Images: Lauren Kearns Photography
Back in 2013 my sister sent a group email to all my siblings explaining that although it’s a few years away, we should probably start planning something for our parents’ 35th wedding anniversary (and you guys thought I was a planner). Her reasoning was sound: by 2015 there could be grandbabies (a thought that seemed insane back in 2013) and perhaps my parents might have sold our 2nd childhood home and my mom would probably love a huge party in their honor.
So we started planning – TWO YEARS in the making. An epic, surprise anniversary party that was truly one of THE most magical days. There were indeed grandbabies by 2015 (3 to be exact!), and my parents HAD sold our home. But because we had planned so far in advance were able to get some pretty long-time friends of theirs to travel from Missouri, South Carolina, Boston, Vermont, AND MORE to show up to surprise my parents and celebrate their love and commitment of 35 years. So for today I wanted to share not only some pictures from the amazing surprise party (because OF COURSE there were DIY decorations led by yours truly), but some sage advice from my own parents on staying together for 35 years.
We decided to hold the party at our family’s parish in NJ. My sister got married here, most of my siblings and I made sacraments here, and it just seemed like such an appropriate place to throw a party. It helped that we got an INSANELY nice July day.
I went to town on the DIY projects (ah back when I had time before Evie arrived ;-p) And my siblings helped to make the beautiful teal & orange decor above and below.
The cake featured my parents’ wedding picture and we even framed one for guests to sign!
We hired a Pizza truck to come serve amazing wood fire pizza. The woman I talked to laughed at me when I told her our party date, when I inquired. She said 2 years was certainly the earliest reservation she’s ever received. But if you are in Northern NJ and need a pizza catering/truck – HIRE Pure & Simple … they were THE BEST to work with. And their pizza is incredible.
Before my parents arrived, we sent them out on a drive to stop at 8 places from our family’s history (schools, parks, their first & 2nd homes in NJ). We got the text that they were pulling up to the church, so we brought everyone outside…. boy was the look on their faces PRICELESS.
It was so emotional as we watched them begin to really see everyone that showed up. I am seriously getting teary at my laptop just thinking about it!
CLICK INSIDE FOR THE REST OF OUR PARENTS 35TH ANNIVERSARY SURPRISE PARTY!
We then gathered in the back where the “party” was all set up. Pizza truck, a live band, wine & beer, and more. We kicked off the party with a little ceremony:
Then our photographer took us for some family portraits :)
Now here’s the sage advice my parents wrote up for the post: “Our thoughts on staying together and keeping it real, for 35 years” (yes, that’s a direct quote).
Honesty …be honest with each other
Compromise…it won’t kill you
Laughter….often and always
Thoughtfulness….goes a long way
Respect…always (and PLEASE teach it to your kids)
Trust…in each other and in the vows you took
Keep God (or whatever higher power you believe in ) in your life.
The surprises kept coming as we then had an acapella group come (dear friends of my sister) to sing our parents’ wedding song!
Needless to say I am very lucky to have an extremely amazing family. My rockstar siblings and their significant others all came together to help plan, fund, and execute this incredible surprise party. Lucky for us, we all have some great, varied talents, and they ALL came in handy for planning an epic surprise party! And I am also lucky to have such inspiring parents that have taught us all what it means to have and how to nurture a strong, loving relationship.
Here’s to the next 35 years mom & dad!