My 50th Birthday Party
Four months ago one of my friends asked me what I would like to do for my 50th Birthday. I decided then I would like to celebrate it on a harbour cruise with 50 people. I made some enquiries and discovered that booking a harbour cruise on a Saturday night in late November would require me to pay for a minimum of 80 people at $120 each (including all the extras) due to the Christmas season. I decided to try for Sunday afternoon instead (Sunday night would rule some guests out due to work and school commitments Monday morning) and found I could book a cruise for 50 people at $100 per head with all the extras included.
I started asking friends and family if they would be willing to pay to go on a harbour cruise for my 50th and I was surprised to discover that everyone was willing to attend and no one had an issue with the money. I booked the boat, paid the deposit and invited 65 people. Getting people to commit and getting people to pay are two different things. Circumstances got in the way for some but with one week to go I had 48 guests, a photographer and myself paid up for the cruise. 50 people; right on target. 14 of the guests were my direct family, my sisters, their partners, their children and my mum. All the rest were friends and family friends.
We all agreed to meet at the wharf just after midday. A few of us arrived early and decided pre cruise drinks were in order for the big day. Others arrived later but nobody was late. The boat arrived right on time and we all had fifteen minutes to get on board (the wharf fee only allows the boat to dock for 15 minutes) before we set sail into the harbour.
Our cruise started off a little rocky. the weather was fine but the water was a little choppy due to the wind. There were a lot of boats in the harbour and we kept running into their wake. Just a few minutes into the trip we nearly ran into a large yacht that came flying accross our path. It took a while for everyone to get used to the motion and for some it was more than they could handle. Poor mum didn't want to move from her chair and a couple of guest got sea sick. The water did settle though (or maybe the alcohol made it appear that way) and everyone started to enjoy the day out.
Seeing Sydney Harbour from a boat in the daytime is quite spectacular. All my previous cruises had been night time parties so you didn't see alot. Lunch was served and everyone helped themselves to the alcohol (part of the package) while they mingled and got to know each other. Quite a few of my friends had not met my family and some, like my housemate Michael, knew no one on the boat at all. It didn't seem to phase anyone and everyone seemed to get on fine. The photographer seemed to be enjoying herself as well.
There were five people on the boat named Mark or Marc so whenever anyone mentioned the name I had to try to work out who they were talking about. Most of the people were from Sydney's south west but Chris and Mark travelled all the way from Cootamundra to join the party. Declan was the youngest person on the boat at 13 and mum was the oldest at 75.
Having a photographer on board was a great idea; it meant I wasn't running around taking photos all day. Pauly was happy to help out and take a few photos with my camera while the photographer took the rest. Everyone was happy to have their photos taken. Some played up to the cameras more than others (Adam and Mark) while others had a go at photo bombing (Matthew). The Photos captured a lot of things I didn't see so it was fun going through them all.
The cruise was drawing to a close, the deserts were on the table and it was time for a couple of speeches. Vicki played MC and promptly handed th microphone to Matthew who was not prepared to make a speach. Thankfully he hadn't had too much to drink and the speech was very flattering. Next was my mum, who probably did have to much to drink, and she graciously invited anyone who had anything bad to say about me to see her first. Thankfully she had no takers. I made the final speach and thanked everyone for being on the cruise and making the day special. There was time for a few group photos, a couple more drinks and before you knew it we were all disembarking. Four hours is just not long enough when you are having a good time.
We all gathered at the wharf and decided what to do next. Four hours of sun, food and alcohol on a harbour cruise seemed to take it's toll on most of the guests and they opted to go home or back to their hotel rooms. A small group went to the city to visit a friend and the rest of us went to Wynyard Tavern to eat and drink a little more. By 8pm we had all had enough and decided to go home. By 10pm I felt exhaused and went to bed.
The day passed so quickly I am having trouble recollecting everything that happened. Some of it is just a blur on my memory and I recall little pieces every day. The party was fairly tame (we are not that young anymore) and it doesn't make for a great story but it would have to be the best party I have ever had. I am so fortunate to have so many great people in my life and I couldn't have asked for more.