Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Party Planner: Neon Barbecue

A few weeks ago, I went back to my hometown in New Jersey to borrow my parents' spacious backyard and throw a big, end of summer barbecue! I was excited about it because it was a chance to unite my city friends with my Delaware, NJ, and Pennsylvania suburban friends - and, of course, a chance to do some creative party planning! M suggested a neon theme so we took it and ran with it. Here's a photo breakdown of the day's festivities:

Once the neon theme was selected, we knew we had to incorporate it into absolutely everything! The chalkboard at the top of the post was a DIY project that involved cheap frames, chalkboard paper, and bright pieces of chalk - we hung it outside the fence to greet people as they entered the backyard. Here are a few of our other projects:

Layers of neon washi tape decorated the glasses
A basket of sunglasses and a cup of glowsticks added additional pops of neon, and gave us an excuse for another cute chalkboard sign.
Each guest received a gift bag with two NJ tags customized by M, and filled with neon-colored goodies.
These tropical Starbursts were one of the gift bag items. The colors fit the theme perfectly!
The thank you sign used the same washi tape that decorated the drinking cups.
There's always an opportunity for one more little craft...these simple signs helped guests find their way to the bathrooms, and added some neon flair indoors!
M designed this fab sign with glitzy letters and pom poms - so cheerful!
The food tents were made of black cardstock, with neon geometric cut-outs and (you guessed it!) - more washi tape!

Food & Drinks

I have to hang my blogger head in shame over this one...the food was plentiful and delicious, but of course we were too busy serving it to take pictures! We started with a huge antipasto platter (it's the Jersey Italian way) and a nacho dip, followed by traditional all-American barbecue fare: burgers, hot dogs, macaroni and potato salads, M's famous caprese pasta salad, 5-bean salad, and assorted mini sandwiches. Here are a few quick snaps that I managed to squeeze in:

Every party needs a signature cocktail, and ours was the Juicy Jersey: a refreshing punch made of prosecco, white cranberry juice, and limoncello, with floating raspberries and nectarines. This was QUITE the popular beverage!
It just wouldn't be a TSN party without a Welcome Shot. Neon shot cups held the Fireball, and adding neon starburst shapes to the serving tray tied it back into the color scheme.

How yummy does M's pasta salad look?
Our cake pops are always in high demand!
We repurposed an old hot pink cake pop stand that I had crafted for my 30th birthday party to serve as this party's display.
Nothing escaped my labeling...not even the milks for the coffee!
One glimpse at the back of the dessert table overlooking the yard...I promise I won't let you down with the food pics next time!
Photo Booth

A DIY photo booth is one of my favorite party trends, and after seeing the fabulous homemade backdrop at Pop Star Palooza, I knew that we had to go big with this one. A bunch of streamers, DIY banners, and oversized paper flowers created the backdrop, plus we added in a basket of fun props to add to the party atmosphere!

All set up and ready for her close-up.

We bought a few basic props and glitzed them up a bit (yes, that is a yellow construction hat with neon pom poms and feathers). We also created neon mustaches on sticks, plus oversized bowties and lips.

M and B, just clowning around!

Kris and Sarah had just gotten engaged 2 days before the barbecue, so naturally we had to celebrate with a photo booth picture!
Check out our hashtag for more fabulous party pics! #AVeryJerseyBBQ
One of our guests brought his Polaroid printer, so everyone was able to use washi tape to display their favorites on the neon signs.

Party Activities

We set up various cozy seating areas throughout the yard so that guests could chat, but we also had a few activities to provide entertainment.

Cards Against Humanity - need I say more?
Teaching one of our younger guests how to hula hoop
Hanging out in the hammock - this is my personal favorite NJ activity (and I think we got up to 4 people in there at one point!)
Some cornhole for the more athletic members of the group.

Mr. Popularity

It may have been my party, but let's be serious - everyone was really there to see Baby M! He was quite the star at the party, and of course was perfectly behaved all day.

Baby M's neon summer-themed onesie was perfectly offset by borrowing another guest's hat.
Getting some help from Dad
Smiling for the camera with Emma
Getting a lift from Mike
Snuggling with Lisa 
Getting kisses from his Mommy (M) and Godmother (B)!
It was really a treat to see so many friends from different walks of life in one place, and I'm thankful to everyone for making the trip, to M for all of her crafty assistance, and to my parents for lending their home and all of their help (because let's face it, there is no way everyone was going to hit into my studio apartment!).

What's your favorite theme for a summer barbecue?



  1. oh my gosh, what a fabulous time! really above and beyond with all the decorations, love it. i have never really been to a themed barbecue but i guess the luau birthday party i went to once countrs - yours is way better though lol

    1. I've done a luau theme before, too - a theme just always makes it easier for me to conceptualize the entire event!

  2. A perfect party!! No detail spared...it's the TSN way! Wow...how adorable and charming can one baby be??!! :)

    1. We love our details, and Baby M is definitely a true charmer!

  3. This is so fun!! I love all the neon! What a way to take summer out with a bang!


    1. The neon definitely made it pop, as a fun alternative to the classic red-white-blue barbecue color scheme.

  4. No detail was spared - love it! It is beyond easy to get carried away with labeling which means everything needs one ;)

    1. Oh, agreed! I'd rather overlabel than have none at all! :)

  5. Love this! What a fun idea!!!

    <3, Pamela

    1. Thanks, everyone really gave into their inner kid self and seemed to enjoy it!

  6. ahhhhhhhh what a fabulous party!! Totally wish I could have had an invite.....and lived closer!

  7. Replies
    1. Thank you - we tried to put a fresh spin on an old classic!

  8. Are you kidding me, how stinking cute is this!? Love it!

    1. Thank you - we were happy with how it all came together!

  9. Cute idea! I spy some fireball! lol Looks like a fun party with friends!

    1. Haha fireball is always the life of the party!

  10. love the hashtag! so cool to do even for littler get togethers like an end of summer party. this is just perfect. ciao from your neighbor over in PA :)

    1. Oh I'm obsessed with a party hashtag - I think it's because I love keeping everything organized, so it's great to have all of the photos in one handy spot!


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B & M

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