This past week my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. On June 20, 1987 they said I do, at a small church in North Carolina and partied the night away with family and friends. Fast forward 25 years and my sister and I are trying to find a way to commemorate an event we never even attended, no big deal right?! WRONG! We knew from the get go that we wanted the night to be special and after months of trying to come up with a plan and throwing in the complications of my new work schedule where I do not currently have weekends off, we decided the best thing to do was meet half way between where they live and where I live in Columbia to have a quaint family dinner celebration that my sister and I would foot he bill for. But, being that our family is not one for quaint small gatherings, we knew we had to blow this celebration out of the water!
The Plan: To gather all of our family together from both sides and have them meet us at the restaurant and surprise our parents who thought the only reason we were going to Columbia was so that I could be there.
Level of success: 9 out of 10. The surprise managed to stay under wraps until the woes of small town living and a family business made the plans somewhat apparent as my parents passed family members dressed up and leaving to go out on their way home from work and a lot of leaving work early on the part of my uncles (oops! guess we didn’t think that through) annnd then of course all the cars in the parking lot, but I think they were still just thrilled to see everyone and be able to enjoy a huge family gathering that was all about them! And considering they didn’t realize what was going on until about 5:30 when dinner was at 7 I think my sister and I did a pretty jam up job of getting it all together!
The day started off with me running around trying to get everything together (flowers, balloons, gift baskets, etc) before I hate to leave charlotte and trek about 85 miles down to Columbia to meet everyone at 6:30 before my parents arrived at 7.
First, I hit the farmers market, yes I am an addict, but the flowers there are always so pretty and pretty inexpensive. I got this entire bouquet for $20. I am relatively positive they would have been triple that from a florist not even including the price of the vase they make you pay for most of the time. These flowers were so gorgeous and there were minimal people there so no crowd fighting and, I might add that they made QUITE the statement on the table, everyone wanted to take them home, but there were for mom, so keep your grubby paws off!
Then came one of the days most notorious events, we had to go pick up some balloons, because whats a party without balloons! So I picked these!
It all seemed liked a good idea when I was selecting them in the bags and ringing them up, then the air started being added to them and things got out of hand. The entire balloon bouquet was over 5.5 feet, beucase I know it was taller than I was, oops! AND to add to the drama, the first party city we went to, which was right across the street from my apartment was out of the number 5 so we had to drive 15 minutes across town to get it and have all the balloons blown up, which would have been fine if I didn’t drive a honda civic, and my moms parents weren’t also trying to ride in the car with the over sized balloon bouquet! So, there we were stuffing balloons in the back of the car, on top of my grandma, riding through charlotte looking foolish, and we fought them all the way to the restaurant. But, here are some fun pictures of us fighting the balloons throughout the day!
We also made this really cute gift basket with champagne and their favorite goodies, and some other gift$$$, but I somehow forgot to capture it on film. But, I did get a snap shot of these great personalized glasses we got from this website, to commemorate the event!
Once we got everything together we took to the highway and headed south for the celebration! Everyone arrived on time and the waiting game began, my parents arrived right around 7 with my sister, and I think everything ended up going off without a hitch, and I think they were relatively surprised we were able to get so much of the family to drive so far to meet up for dinner just for them! Heres a little peek at their big entrance!
Clearly my family is a bunch of jokesters, hiding behind their napkins to make the surprise more suspenseful! We know how to do it right! But I think you can tell by the pictures that the guests of honor were touched by the surprise and effort that my sister and I put into making it all happen! Now on to the main course, no really!
We went to the melting pot and it was SOO delicious, if you have never gone, it should be on your bucket list. Everyone says fondue is soooo 1970s, but hello, most people only go for the dessert course!
We had a cheese course with a variety of dipping items (bread, fruit, veggies, and chips) followed by salads and then the main course with a variety of meats and wine based cooking styles. AND last but not least the flaming dessert chocolates that were to die for with strawberries, cheesecake, marshmallows, rice krispy treats and other delicious dippers! It was awesome. And to add to the drama everyones skewers are color coated, which was especially great for my color blind grandfather who just picked whatever he wanted out of the bowls and everyone was constantly looking for their food! He said it provided an excellent dining situation for him, which Im sure was the case!
I think my parents were really pleased with the outcome and had a blast seeing all the family together. There was much reminiscing about an event some of us never even attended and lots of laughing, toasting, eating, and a few tears of heartfelt thanks and appreciation! I have to say that all in all it was a great night, and I really enjoyed being able to see all my family again since my recent move out to the real world.
I mean, look at these folks, who wouldn’t want to party with all of us, and in case you were thinking dinner with my family was a dull occasion, you would be entirely incorrect, I am surprised they didn’t kick us out of the restaurant for being so ridiculous, although we were in their little private party room, so they didn’t have a choice! (sorry for the crappiness of some of the pictures, there was minimal lighting and some struggles on the part of the wait staff in taking some of the iPhone pictures, but I tried my best to document our efforts and celebrations for you!
And heres to my awesome parents, a congratulations to them on 25 happy years and best wishes for 25 more! I think we managed to fill their silver anniversary with tons of awesome memories they are sure to not soon forget!