Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First we HOST, now we BOAST!

What has been an idea several years in the making, finally came to be one weekend ago. On Saturday, the eve of my parents' 40th wedding anniversary, Bret and I {together with 25 of their closest friends and out-of-town family} pulled off a surprise of a lifetime, an anniversary party!

Party preparations began in the New Year and by the second week of January, I had the date and location set. I then began scouring the Internet for ideas and inspiration for the soiree. Although red is usually associated with 40th wedding anniversaries, I only wanted to use it as an accent color. Having had our rehearsal dinner at this particular venue, I knew I needed colors that would brighten, what has a tendency to be, a dark space. Plus with it being a summer party, I wanted the decor to be a reflection of the season, light and airy! Once I arrived at my color palate of corals, peaches, yellows, and light greens, with hints of purple and touches of red, the rest was just legwork and details.

From the cake to the flower arrangements, down to the outfits my family would wear, I wanted to keep all my ideas for the party organized. With the help of a free online photo editing site {Big Huge Labs}, I created an inspiration board to keep me on track. This is also the site I use to create photo collages here on Webbisodes.

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My original inspiration board


Creating and ordering the guest invitations was one of the first items I tackled.

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Invitations by Invitation Consultants


Being a self-admitted perfectionist, I knew exactly how I wanted the evening aesthetic to look. Convincing Mom and Dad that dining out with the baby on a Saturday evening during the peak of tourist season would be difficult, so I knew a great plan was necessary! Being cautious not to reveal our hand, I devised a CIA inspired, black-ops esque, mission impossible, you never saw me coming, failure is not an option strategy! {I'm expecting a call any day to take over all military operations!}

For my parents, I created an invitation similar to the one I made for the guests, obviously omitting parts of the original invite like SURPRISE and PARTY! I purchased my mom a beautiful outfit from her favorite store {Chico's} and ordered my dad a Tommy Bahama shirt from Zappos {Can't say enough great things about Zappos.com}. I wrapped everything in a big brown box and attached the new invitation on top.

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During one of our weekend visits, I left the package behind unbeknownst to my parents. After Mom and Dad's discovery of the mysterious parcel, we received an excited phone call and a grateful acceptance of our dinner mandate invitation.

Planning this party, I felt a little like Santa Claus. I made countless lists and checked them all no less than a million times. For months, I made phone call after phone call to vendors and shop owners to ensure that everyone was on the same page. I grew up a little while planning this event and learned to care a little less about others' perception of me {the persnickety, persistent, pain in the you-know-what client} and care more about doing whatever it took to produce an unforgettable event!

The night of the party, I was a nervous wreck! Not able to oversee the final preparations myself, I sent Bret to supervise and complete a few finishing touches. Walking into the restaurant that evening and seeing that everything had come together so beautifully was a great feeling. But nothing compared to the satisfaction and joy Bret and I received from finally having the opportunity to give a little something back to my parents, the two people that have given us so much.

One of the many highlights that evening included a video in honor of my parents' special occasion. I've uploaded an abridged version of the video shown that night. If you plan to watch be prepared, even this shorter version is nearly ten minutes in length. Hey! What can I say? For a couple with 40+ years of history between the two of them, it was a miracle I was able to get it that short! {Quicktime movie may take a few minutes to load, but hopefully you'll find that it's worth the wait!}

To view the video, click here.

The room was beautiful, the decorations splendid, and the food was top notch prepared by renowned Pensacola chef, Irv Miller. But it was the company that surpassed it all! The tone of the evening was nothing short of magical, and seeing my parents surrounded by such a large group of family and loving friends, meant the world to not only them, but me as well.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.--Anonymous

{Party Pictures}
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It's all in the details...


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Red velvet cake topper with individual red cupcake favors for each guest


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The arrangements turned out beautifully!


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Dinner and Toasting {Buddy Lanier (lower right) and Dad (upper left) make toasts.}


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Playing hostess and Momma was hard work! But as you can tell, GG found ways to keep herself entertained.


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The guests


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Mom and Dad enjoying the party! And, as always, GG was a big hit!



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Mom and Dad, the couple of the evening!

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Be sure to check back later today for an exciting giveaway sponsored by Invitation Consultants!

12 comments:

Jennifer said...

It truly is so nice to see the amazing relationship you have with your parents. You surely pulled it off....it turned out beautiful. There are not too many surprises in life, so when you can actually pull one off, it is great. You might need to go into the party planning business!

Candace said...

I LOVE IT! Everything looked beautiful - especially that sweet baby girl and your parents! I love that you could make this so special for them.

Laura@Cowboy Boots said...

wow! you rock as a daughter! i def can't show my mom this blog post! haha

you did a fantastic job!

Sweet Southern Prep said...

How sweet and thoughtful are you? It looks like a grand time with lots of friends to help celebrate!

Thanks for sharing! Now all of your attention can be on prepping GG's party. :)

Reynie @ Southern Girl Rambling said...

Looks like a big hit and that all your planning made it that way! I can't wait to see what you have in store for GG's b-day party!

mama k said...

WOW! That video is amazing!!! Your family will be able to watch that forever and know the love that your parents share!! Congrats on a successful party. (I have to admit I teared up and got goosebumps and I only know you through blogging!!) :)

SassySillySpunky said...

Oh Shannon I am SO impressed with your party planning skills. The party turned out perfect and everything looked so beautiful. You provided a night that your parents will never forget!

Tracey said...

What a wonderful gift and tribute! You rock as a daughter. :) Happy Anniversary to you all! xoxo

liz said...

Congratulations to them! They are too cute! And good job pulling it off! I did one joint surprise party for my parents, when they both turned 60. And I'll never do it again!

KJJ Houston said...

You are an amazing daughter!! How special you made them feel!! LOVE IT!! I also have those Jessica Simpson tall wedges in orange love them!

sara said...

What a wonderful party, every little detail was perfect! You are an amazing daughter, I know your parents must be very proud and happy. :) Happy anniversary to your cute parents!

Lexie Loo & Dylan Too said...

It looked like a wonderful party! Great job!