Alice Park Photography » Blog

I married a pretty special man.  And when our little bundle of joy arrived, somehow this special man got shifted to the side while we changed diapers, let go of sleep, and learned how to become parents.

So, for Kyu’s 40th this year, I decided to plan a surprise birthday party for him.  Kyu is definitely not one who enjoys being the center of attention, but for one evening – the stars aligned, his dearest friends gathered, and he sat back and allowed us to celebrate him.

It was a pretty magical evening, and one Kyu admits he’ll never forget.  I feel the series below gives a good depiction of it all…

Early in the planning, I gave myself a budget and a strict timeline to complete it all so it wouldn’t interfere with our busiest season of the year.  I absolutely love event planning, but when you’re trying to juggle work & a baby, while keeping this a secret from your husband who you confide EVERYTHING with, it can be quite challenging.

In the end, I’m proud to report that I came way under budget.  For several of our vendors, I was able to leverage my photography work & time in order to barter for their service & products.  An event that may seem to have cost thousands of dollars, cost me a lot less.  A lot, a lot less….  Here are the details:

THE INVITATIONS: I hired my friend & colleague Liana Lehman Hall of Après un Rêve to help put together these beautiful letterpressed pieces.  My super talented designer Kristen and I collaborated on the design.  My vision:  evening, lights, surrounded by trees.   The finished product –

I thought they turned out perfectly…

THE SPACE: I’ve always wanted to host an evening garden party.  When Kyu and I were house hunting, I told him my only request was to have enough space in our backyard to host a party (as well as to have ample parking, be level, within walking distance to parks/restaurants, have friendly neighbors, yada, yada…  Yes, you get the picture.  I was picky 😉

Unfortunately, our backyard garden is as nonexistent as the diet I’m on now postpartum.  ha.  Our space is pretty bare now, but that didn’t stop me from working with it.

Yes, I love our dead grass and basketball court.  It had potential though, so I started sketching out my ideas…

My friend Jennifer Kjellgren introduced me to her friends at TLC Rents, and after chatting – we realized the amazing things that would result when partnering with one another.  In exchange for rental of tables, linens, chairs, etc. etc. – I could help them piece together some marketing materials for their sales team.  It was perfect.

On the morning of, Kyu’s friend James and I planned a golf outing at his club so that I could set up everything in our backyard.  TLC Rents’ truck arrived with the equipment literally 5 minutes after Kyu pulled off.

And then Kristen, JM, and I went hard at work to transform the space.  We gave ourselves about 6 hours from beginning to end, which seemed like plenty of time initially, but in the storm – proved to be nearly impossible!

And the finished space:

THE ENTERTAINMENT: I reached out to one of Kyu’s good friends Trey of Two Treys (formally Shadowood), and what do ya know?  They were in need of some cover photos for their upcoming album release!  Perfect.

They were incredible!  Worked the crowd all evening with all of Kyu’s favorite hits from the 80s.

THE FOOD & DRINKS: This is where I decided it was ok to splurge.  My mother-in-law & I schemed up a wonderful Korean menu (Kyu’s absolute favorite)…

And I hired two bartenders to help with the evening –

THE CAKE: A simple caramel flat cake from Highland Bakery adorned with creative bunting by Kristen.  Pretty!

OTHER DETAILS: I put together all of the flower arrangements myself (graciously donated by a friend & former client).  And Kristen and I pieced together these adorable buttons from Kyu’s childhood photos saying, “Lordy, Lordy, Kyu is 40!”  They were hilarious and a definite conversation starter.

There were several other details I failed to photograph because I completely ran out of time, but everything worked out flawlessly.  Here is a chronicle of the evening:

The birthday boy, completely surprised!

Ok, he admits that he had an idea that I was planning something, but he said he was blown away by the sheer transformation of our space and seeing everyone he loved there.

Some highlights from the evening:

And I can’t believe Kyu danced!  He DOES love me…

It was a pretty special night for us all… Thank you to all who could make it & help make this one of our most fondest memories.

Now, on to plan NAPCP Retreat 2012!


If you’re not already on B Braithwaite’s mailing list, well – you need to be! 😉 The highly anticipated Santa Days are now open for Reservations. From what I’ve heard, they are almost completely booked for all 4 days, so please do not wait to book your appointment!

It’s one of my favorite days of the year. B Braithwaite transforms their boutique into a winter wonderland… The kids are excited to meet Santa, and there is all around good spirit everywhere you turn. I love it! If you haven’t experienced it yet, you definitely do not want to miss out… Here is a recap of the magic that goes into your child’s visit with Santa at B Braithwaite…

Every year, we invite all our clients and past clients to spend time with us at a park. We schedule back-to-back mini-sessions designed to capture beautiful individual and family portraits against the glittering Fall leaves. Alice will then apply her signature toning and black & white techniques on her favorite 10-15 images and burn each of them on CD (printable up to 5×7) for families to make as Christmas cards, gift portraits, and to archive for their own personal use.

Dates: October 15th and 23rd, 2011 (Rain dates:  November 5th and 6th)
Pricing: Please email us at alice at

Update: Both the 15th and the 23rd are sold out.  We have started a Wait List for those interested in a 3rd day.  Please email us (alice at if you’d like to be added to this list!

I was so honored when my colleague and dear friend Elizabeth Smith of Libbie Wicket asked me to photograph her family this year.  We had been brainstorming ideas for months and when Elizabeth began planning her Fall calendar with her busy client & family schedule, she immediately wrote me to invite me to tag along with them at the State Fair!

When you pair two photographers + a beautiful day, location & subjects – the creative juices just keeps going!  How fun it was let my walls down & step outside the box.  It was pure magic…