My parents marked their 30th wedding anniversary this July -- yesterday, to be more exact! To celebrate, my brother and sister and I put into action a plan that had been in the works for over a year: a big surprise party, held one week before their anniversary.
I have lots of photos from the evening, and hopefully you guys are interested in hearing about a little bit of the planning that went into the event, too...
My aunt Carol (my mom's sister) came on board right away. She took my parents out for dinner on Friday, while Max and I picked up Phoebe from the train station, and Kristie drove down separately with her car packed full of supplies. We had 30 minutes to set up in our parents' CT backyard before guests began to arrive. We laid out the food (including a popcorn bar, a genius idea by my sister) and beer and wine, and hung the decorations.
I loved using black-and-white copies of photos of my parents through the years to spell out the big 3-0. Minted, a company I love and have worked with for ages, provided extra touches like the custom banner, straw flags, table signs, and stickers for the popcorn bags. I love the Wooded Blooms line of party decor; I think it looked great with my parents' yellow house!
Kristie built and painted a custom corn hole board to match the Minted decorations, and I sewed bean bags using scrap fabric. We also set up my parents' ladder ball set. (Have you ever played? It's so much fun!)
I used a lot of supplies leftover from past events, like these big metal tubs and five strands of market lights. (See Kristie? There's a reason I keep all this stuff in the basement! ;) No flowers were necessary as my parents' backyard was in full bloom with indigo hydrangeas, and, strangely enough, my mom had even urged my dad to hang those lanterns that day!
My parents' friends and our extended family members started to arrive while my parents were still at dinner. One of my mom's brothers and his wife even drove six hours for the party! We staked a nice big sign in the front yard telling them where to go.
My parents' dog Chance was the life of the party. I'm pretty sure he thought everybody was there to see him :)
Lots of guests brought food and desserts, which was so helpful!
And then, at 7, my aunt texted us that they were pulling into the driveway...
Chance ran out to greet my parents as we all shouted, "Surprise!" The looks on their faces made all the hard work and planning so worth it!
They were completely surprised. I think for my brother and sister and Kristie and I, it felt like winning a marathon. My mom especially is really good at telling when something's up, and we totally got them! Everyone relaxed after the big surprise, and the party got going.
We squeezed in a couple of family pictures, of course...
My grandpa (my mom's dad) came to the party, too!
We all spent the rest of the evening eating and drinking on the deck, playing lawn games, and hanging out together.
There's no better way I can think of celebrating my parents, and our family, than being surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends -- some of whom traveled pretty far to celebrate with us. We're so grateful to everybody who came or sent their good wishes. I think my parents are still surprised, ha!
It was so much fun working with Max and Phoebe on this party. Special thanks are incredibly deserved by Aunt Carol for distracting my parents, Kristie for helping in almost every way possible, Phoebe's boyfriend Alec for making a last-minute beer run, and Minted for providing the beautiful decor! Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!
*Affiliate links are used in this post