Big Gay Circus

Shawn discusses planning Bethenny's birthday, and what he wishes he had done differently

In my webisode last week, I was in the throes of planning Bethenny's 40th birthday party when I received a call from Julie asking if Max could come assist me. Julie explained that there had been a fall out between Bethenny and Max; but she didn't go into further detail. Bethenny and Julie needed a favor, Max needed a second chance, and I needed an extra set of hands…and with only three weeks to plan the birthday party I said sure. It was a win-win for everyone.

I only knew Max from the few times he and I interacted while planning Bethenny and Jason's wedding. Other than that I didn't know too much about him: what were his abilities, and what were his weaknesses? Quite frankly, and no offense, I didn't have time to worry. The one thing I don't do is set people up for failure. If you don't know how to do something I will help you, show you, and guide you. However, as an adult you just have to ask. If you don't ask, then I will assume you know what you're doing or you will quickly learn. Party planning isn't rocket science, but you have to have an eye for detail. I wasn't sure if Max did. And I was really curious why he was no longer with Bethenny.

When I was going over my expectations with Max, I think I was pretty fair and direct. I didn't sugarcoat anything, and Meagan reinforced how I am and how I operate. So when I gave Max the list of things I needed help with I was expecting questions. I gave him two, if not three, opportunities. When he had no questions I was a little concerned. But he's an adult, and I figured when the time came he would reach out. . .

Planning Bethenny's 40th Birthday was so much different than planning her wedding. To start off with, Bethenny was completely hands off. In the past I've planned at least 20, if not more, 40th birthdays and everyone has been an all out blast with shirtless boys, crazy entertainment, and over the top décor. That's what the clients wanted, that was my frame of reference.

I'm not going to lie, I was a bit nervous. I was getting absolutely no direction from Bethenny. I was going on a spit and a prayer. Apparently my stilt-walking and shirtless boys-serving ideas were a bit much for Bethenny. . .I had her confused for the Big Gay Circus that was coming to town. By the time I finished giving her my ideas she had me sweating like a w---e in church, and I needed a cocktail. STAT! We hugged it out, and all was good.

One thing I admire about Bethenny is her honesty. When she opened up about why she was having issues with her birthday it all made sense. I had no idea she shared a birthday with her mom, and for that reason I had no idea birthdays were painful for her. Had I known, I would have suggested and planned things differently. Hindsight is 20/20. . .

After the tasting, I had a much clearer picture of my approach for her birthday party. I opted for elegant and simple -- white flowers, candles, and soft white fabric. It was just enough, but not too much. And Bethenny approved! Her reaction when she walked into her party was exactly what I wanted. She thought it was beautiful and perfect. It was clear sailing from that point on. Or so I thought. . .

The one thing I've learned is that the simplest of parties can quickly take a turn for the worse. Never get too confident. That night I failed to follow my own rule.

Jason's presentation was perfect. At least that was my opinion. . .then again it wasn't my party, and I couldn't cry if I wanted to. Although, after Bethenny's breakdown I wanted to. As a party planner we do what we do to make people happy, not stressed, not sad, and not to have public breakdowns. My heart was in my throat, and there was nothing I could do to comfort Bethenny. It was an awkward moment to say the least. .

If I had one regret that evening it was sending out the cake looking like the Fourth of July. Hell, it was just sending out the damn cake. I should have dropped it, and no one would have known or missed it. You live and learn. . . that's what makes us better at what we do. I had to remind myself these were Bethenny's issues and demons, and despite the drama, I know I did all I could do to make Bethenny happy.

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