My wife made it clear that she would like to celebrate her birthday last year, do something memorable, and have no part in the planning.

Not being a great at organising, I started quite early on in the year; we needed a function room, entertainment, cake, decorations — and the rest. Most importantly, we needed people. It seems that due to some other religious celebration that occurs annually in the month of December, it can be a challenge to round people up for these kind of events.

I started calling around venues in August. There were a few local venues, and a couple we had been to that seemed decent. It took weeks to get through to a few of them. This is partially my own fault; I trusted online phone numbers being up to date, and trying to call within office hours is impossible. Luckily, when we did eventually get through to a couple of the venues — one of the preferred options was available.

So after several months of planning, organising and inviting, the day of the party arrived. We spent the morning inflating balloons, and party helium canisters are ridiculously expensive. Then the zero started to drop; it had a tear in it. After manically taping the thing and using half a can of helium to fill it, it still deflated.

We had to go over to the venue to set up. We had been given a one-hour window to get all the food we had, all the decorations out and projector set up. That didn't happen. We got about half the balloons out and attached to the weights, then we ran out of helium. Filling the balloons that we had managed to had taken time, and we hadn't got any of the decorations up.

After getting turfed out, we had a few hours to gather what we needed and regroup for 18:30. We decided to get a new zero balloon, as there is a party section at one of the local supermarkets. After getting there, we found that they only stocked silver, so we had to buy a new set inflated.

We arrived back at the venue at just past 18:30, and the DJ was already setting up for the evening. We had quite a bit still left to do, so I concentrated on first getting the projector set up and running. We had gathered quite a collection of photos! Turns out the MacOS photos slideshow feature is really good. My mother in law was putting out the mass of food. I moved to inflating more balloons. People started to turn up! The start time for the event was 19:00, but my wife wasnt turning up until at least 19:30. Luckily the bar opened and we roped a couple of people into helping getting the last few bits and pieces deployed.

It turned out to be a great night. Most of the people that she wanted to be there turned up in the end. Everyone got rather drunk, and even the grandparents were pleased with the music selection available. To be honest, once it all got going it is a bit of a blur.

Thanks to all that helped (or made it happen, to be more accurate). I don't think it would have turned out so well without you.