Marilyn’s Book themed 60th birthday party

At the very last minute, while driving down to San Diego for my mom’s 60th birthday party, I decided we needed a photographer. And even though I’m originally from San Diego, no one came to mind! So I put a hit out on Instagram, and Jill, just an IG friend, immediately recommended her cousin. Like within minutes. I checked out her stuff, and had Heather (my usual photographer) approve, and hoped for the best. AND MAN, DID I HIT THE JACKPOT!

Emily Riley of Taplin Photo made all of my dreams come true. Jill (her cousin) described her as “bubbly and blonde, and kind of like you!” Haha! But it is a real talent as a photographer to be able to capture people, table designs, details AND to be a complete joy while doing it. Just to be clear, we paid Emily! Ha, this was not for trade. I’m just seriously so happy with the pictures I could burst.

So we’ll start off today with the party details from the book themed 60th birthday party I threw for my mama! I hope to share the actual party pictures next week!

book themed 60th birthday party
honeycomb garland

Are you pumped yet? Well wait for it…cause here’s the doozy:

book themed 60th birthday party

ARE WE SERIOUS?! I contacted Hey, There Cupcake! (the maker of this INSANE cake!) on the recommendation of my friend and wedding planner Heather Balliet. Stevi, the owner, designed this after I loosely told her the theme of the party. She really hit the nail on the head.

ALL of it is edible, and she put the titles of Marilyn’s favorite books on the cake! Including the book my mom authored, “Back to the Best Books.

book themed 60th birthday party

For the flowers Stevi printed pages from “Pride and Prejudice” another one of my mom’s favorites, onto rice paper. The cake was as yummy as it was beautiful.

Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 12.25.02 AM
book themed 60th birthday party

book themed 60th birthday party

book themed 60th birthday party

I used these little book page vases at all of the tables paired with carnations, I’ll share a tutorial for those next week. But here are the little centerpieces I did for the tables.

book themed 60th birthday party
book themed 60th birthday party

I used my little vases made from water bottles, books from my mom’s library, wood slices from my parent’s yard, and also some paper mache books I found at Michael’s and painted. Paired with the carnations, these were very inexpensive centerpieces.

My brother actually got this next shot. But it shows my beautiful mom in all of her birthday glory!


book themed 60th birthday party

book themed 60th birthday party

Isn’t she lovely? For a memory book I ordered library card pockets and library cards off of Amazon, and put them in a photo album. Then I asked guests to share their favorite book my mom has recommended them, or just a fun memory of the birthday girl. Then I’m going to add these beautiful pictures to the book and that will be my mom’s present from me. You know, other than the party.

Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 12.36.41 AM

book themed 60th birthday party
book themed 60th birthday party
book themed 60th birthday party
book themed 60th birthday party
Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 12.40.08 AM
I was gonna hang these mini books I sewed from a giant balloon…but my dad got the wrong kind of balloons…I’m not a party nazi. I swear…oh look! There’s Rad!

book themed 60th birthday party
book themed 60th birthday party

Here’s the whole fam-damily before the party started!

And can we talk about this picture of my BOYS?!? No, we can’t. I’ll cry.

book themed 60th birthday party

We actually took a whole session of family photos so I’ll share those and some of the PARTY IN ACTION shots next week! But here’s one of the three little girl cousin’s (who were whisked inside with babysitters before the party!) in all their cuteness.
book themed 60th birthday party

Oh, and a picture of ME! So you don’t forget whose blog this is.

Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 12.23.25 AM


Photos: Taplin Photo
Party Consulting: Heather Balliet of Amorology Weddings
Cake: Hey there, Cupcake!
Florals, styling, crafting, awesomeness: ME ME ME ME
Honeycomb Garland made from balls found at: Devra Corp inspired by this one from Oh Happy Day
Party rentals: Allie’s Rentals

Have I mentioned how much I love throwing parties?




  1. SO stinkin’ cute!! Your mom looks so happy too! love the three little girlies, they are so lucky to get to grow up together!

  2. josie

    I’m glad you put that last picture of your pretty face cause I totally forgot whose blog this was. I was distracted by all of that purple awesomeness and how it coordinates so well with my intergalactic leggings

  3. Oh I just love everything about this! The honeycomb garland on those hedges just looks AH-mazing! Also, you made some pretty darn cute kids! 😉

    1. thanks you party genius!

  4. you NAILED it. WOW! Everything!

    1. still would have looked good with some oversized flowers! ha

  5. Jessica

    You amaze me. What a killer party for a killer mama! Happy b’day Mare Bear!

  6. Joanna

    I love books too and I would adore this party!

  7. Janna crickmore

    Ahhh I love your mom she deserved all that awesomeness. What a great daughter!

  8. Ann Harrid

    I love your mom too! A role model for us all.

  9. I paid for the whole party,including the photos for your blog and the only mention I get is I bought the wrong balloons? Really? 😐

    Love, Dad

    PS. Remember, I told you they didn’t have the large ones you wanted?

    1. sorry daddy. I’ll write you a tribute post, K?

  10. So amazing and I also, do i spy single brothers?? Damn it, already married. Would loved to have been your sister 😉 Everything looks gorgeous – your mum rocks!

    1. HAHAHAHA Yes! two of them! dang it girl!

  11. Okay this party is amazing! Seriously, I love it so much!

    1. aw thank you!

  12. You look GORGEOUS in that photo at the end. Your beautiful smile.. love it. This party was incredible. I can hardly stand it. When did Blake like, blow up!??! He’s huge. Miss your family. It has been too long.

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