A Havana Nights 35th Birthday

A little over 2 weeks ago, we celebrated the birthdays of one of my favorite couples, my sister and brother in law…Havana Style. Party Planning is a Pou Family affair. And when I talk about party planning I’m talking florals, hand-painted backdrop murals, personalized cuban fedora favors, invitation design, light setup and even the traditional Lechon was done by someone in the family. Mama Pou did the bulk of the work for this one, with some help from the ladies that I like to call the Tia Squad (the aunt crew). I can’t take credit for much more than just helping with setup and creating a grass picture wall from the materials they had this time, but then again, I always said I definitely married into the right family.

We celebrated with Cuban Party attire. The Men wore Guayaberas. The women were given flowers to wear in their hair and fedoras hand-painted with Cuban Flags and their initials were set out for the taking.

The grass backdrop and tropical balloon arch was setup by our good friend, Kary from Just 2 Party.

We added to her decor with large wine barrels and wood crates with fruits and traditional cuban trinkets atop tropical leaves.

A cigar roller sat at the front offering cigars to whoever cared for one freshly rolled.

And the bartenders served Mojitos from the custom bar we had built from wood pallets for Vera’s first birthday.

And what’s a Cuban Party with some Salsa, Drum beats and Rumberas to get the crowd moving. The grand finale was a homemade hora loca complete with the kids carrying decorated poles, maracas and glow sticks being handed out.

This was a life celebration with a nod to our Cuban roots. And while it was not the reason for this party, as I post this, I can’t help but think of the Cuban people during these trying times.

I grew up listening to stories about how they stormed my own family’s house with machetes — just because they chose to leave their country in search of a better future. My uncle and aunt, just teens, thrown into back of trucks and stoned as they left. Both mine and my husband’s grandparents served jail time as political prisoners and witnessed horrors in their fight for what was right. And while I have never visited Cuba, I, like many other first and second generation Cuban-Americans still feel their spirit down in my bones.

Our parents and Grandparents fled their homes with nothing in search of a a better future for their children and grandchild. The American Dream. I can only feel grateful for their sacrifices with a deeper understanding that “Freedom is not Free.”

I can only hope to see a free Cuba in my lifetime. I can only hope that as the Cuban people throw themselves into the street desperate, armless, and chanting “we are not afraid” as they ask for basic human rights and an end to the past 60 years of oppression — that they do not give up.

The people of Cuba need help. If you would like to help please consider doing so by signing this: petition for military intervention


Photography: Silvana Gonzalez Photography

Backdrop: Just 2 Party

Rentals: Contempo Linens

Cigar Roller: Sabor Havana

Makeup and Hair: GS Glow Beauty

Invitation: In10se Design

Entertainment: Viva Entertainment