i have been trying to write this post for almost a week but really wanted to make sure i did it justice. it needs to be detailed, informative, provide tips/connections, full of gratitude and just fun. all of that requires energy i did not have prior to waking up this morning in boston so here we are.
first things first: if you know me, you know i love birthdays. turning 30 was an incredibly huge deal to me. so huge that i started discussing plans shortly after my 29th birthday. by june 13th (yes, a full eight months before my 30th birthday), i sent out an aggressively detailed paperless post. it had dates, a location and polls for the guests to vote on re: what hotel to stay in. i wanted a firm rsvp sooner rather than later but when coordinating what ended up being close to 40 people over a 72 hour period, that was tougher than anticipated. if i could do it all over again, i would definitely hire a day of/week of coordinator. if i had a dollar for the number of text messages i received leading up to the event that could be found in either the paperless post or one of the group strands i sent (broken down by night so no one had to suffer with being on a strand that had nothing to do with them), i could easily pay my rent for next month without touching my checking account. even though it was tough to coordinate that many people, each person i invited was someone i wanted there because they played a role in me becoming who i am today.
my friends reens and sam flew into lax on wednesday night (the 12th) so i was able to pop a bottle of champagne at 12:01am with them on the 13th. i went to work that day and when i got home, they loaded up my car and we went to go swoop up my mom and the largest suv ever to take to vegas. the four of us drove to my aunt’s house (on the way to vegas) to pick her up and continued on our journey. we checked into the mgm signature thursday night and reens and sam decorated my hotel suite. they did not leave until 4am and i did not go to bed until nearly 6am. it was worth it. the suite was ready for action – fully decorated, a stocked fridge and the most delicious cupcakes baked by my dear friend, genevieve. if you are in the la area, contact her.
people really started arriving on friday. i decided that each night, i would host a pregame starting at 9pm both so people could get a buzz on and actually be able to have conversations to get to reconnect or meet one another before we were in a club with music so loud that it was thumping in our chests. that night, we went to this newer club at park mgm: on the record. it was smaller, intimate and predominantly hip hop based. it was the perfect way to kick off the weekend. the marquee was such a sweet touch.
*for details on my friday fit, click here.
saturday, more people arrived and i knew this night would be absolutely nuts because my mom, godmother, aunt sheila and aunt tannisha would all be joining us out. we ended up going to omnia, and more specifically, the hip hop room. it was a tight fit for 30 people but it was truly a blast and we made it work. everyone’s feet were in pain the next day because there was non stop dancing and screaming song lyrics while slamming shots. truly a sight to be seen. and of course, my mom wanted us to arrive as one so we took a party bus there. she is the best. also, i tend to feel like in the years since my grandmother passed, she finds a way to show up at each of my birthdays. this weekend, it was in the form of bottle service girls wearing her absolute favorite color – purple.
*for details on my saturday fit, click here.
somehow, sunday ended up being both my favorite day/night and seemingly, the guests favorite as well. i kicked off the day with a quick solo coffee date with marilena (since we had not seen each other since august) followed by a group brunch with about 15 of us at the only buffet i will willingly go to – the buffet at aria. i like that they commit to not just bottomless mimosas, but bottomless drinks. they also have a great seafood bar and truly have something for everyone, no matter your dietary restrictions. after that, i came back and caught up with some of the girls before heading to my makeup appointment at the mac at miracle mile courtesy of my friend leighia. if you are ever in vegas, be sure to call ahead to request mike. his ability to work with black skin really impressed me.
i was able to come back, take a bath and pregame and give a heartfelt toast to my guests to thank them for coming and let them know what their presence meant to me. it was a wonderful way to kick off the night.
now, when jason told me sunday would be one for the books, i don’t think i understood the magnitude. my mom paid for another party bus since she kept winning at the venetian and rode the bus to drop us off at the club. once we arrived at drais, it all started to make sense. not only did we have the best table in the house with a perfect view of the stage (which would come in handy when keyshia cole performed), my face was literally everywhere. from being screened onto our bottle service tables to being on fatheads carried in by our bottle service girls to being on every screen in the club, it was very clear that my 30th birthday was being celebrated. initially, i think i found it to be a bit overwhelming and i was more or less in shock. then, i snapped out of it. i thought to myself if i am typically doing this to celebrate others whether it be for a birthday, a graduation, a wedding, etc., i should allow others to be just as excited to celebrate me. when we left the club that night, everyone had sore feet, raspy voices and full hearts. there was also something incredibly special about being able to ring in my 30th with my little brother, pooh bear. we have lived in different places for more than 10 years so being in la at the same time and him being able to come to vegas meant the world to me. i don’t know if i would ever be able to replicate that night.
after drais, five or six of us gathered in my room and i made bagels and drinks for everyone and just recapped the night. it was the best.
on monday, people left at a variety of times ranging from 6am to 11pm. a true testament to how people that love you will move mountains to show up for you.
now, you know i would not leave you without some useful information in the event you do something on this scale for your next birthday or event.
here are some tips:
- even if you feel like you are being annoying, firm up your head count at least 60 days before the event
- let your guests know (if money is involved) that their head is not counted until money is received (i typically am firm about this and was a bit looser this trip and took people at their word – it bit me in the ass in a variety of ways from people trying to change plans at the last minute with no consideration for the money already spent/contracts signed + me reaching the maximum amount you can transfer on venmo in one week and having to spend hundreds of dollars to withdraw my own money from vegas atm machines)
- have someone on the ground of where you plan on going/celebrating that is going to celebrate you the way you would celebrate your very best friend. at this point, i think both my mom and my brother would adopt jason rose into their homes after the phenomenal time they had on both saturday at omnia and sunday at drais (truly some next level shit – my brother was blown away and he is hard to get excited about anything)
- give people time to recover from each event – i had an event each night (friday, saturday and sunday) but my only daytime event was a late brunch on sunday (at 1pm) that was optional. for the nighttime events, i just had people tell me what they wanted to attend. maybe there was a night that worked better for them than others or perhaps they had a favorite club in vegas and based it on that. either way, people were typically rested by the time we went out at night because the days were not stacked with events
- be sure the guest list is visible to all attendees. i say this because i personally hate surprises. just because you are friends with all of these people does not mean they are all friends with each other. whether it be exes, ex best friends or whatever the case may be, it is better when people know exactly what (and who) they are walking into.
now, for the final piece…
gratitude – the state of being grateful: thankfulness.
i truly could not be more appreciative of each person who received an invitation and took the time and money to plan to come out to vegas to make my 30th birthday one for the books. outside of jason (who literally is the promoter you should use for all things vegas), there was only one friend who attended who lives in vegas. that means every other person had to book a flight or road trip in. i literally had to reference my spreadsheet to be sure i did not miss anyone but here it goes:
a big thank you to michelle, rebecca, kennie, amanda, taylor, marilena, jared, victoria, z, alan, pooh bear, tannisha, hilly, leighia, michael, michael c., michael t., sam g., godmother, auntie sheila, jess, jon, april, gio, liz, jason, vana, cortney, whitney, teki, theo, makensy, melissa and marc. it would not have been the same without you.
and a special thank you to my mom, reens, sam and alexz for literally helping me get everything together and for keeping me sane throughout the weekend.
and jason, you are one of a kind. i will never do another vegas trip without you. thank you for helping me coordinate sheer madness. let’s do it again sometime.
to all of you who reached out with a thoughtful text, card, gift or surprise in my hotel suite, i truly appreciate it more than you know.
30 already feels better than 29 in more ways that one.
p.s. i know i am still missing pictures from this weekend so if you are holding out, send them over!