I'm not much of one for surprise parties. I find that I love the excitement almost as much as the actual event, so I'm always better off having something to look forward to (although I do still love surprises). I do, however, love planning surprises! This is why I was so jazzed to pull off my parents 35th anniversary without them actually finding out!
My siblings and I put our heads together and decided to use the top floor of a wine tasting company in our awesome downtown. It has a rustic flair and free as long as you don't mind people milling about!
We decided to each bring a couple appetizers and to order a replica of the top layer of their wedding cake! (I even snuck in their house to steal their cake topper while they were away.)
Since none of us is super well-off, we had to go about this a bit thriftily, but I think it worked well, since the place had an eclectic vibe on its own. I used a bunch of frames from home and placed in photos from their wedding around the place (and a few recent ones).
I also made a sign with some things I had around the house- twine, cardboard and paint- with a few photos through the years.
The only thing they knew was that my hubs and I were picking them up for wine and cheese to celebrate their anniversary, but when we got there, they were definitely surprised!
Mom started crying at random points in the night- like when she saw all of us and when she realized the cake was a replica:
And we definitely made them cut the cake!
The sneaky crew:
Now, this all was pretty simple to do and to keep secret, but the best part was opening gifts. For the last few months, I have been monitoring a secret Facebook page and messaging all of my parents Facebook friends, even making a few long distance phone calls to those I couldn't find online. I had been asking people to write letters to my parents to tell them how their marriage has made an impact in their lives. I ended up receiving somewhere around 70 letters. Unbelievably- no one told them!
Once I received all the letters and a couple photos and cards, I put them all into a program called Bookwright (through Blurb.com) and had a hardcover book published with photos of them through the years and all the letters inside. (I admit, I had to proofread them all first!)
When we gave it to them, we hadn't even told them what was inside yet:
Then it sunk in:
We even received a beautiful gift for them from Natalie at Apple Valley Natural Soaps! They LOVED it!
And while I was so nervous things wouldn't go smoothly- it was absolutely perfect. They had a wonderful time and were so happy to have the whole family together to celebrate their 35 years of bliss- which sounds like a cliche until you've gotten to know them. :) Their marriage has been the most incredible example of godly love and selflessness. I have seen them be incredible parents, an amazing husband and wife team, and completely dedicated to Christ.
Now, I get to see them be incredible grandparents as well!
Dad and mom, thank you for being such beautiful examples of marriage in my life! I truly hope the letters from everyone show you how much your lives make a difference. And thank you to everyone who wrote letters! I loved reading them!!
I wish I had been able to post about this sooner, but it has been a whirlwind of a week and I'm sure it will continue to get more and more busy as warmer weather comes. :) I've been in Heaven spending a few afternoons on our porch reading in the sunshine and listening to the birds. I'm pretty sure God created seasons for people like me.
Have a beautiful week!