So! My mother turned 60 in August, and my dad wanted to throw her a surprise party. Unfortunately, my dad and party planning don't go together well, as I come by my procrastination and general disorganized-ness honestly. However, I can get into gear when I need to. So my dad handed me a checkbook and said, "Make this the best party she's ever been to."
So I got to work! We threw the party a week before her actual birthday, so she'd be surprised. It was held in the community association clubhouse in my town, which is a beautiful building that looks out over the lake. She's always said she wants to have a party there (meaning my wedding, I think, but that's a bit preemptive, as I'm not engaged). My sister and I pretty much put everything together. We decided on a theme of gold, yellow and brown, to fit a sort of "sepia tone" theme.
Here is the invite, using my dad's favorite picture of her, her senior picture from high school:
It was a HUGE hit, and my mom loved it once she saw it (after the party). She was simultaneously really excited and sort of embarrassed that her picture went out as a postcard all over the state
Here's the table. We kept the wall decorations pretty minimal, because the room already matched our color scheme! This was at the beginning of the evening--by the end, you couldn't even see the tablecloth because people brought soooooo many flower arrangements. And by some fluke, most of them were yellow! We used lots of sunflowers--she loves those, and they fit the theme.
The unbelievably gorgeous cake. I really wish I could say we made it, but we got it at the Cakery, St. Louis's fantastic, delicious bakery. They have the best buttercream I have EVER tasted. And their cupcakes are to die for. We went into the shop and I sketched out what we wanted on a napkin; two weeks later they delivered exactly that. That bow on top is fondant!
And my favorite crafty part of the night: the centerpieces. I scanned old photos from throughout Mom's life: her sixth grade class picture, her first wedding to my birth father, her second wedding to my adoptive father, the births of all her children, and some other favorite photos. I made them sepia tone and printed them out on gold vellum, which I then wrapped around glass hurricanes. I filled them with brown sand, put in gold candles, and put brown satin ribbon around the edges of the vellum. As the candles burned down, they shone through the pictures and cast shadows of the images onto the white tablecloths. My mom loved them, and each of my siblings and my parents took one home.
Mom seemed to have a great time--this is Dad making a toast and her giving her "oh-you're-so-full-of-crap-but-I-love-you" face.
We had personalized M&Ms, too, yellow, brown and ivory ones that said "Happy B-Day Mom!" and "Linda is 60!" but I'm having trouble finding a picture. I'll add it later if I can find it. An A Capella group from a nearby university came to perform, which was great--they sang my five-year-old niece's favorite song, "Suddenly I See" by K.T. Tunstall. Her name is Fiona, and she calls it "Noni's Song" when it comes on the radio. When they started singing it, she squealed and bounced up and down, and kept telling people "They're singing to me!"
It was a great night, and I wish I had more pictures. My sister took a bunch--I'll see if I can coerce her into sending some...