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Emily’s (Belated) Sweet 16 Masquerade Murder Mystery Party

Most years we end up being pretty low key on birthdays at our house. Emily has had a few small parties over the years, but we’ve never really gone all out. So I decided this year that if any childhood birthday is worth an extravagant party, I think for a girl, Sweet 16 is the one! We racked our brains and I finally came up with what I hoped she would think was a perfect idea—a murder mystery party! She loved it, and the theme she chose was the Billionaire’s Club’s Annual Masquerade Gala, which meant that the girls all came dressed up and wearing masks. They looked absolutely fantastic, and the theme made decorating for the party so much fun! Several years ago I found these gorgeous garden lights at Target, but I never knew what to do with them. However, upon choosing our theme, I realized they were perfect—the rest of the party decorations fell into place once I remembered I had those. We floated candles and flowers in the fountain in front and bird bath in the back yard, Tom gardened like a madman to make it beautiful and also drew masks on the front porch, and we found these adorable little colored jars at Michael’s that Emily decked out with iridescent glitter for candles. It looked magical! We even found light-up ice cubes like they have in Disneyland to put in the girls’ cups—they are such fun! We also found the perfect sparkly napkins in pink and green; they pulled everything together. (And a shout-out to Dino at Tablecloth World—he was simply wonderful to work with and we will absolutely use them again!) And of course Emily’s place setting had to have a crown—a girl can’t have too many sparkles at her birthday celebration.





This was the first time I had really met some of the girls, and once again I find myself so grateful that Emily has such great taste in friends. They are just a wonderful group of kids, every one of them! I loved how dressed up they all got; they looked just beautiful!


The party was perfect! The actors were great at getting everyone involved, and the girls were really enthusiastic. By the end, they were absolutely giddy; I think I heard every single one of them belting out the words to the songs on Emily’s playlist (especially Love is an Open Door)!


Oh—which reminds me—here are her favorites from her playlist:


It ended up being better than I could have hoped! I think the girls had a wonderful time. My only regrets are that I don’t have any photos of the three of us from it (Tom and I dressed up, too!) and that I didn’t figure out a way to have her open her presents during the party. She did that mostly this morning, and once again I was just blown away by how sweet and thoughtful her gifts were—her friends clearly know her well, and it made my heart happy!

  • Tony Phillips - July 26, 2015 - 7:56 pm

    The party looked like one for the ages. One where the participants will talk about the events for years long after the party. The pictures were perfect and I hope Jessica and Tom got a chance to relax and enjoy the festivities too. Awesome Job to all involved.ReplyCancel

  • Allison Jacobs - July 27, 2015 - 4:12 pm

    This looks amazing!!! Your backyard was transformed & just looks beautiful! Emily is one lucky girl!ReplyCancel

  • 2015 P52 ~ July » Jessica Holden Photography - September 13, 2015 - 4:14 pm

    […] 30: Finally did her Sweet 16 party—a murder mystery at the Billionaire’s Annual Masquerade […]ReplyCancel