Friday, September 10, 2010

Guest Post: Laurie takes us on a trip through Austin...on a party bus!

Can I say that I love day drinking and wanted to incorporate that into my 30th birthday since it fell on a Saturday? That’s how the whole idea came about. That, and I did not want to go to a restaurant and then downtown with friends. Boring and too traditional for me.

I thought about a Pub Crawl but my friend had a good point, “How is a Pub Crawl different than going downtown on the weekend and hitting up bars?”

I explained “It’s more intense. There’s an itinerary, sometimes a map or a scavenger hunt. Some times the crowd has matching shirts…it’s just more intense with a concrete plan and schedule.”

Although I explained the difference, she had a good point. I needed to make this “not just bar hopping” but a monumental party since it was my birthday and it fell on a Saturday.

That’s when I thought about renting a bus. My husband and I had used one for our wedding and loved it. They provide an excellent service at a reasonable price. I went online to view their different vehicles and how many each one sat. I decided on a 25 PAX mini bus. They rent their buses in 4 hour intervals.

The bus gave us more possibilities. Do we want to do a pub crawl and have the bus take us all over Austin or do we want to BYOB on the bus and drive around Austin taking pictures at iconic places.

That’s when decided to combine both ideas – Pub Crawl meets Iconic Places in Austin – all captured on film. My mom and my brother-in-law have top-of-the-line cameras and enjoy taking pictures. I proposed this idea to them and asked if 1) they could commit to the date and 2) mind taking pictures.

An ambiguous idea of day drinking and taking pictures was turning into a great idea for an epic birthday bash...

Now I had to think of a guest list and our different destinations.

Guest List:
Guest List is crucial when renting a bus. It’s not like a typical party where you can “accommodate” more people. There are only a certain number of seats and you’re not allowed to go over that number b/c of liability reasons (and well, the law).

You must factor in boyfriend/girlfriends and wives/husbands.

Picking the Destinations:
I went on Facebook and asked people:
  • What their favorite Austin bars are
  • What their favorite dive bars are
  • Best places to take pictures
  • I also did a few Google searches on “Bar, Austin” or “Austin Tourist Attractions and bars”

When it came down to it, we had A LOT to choose from but didn’t want to choose too much because time was a factor.

Now we had to map out the places, allocate how much time would be spent at each place and driving times to each place, including adding an additional 5 minutes to each departure since busses/vans don’t accelerate very good and it may take a few minutes to round up slightly intoxicated people. We also had to factor in 25 people (or 12 since most were couples) paying tabs at each bar.

To help with this, I told everyone to meet at the first bar by 3PM even though the bus wasn’t leaving until 4PM. Everyone was there and we were able to leave by 3:45 – those 15 minutes were extrememly helpful as the day went on.

On the E-vite I also suggested to friends that they bring cash for the bar tabs to get in and out quicker.

We ended up choosing 3 different bars and 3 different locations for pictures. It may not sounds like a lot but it was.

Here’s the schedule:

3:00                Meet at Ginger Man 301 LAVACA
They have great new appetizers. But you should eat lunch ahead of time too.

4:00                Leave Ginger Man on bus
(HOPEFULLY we can leave at 3:45 if everyone is there)

4:30 – 5:30    Draught House 4112 Medical Parkway

5:45 – 6:30    La La’s 2207 Justin LaneAustin’s Dive Bar where it’s Christmas all year round.

6:30ish           Head back downtown –
Picture in front of the Texas Star at Bob Bullock Museum

7:00                South 1st and Annie’s Street for Greetings from Austin” mural

Home Slice and S. Congress for some photos
(PRE-ORDERED pizzas from Home Slice and had a picnic outside).

8:00                Shiner Saloon on 5th and Congress

I was born in 1980 which makes my favorite music from the early 90’s. I checked the with the bus company to see if they had I Pod connections. They didn’t. So we made a CD. I had everything from Prince, Paula Abdul, Kris Kross, NKTOB (or New Kids on the Block for those weren’t a crazed fan), MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Rob Base and so much more...

Being it was my 30th birthday and I was beyond excited it; I wanted to add some extra flare to make the day about me and not just a free pub crawl for everyone. Conceited, I know. I created a personalize crossword puzzle about myself.

A lot of the questions were about. These may sound bizarre but when you know the person it’s easy to guess: 
  • A dance Laurie does when she’s (even slightly) intoxicated            
    • Answer: Roger Rabbit – and everyone knew this
  • A dance with the same name as landscaping equipment
    • Lawnmower
  • President in Office the year Laurie was born
    • Ronald Reagan
§             Favorite Over-the-Counter medicine she eats like it’s a dessert
    • TUMS
§             Favorite “meal” before she caught Swine/H1N1
    • Chicken Wings

Party Favors:
Koozies were thought about as a party favor but I immediately dismissed the idea since we did that for our wedding (and we were already using the busses from our wedding) and some of the places we planned to take pictures were the same places Sam and I used for our Engagement Sessions. So I wanted to steer away from all that.

Since we have 2 photographers we said we would distribute CD/DVD’s of all the pictures taken from the day.

The Pro’s for renting a bus and doing this:
  • Something new and unique = everyone loved it.
  • It was entertainment in itself.
  • No set and no clean up.

The Con’s for renting a bus and doing this:
  • Numbers. Your Guest List and RSVP number is beyond crucial. It’s imperative. You cannot have “Maybe’s”. You need definite’s…and still a backup plan for last minute flakes or “sincere” cancelations. 
  • Not everyone liked the idea of being “obligated” to a bus for 4 hours without a way out. In that case, they either drove (or said they had plans).
  • Time is of the essence. You want people to have fun and relax but you also have to stay on schedule. Make sure to allow enough time at every bar.
 Stacey here: I love, love, love this idea...and not just because I love Austin.  One of the first conversations I had with Laurie was about how she wanted to take a year to be a "tourist in her own city."  I love this idea- how many of us visit other places and go to all the wonderful things it has to offer, while only doing the same in our home city when if have out of towners visiting.  Of course, combining it with bars and a party bus simply spells P-A-R-T-Y to me!  Thanks for visiting Laurie.  I hope you'll share more of your parties with us!

1 comment:

  1. “It’s more intense. There’s an itinerary."
    That's it. I'm confiscating all y'all's clipboards.