For my mom’s 50th birthday my dad decided to give her the party she never had. You see, she never went to her prom, so with a “Rock Around The Clock” theme, my dad made the night of her 50th birthday, Prom Night.
The invitations were white with a black border. In the top left corner was a small gold plastic 50 with a tulle bow underneath. The words were written in calligraphy and fine gold glitter was sprinkled on top to give it some sparkle. Prom attire was requested at the bottom of the invite and a response card was included and asked guests to select chicken or fish for their dinner entrée.
The party took place in the ballroom of a local hotel. The room was decorated with bouquets of black and white balloons in the corners. Round tables surrounded the dance floor and were brought to life by the most incredible centerpieces. Floral arrangements standing 3 feet tall stood on each table. A huge display of orchids, lilies and roses sprouted from atop a tall white post so guests would be able to see across the tables. At the bottom, roses and greenery spread out in the center of the table. Each place setting was meticulously set with fine china and silverware. Rather than table numbers, each table was denoted with a round clock and different time, from 1:00 – 12:00. Place cards indicated the table time you were assigned to. A stage stood behind the dance floor for the band and behind them was a huge sign that read “Happy Birthday Beth! Let’s Rock Around the Clock.”
On either side of the dance floor were large easels with collages of my mom’ life. There were pictures of her as a baby, toddler and adolescent; pictures with her parents and siblings; wedding pictures; pictures with me and my brothers when we were young; vacation pictures; and others that helped tell the story of her fifty years. A rectangular table with a gigantic punch bowl (reminiscent of prom 32 years ago) was at the front of the dance floor. Cups and napkins were readily available for guests to help themselves.
Along the right side of the ballroom were tables for an ice cream sundae bar and a coffee bar that would be available later in the evening. On the left side of the room a photographer was set up for taking “prom pictures.” Couples (or groups) could get their picture taken in front of a white screen. And best of all, as people entered the ballroom, there was a table of corsages and boutonnieres for couples to pin on one another.
When all the guests had arrived in the ballroom, my dad took the stage and thanked everyone for coming. Before the party got into full gear, he had a special presentation for my mom. She joined him on stage, looking beautiful in a full length red gown, and he crowned her prom queen, placing a small diamond tiara on her head. She was thrilled and thanked my dad for being her king. Let’s get the party started, my dad shouted, and with that the band took over and began to play its big band music, including music from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.
After a few songs, the dance floor cleared and guests sat down for dinner. A green salad was followed by a creamy mushroom soup. The chicken or fish entrée came next, served with mashed potatoes, baby carrots and steamed asparagus. Waiters with wine and champagne walked around the tables and the punch bowl was kept full. After dinner a large screen was moved onto the dance floor for a slide show. More pictures were put on display to a moving soundtrack that brought back wonderful memories of a blessed life. Many of the friends and family at the party were included in the show and when it was over a few special people stood to talk about my mom. Her best friend from elementary school told some stories, her college roommate got up next, and then my grandmother brought many of us to tears with her tales of a special daughter. I got up last and stood on the stage to sing a song to my mom. I chose “Wind Beneath My Wings” because she really is the strength in our family.
Minutes later, the dance floor filled up again while music played loudly, getting everybody out of their seats. The coffee bar opened. The ice cream sundae bar opened with lots of choices for toppings, including sprinkles, strawberries, chocolate and caramel sauces, bananas, whip cream, nuts, and wafer cookies. I really enjoyed watching my parents dance – they moved with such style and grace and looked so very happy.
My mom couldn’t remember a more special time (besides her wedding) and didn’t want the night to end. When it finally did, we took a family prom picture so we would always remember the wonderful day.