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!
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! ;)