Raising Memories: A Surprise Birthday Party!
  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Surprise Birthday Party!

For months I have been planning a surprise party for my mom's birthday. With the help of my dad and siblings, we arranged to fly my sister, Hilary, home from Utah and gather some of my mom's close friends and family to surprise her almost a month before her actual birthday. It was so much fun to do this for her!





The day before the party, I picked my sister up from the airport. We spent the following day setting up for the party (I can't believe we didn't take any pictures during the set-up process!). We went with a burlap & lace theme with yellow roses because they're my mom's favourite flower.


We had the party in the cultural hall at their church and were able to borrow some decorations from a few friends & family members. I was so happy to be able to borrow those things, they really brought everything together!


My mom LOVES chocolate so I borrowed my mother-in-law's chocolate fountain and we coordinated the food mostly around it (along with some crackers & cheese and veggies). We also bought a cake (I do love making cakes, but I just didn't have enough time to make it myself this time!) which was part of the reveal of the 2nd surprise (that Hilary was there).


As part of the surprise, I had been contacting people that my mom knew from different stages of her life and asking them to write to me with a memory that stood out to them with my mom. Some of them were mailed to me and some were e-mailed. I printed them out and put each person's in their own envelope. I collected a few more than one per year of her life so far!

This was a unique experience for me as the gatherer of the memories because I got a glimpse into how others feel about my mom. It was a really neat experience! I was with her when she read through the memories and my sister-in-law and I were saying how everyone should get something like this for their birthday- what a special thing to know how others feel about you and what memories with you are meaningful to them!


I thought there might be a few people at the party who hadn't had a chance to send in their memory on time, so I set out a note and some papers and envelopes, letting people know that they could write their memory out to add to the stack.


This next photo was the last one that I took during the party because I got too busy saying hello to everyone! These are some of the guests as they gathered before my mom arrived.


Once everything was ready to go, my dad arrived with my mom blindfolded and brought her into the room while the guests stayed silent. He removed the blindfold and we all said "Surprise!"  We gave her a moment to adjust a little to the idea of the party (it was a month before her actual birthday so she wasn't expecting any celebration so soon!) then told her we were going to get her cake and sing Happy Birthday to her. My brother & sister & I left to get the cake and we came back together with Hilary (the sister she didn't know was there, from Utah) carrying the cake while everyone sang to her. She was definitely surprised!

Ken got the surprises on video:


Last of the photos, but definitely not least, is this photo of our whole family together after the party. From left to right are my sister Amber, myself, my dad, my mom, my sister Hilary, and my brother Brandon. This took place a couple of days before Father's Day so it was really nice to be able to be all together for that as well!


I had one more surprise up my sleeve for my mom that weekend and I'll share that with you in another post soon, so stay tuned! ;)


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18 comments:

  1. Wow! You did a fantastic job! Your mom looks so happy :)

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    1. Thanks Dawn! :) It turned out really well, I was so glad!

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  2. Awwwh, what a sweet event! The decorations are gorgeous, and you can never go wrong with a chocolate fountain. Such a beautiful family; happy birthday to your mom! :)

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    1. I'm with you on that! The chocolate fountain was so good that we did it again for Father's Day! :)

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  3. You, your mom and your entire family will be talking about this wonderful party for years to come. How sweet of you and your family to do this. I LOVE the idea of memory letters, what a wonderful keepsake of a special day.

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    1. Thank you. :) Yes, the memories were a really cool part!

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  4. What a great surprise party for your mom! I absolutely love the 61 memories for 61 years idea. How special is that. You've given me lots of ideas here, now I want to plan a party for my mom!

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    1. I'm glad this gave you some good ideas! I hope you can use some of them someday. :)

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  5. I'm soooooo sad I missed it. What a wonderful surprise. And to have Hil there, your mom most have loved every minute of it. You captured some great pictures and videos. And I especially love the family photo!! Such a great keepsake.

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    1. Me too, Sherry! It would have been so nice to have had you there!

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  6. What a great evening! Your mom is a very special lady and has certainly passed it on to her kids! So glad I could be there to celebrate with you and your family! Thanks Heather❤️

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    1. Thank you so much for coming, Sandy! I was so glad you could come and it was great to see you! :)

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  7. Looks like an amazing time! I'm sure your mom felt very special :)

    Blessings,
    Edye | Http://gracefulcoffee.wordpress.com

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  8. You look like your MOM!! What a great thing for you to do for her. I love so much about the look of this but what I think I love the most is that fact that you did it and you collected these memories for her. Many people don't have the chance to see or hear how others feel about their parents - or how impactful they have been on someone else's life until a funeral actually. So doing this for a birthday is such a beautiful way to just celebrate relationships while you are able. I like seeing these things you do with your Mom Heather. My mom passed away 2 1/2 years ago now and I miss her every day and wish we had more time to do things together when she was alive. You are both lucky to have each other. Give her a big hug for me.

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  9. I love your burlap and roses table runners. So pretty! That is such a sweet surprise you planned out for your mom. I love the look on her face when she realized her sister was there. Priceless!

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  10. Waoooo... what a great idea of surprise birthday party you have shared. It really looks ravishing and very well decorated.

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  11. Debbie White BeattieNovember 12, 2017 at 5:10 AM

    The venue looks great and you really managed to pull it off which can be hard I know because I did a surprise party for my mother

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment- I love reading them! :)
~Heather Lynne

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