Last updated: November 20, 2023
When it comes to birthday celebrations, we often think of cake, balloons, and an off-key rendition of Happy Birthday.
But what if it could be an opportunity to celebrate someone you love, take care of some important business—all while having a blast? That’s precisely what Laila did at Andrew’s birthday brunch, the “Til Death Do Us Party”.
When asked what he wanted for his birthday, Andrew, ever the pragmatist, wanted to make sure that all of his friends were taken care of. That they had wills and their estates in order.
In this article, we’ll show you how Laula did it so you can do it too. This article will go over:
- Right timing
- How to set the tone
- Snacks and drinks
- Signing ceremony
- Additional ideas and more!
Laila’s task, was to make it happen *and* make it fun. After a couple of months consulting with lawyers, estate planners and the internet, she cracked the code.
Why you should listen to me: My name is Nick Gray. I’ve hosted hundreds of parties all over the world. After making it a habit, I can easily host a gathering and make new friends with no sweat. New York Magazine once called me a host of “culturally significant” parties.
Tips & Tricks
Laila decided to host this party first thing in the morning.
Everyone is up, peppy, and there’s little time for those with social anxiety to overthink and cancel. Plus it helped to let attendees know that they would be done by noon.
Imagine being able to do something so big and daunting by noon on a Saturday. You’d feel amazing!
Setting the tone
From the email (so. many. puns.) to the decor (balloon walls, ceremonial pens for the signing), Laila spent a lot of time making sure the event tied together.
She hung up a balloon wall the night before that their friends could take pictures in front of. She heard later that many of them shared these pictures with family and friends who were shocked to find out how fun this event turned out.
Laila picked things that were versatile, had a wow factor, and could be prepared ahead of time.
Andrew loves breakfast, and all things DIY, so she went with a bagel bar and a parfait bar.
This combination is also easy to tweak for guests with food sensitivities.
- Bagels + Cream Cheese (fancy version: different types of bagels and a variety of cream cheeses)
- Fixings: This included lox, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, capers and dill
- Greek Yogurt (fancy version: different types of yogurt)
- Honey and Agave
- Fruit Platter
- Cold Brew Coffee
- Iced Tea
- Fresh Juice
The Signing Ceremony
Putting together a will is incredibly personal.
To increase the likelihood that guests would attend, Laila asked them to complete this step at home.
In Washington DC, you need to have at least two signing witnesses who are not part of the will. This can be an awkward request to make of someone (“heeeey, you’re not important enough for me to leave you anything in my will, but can you sign this?”).
Laila asked friends to bring a printed copy or send it to her ahead of time to print, and to make the document official, they’d act as each other’s witnesses.
The Party Favors
To get folks excited to continue on this preparation journey, she put together emergency document binders for all the guests. There are few things quite as exhilarating as free stationary for a bunch of type-A Washingtonians.
Each binders include:
- Page Protectors (to put their newly signed will in)
- Emergency Binder Template
- Custom Sticker of the birthday man (to remember this day!)
- She labeled each binder with their name using an embossing label maker. It made each person feel special.
Steps in Hosting Your Own Will Party
1. Gather a group that gets it… and is willing to try something new.
Before Laila had figured out how to make this happen, she quietly made the rounds of a few of Andrew’s friends asking if they would be open to completing their will in a party format.
While they all liked the idea, they were skeptical that the process of putting together a will could be easy, or fun. She got their buy-in by promising both.
2. Make decisions that increase the likelihood of success.
Here’s what Laila know. People want to be prepared, but they don’t want to go through the discomfort of doing the difficult thing.
After countless conversations with pros, she realized that just having a lawyer in the room talk to people about options wasn’t going to cut it.
1. It’s not the funnest topic and
2. It didn’t accomplish the goal of completing a will.
Two decisions that vastly increased the likelihood of success were discovering Freewill, giving people a long runway to complete their wills, and making this a brunch event.
3. Send out an engaging email.
Making a will is not anyone’s idea of a ‘fun’ time, so for this type of event, branding was everything.
Laila went overboard to make sure that the attendees knew it would be a blast, they’d feel amazing once it was over, and that she spent a lot of time thinking through all the sticky details. She also clearly listed out the steps they needed to take before attending the party.
Here is her sample email:
INVITATION: “Til Death Do Us Party: An Andrew XXXXX Celebration
It’s happening! Get ready to raise a toast and celebrate in a way like never before.
I’m excited to invite you to a one-of-a-kind event that’s all about fun, friendship, and yes, even a touch of legal flair. Join us for Andrew’s “Til Death Do Us Party” 35th Birthday Brunch!
Date: Saturday September 16th 2023
Time: 9:30 am – Noon
Venue: Our place!
Now, before you start picturing a somber gathering, let me set the record straight – this party is all about making some memories while we cover some important bases. Our motto? “Party Today, Plan for Eternity”.
Highlights to Look Forward To:
Freewill Fun: We’ve partnered up with freewill.com, a website that makes creating your will a breeze. Jump online before the party and complete your will in a jiffy. No worries, it’s easy peasy, and I promise it won’t dampen the festivities.
Lighthearted Legacies: In the spirit of the theme, come prepared with a story, a memory, or even a hilarious prediction for Andrew’s future.
A Tiny Request:
We’re all about efficiency, so we’re kindly asking you to complete your will on freewill.com before the event. Print it out and bring it along – we’re turning the signing into an epic memory-making moment. Plus, it’s a pretty cool conversation starter, right?
Don’t worry, we’ve got your back if you’re unsure about anything. Feel free to reach out with questions or if you need a helping hand.
Your presence is what will truly make this event unforgettable. Let’s make memories, toast to Andrew, and party like there’s no tomorrow!
4. Remind, remind, and confirm.
To make their time together festive, Laila asked attendees to complete their wills ahead of time and to bring a printed copy to the party.
Freewill makes the process of completing a will *so easy*, that she knew if she asked folks to spend 5-10 minutes checking it out, they’d whiz through and complete it in no time.
The main event would be a fabulous brunch, followed by a signing of the wills ceremony. Reminder emails and texts kept folks on track.
Sample reminder email here:
“Til Death Do Us Party” is Just Around the Corner!
I hope this email finds you in high spirits and ready to dive into a celebration that’s sure to be talked about for ages! With just a week left until Andrew’s “Til Death Do Us Party” 35th Birthday Brunch, I wanted to give you a friendly nudge and a sneak peek of what’s in store.
Date: Saturday September 16th 2023
Time: 9:30 am – Noon
Venue: Our place!
Remember, this isn’t your average brunch. We’re combining laughter, heartfelt moments, and a touch of legal intrigue to make this a day you won’t forget.
- Don’t forget to visit freewill.com to create your will before the event! It’s a breeze, and having it ready will make our signing ceremony even more memorable.
- Have a quirky or heartwarming anecdote about Andrew? Get ready to share.
- Prepare for some surprises and a whole lot of fun. Our motto is to party hard while being responsible adults.
- Your presence means the world to us, and we’re excited to see you there, ready to create new memories and toast to the future.
Got any questions? Need assistance with the online will process? Just hit reply!
Please make sure to RSVP by tomorrow so we can ensure there’s enough party magic to go around.
Get ready to party like there’s no tomorrow,
5. Be a flexible and generous host.
No matter how easy you make this, there’s still going to be a lot of internal resistance and apprehension to completing wills.
Some attendees will wait till the last minute, others might need your help printing the document. Laila made sure that they could reach out to her any time if they had questions or needed help.
Want your friends/family/coworkers to be prepared in case the worst happens? Here are some other ways to host a will party:
Emergency Preparedness Month Party
- Themes: Prepared for Anything. Surviving and Thriving.
- Food: Emergency Rations Corner (energy bars, granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix, jerky)
- Activities: Share your favorite survival tip.
- Themes: Wills and Witches. Ghoulish Gathering. A Will Party to Die For. Boos and Bequests
- Food: Finger shaped sandwiches. Witches’ brew punch. Meatballs.
- Activities: Share the one weird thing you made sure was taken care of in your will.
New Years Party
- Themes: New Year, New You! Resolutions & Revocable Trusts. Toast to Tomorrow.
- Food: Healthy options. Fresh pressed juice. Avocado Toast Bar. Smoothie Bowls.
- Activities: Share your New Year’s resolutions and discuss how estate planning aligns with your goal. A 5 minute stretch or meditation session.
- Themes: Love you to Death! Love & Last Wishes
- Food: Quiche. Tiny sandwiches. Mini pancake stack. Champagne flight.
- Activities: Share one thing you love about your current life.
Thanks to Laila’s ingenuity, Andrew’s birthday became the “Til Death Do Us Party”—a unique blend of celebration and practicality. From a morning timing that banished anxiety to a thoughtfully curated menu and signing ceremony, every detail made estate planning enjoyable.
As you plan your own Will Party, remember Laila’s lessons: gather an open-minded group, make decisions for success, and send engaging invites.
A big thank you to Laila for this inspiring article and for sharing her innovative approach. Cheers to celebrating life responsibly!
Hello, My name is Nick Gray. In my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, I provide helpful guidance on how to host a great party for any event. I wrote this book to support anyone attempting to meet new people and develop closer bonds with their community.
When is your party? Send me an email and I will give you some bonus tips, including a pre-party checklist that you can print out. Plus I’ll answer any question you have, free of charge. I love talking about parties and I’m on a mission to help 500 people host their first party.