well as The Cat in The Hatled the way through the house.

As you entered the house, 6,000 black and white balloons lined the room and the ceiling.  We hired Renato Armijo to do some black and white life sized caricature cartoons of Stu doing the things he loved.  As you passed through the hallway and the house, you went through the animated life of Stu. A giant StuVille archway set the tone to this crazy party.   5’ StuVille marquee letters lit up the entrance to our Nomad tents.   Tables from Tali Tables were upholstered in black, white and mirror, and had mini Stu centerpieces on acrylic boxes. We chose the same color Pantone throught the party because we wanted to keep the event masculine. A giant dance floor with a custom StuVille sticker created the perfect place to dance. Two red Dueling Pianos started the party and were later joined by Stu’s nephew on the drums.

The family wrote a song for Stu and everyone sang along as Stu watched from his throne.  The throne was super special, his mother battled cancer the year before and she was their queen so they would sit her on the throne to help her to battle her disease.  It was a way to have her with the family present at the party. We built a concert grade stage for Chicago.  Drummer Boy Sound and Production & At The Helm Productions made sure Chicago sounded amazing! All the guests sang along and could not believe the incredible private concert, and were as pleasantly surprised as the birthday boy. David Schwadron and his team catered the event.  We chose Stu’s favorite foods, good American home cooked bbq, soft served ice cream, a giant doughnut wall with Salty Doughnuts, a 16' flavored popcorn station and a candy station all served in custom branded containers. And no evening is complete without a watermelon display carved with the birthday boy's face. We are crazy about details, from the napkins, to waiter uniforms, restroom signs and restroom amenities, everything was branded. Check out the amazing video of this event.

By Nicole Braghin


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