Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shhh- It’s a Surprise

My sister and I want to stage a surprise party for my mom this summer when she turns 80! The genetic factor leads to a high probability of us doing this again at 90 and 100. But “Seize the Day” is my motto - we’re not promised tomorrow. We’ve started planning and I thought I’d put it out there and see if you have any wonderful ideas that we should incorporate.

This is what we have so far:
Time: Sunday afternoon
Place: The lovely public area of my sister’s downtown Sarasota condo.
Food: Finger foods- my sister says “Call the caterer” and my budget says, “I’ll do the food”. I think beautiful presentation is key and my mom has tons of heirloom serving dishes, tablecloths, etc. Of course the surprise element could be tricky.
Drinks: Lemonade? I don’t like punch and it will be July.
Gifts: I want to ask people to bring a note about why my mom is special to them and give her a treasure box of love as the gift. I’m not sure of a clever way to ask for this in the invitation.
Theme: I don’t know if we need a theme, since it’s an 80th Birthday party, but “Legacy of Love” comes to mind.

Since I’m on old photo week, here’s a photo of my Mom holding me just a few years ago. LOL.
And one of her on the beach around 1950 . Wow, she’s glamorous!
I’ve never put on a surprise party and feel like it will be a miracle if I don’t have a slip of the tongue in the next 6 months. She doesn't read my blog so I'm safe here. Good thing I have an outlet.

Any suggestions for the party? I’m all ears.


Merrie said...

The amazing thing is, you still look the same!
A few years ago we did a surprise anniversary party for our parents. I also opted for "doing it myself". It was beautiful and delectable with rave reviews from everyone. Food abounded all over the place with all sorts of beautiful food arrangements and displays.
The only problem is - I worked myself into oblivion and was so worn out that I could not enjoy it - plus my "helpers" didn't come through and so I spent the entire time refilling serving trays and do not remember speaking to the guests except to say , "excuse me" when I went to the table.
I wished I had gone more simple with a caterer and enjoyed the special occasion.

Edie said...

This sounds great Beverly!! Your mom will be thrilled. Love the photos. And you look a little younger there than I imagined. But just a little. :D

I'm usually good with kids parties but this kind will require some thought. If anything comes to mind I'll let you know. :) No matter, it will be a great time, I'm sure.

mrs-sofa said...

(Sofa's Mom)
My Mom's 86 now and we did the 80th birthday party for her. We didn't think Mom could handle a surprise so we opted to tell her. Good decision, but she handled the guest list and was constantly going over it with me. Keep it simple and catered. We did the shopping and preparing, a lot of work. Had great friends helping, but one of them decided to microwave some meatballs in a gorgeous cut-glass bowl. Needless to say, a million pieces, never told Mom about it and thankfully she didn't miss it. It was a wonderful party that she thoroughly enjoyed, and so that you can enjoy it too, I would suggest delegating jobs and let someone else do the food.

Cindy Swanson said...

Love the idea and love the photos!

I know you're already asking people to bring a note about how special your mom is to you. How about getting some letters from people who live away and can't come, including friends from your mom's past?

My sisters and I did that for our parents' 50th wedding anniversary. We asked for letters or e-mails from faraway friends, asked to receive them before the event, and put them all in a beautiful scrapbook so they could take it out and enjoy the letters at their leisure. It meant a lot to them!

sara said...

raspberry lemonade would be refreshing and different.

something I did for my my on her 60th birthday (80 might be harder) but I wrote her a letter entitled "60 reasons I love my mom" She still talks about it years later.

that will be so fun! I enjoy planning a party!

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

I threw a surprise party for the hubby once. I had a picture of him blown up and had several markers out for party goers to write well wishes on the picture. I still have it.

If I ever looked that good in a bathing suite I would have it blown up and hanging on my wall!

I also went to a 50 BD party fro a friend and in the invitation my friends wife had included a small questionnaire along with he invitation. It asked question such as how long have you know the person, what is the funniest story you have regarding that person. During the party some of the questionnaire were read out loud. It made for a lot of laughs.

Just a few suggestions.


My ADHD Me said...

I love your ideas!!
Catering is less work but the special dishes and heirlooms would be so special.
For my mom-in-laws 50th birthday, I had all her children, their spouses, their children and as many friends as I could think of hand write (no computers or typing allowed) a note, drawn picture or anything about why she was special. Even the young children drew pictures. I sent each person the same kind of paper to do it on (include extras for mistakes). I had them mail them to me....give yourself time for late ones. Then I put them in a binder. I think it was the best gift! She said she loved it more than anything she could ever remember getting and keeps it displayed in her living room. Especially neat was the letters from old friends that she hadn't seen in years. (I had help from her daughter for those names and addresses).

I think what you are doing is great.

Oh yeah, I LOVE those styles in the pictures. The dresses AND the bathing suit.

Anonymous said...

I helped my previous boss plan a party for her mom similar to this idea. I can't remember how we worded it on the invitation, but it was basically asking them to think of their favorite memory with the person. When they arrived, each person was given a specially designed piece of acid free paper and acid free pen/marker to write their memory on the sheet of paper. We used a small 8x8 scrapbook to place them all in as they finished. At the end of the party they put them all in the scrapbook and presented it to her mom. It was beautiful. We even left extra blank pages to add photos from the party as well.

I did this for plannerchick's shower as well and it turned out great!

Brenda Leyland said...

Bev, what a wonderful party to plan for! Ideas - I'd look through all my old and cherished Victoria magazines from Nancy Lindemeyer days -- they often featured wonderful party ideas and lavish photo displays to match.

I'd go for getting someone else to do the catering. I recently planned a surprise party for my retiring husband. When I decided to let someone else do the catering, it made the whole event more enjoyable -- I wasn't worn out!!

BTW - thanks for dropping by my place. Lovely to hear from you.

Pam from alertandorientedx4 said...

How fun for you! We did a 90th (NOT surprise) for my aunt last summer. One of the funnest things was her granddaughters put together a looped slide show, a la' "This Is Your Life." We also had a picture of her on an easel in one of the big mats that people can sign....best wishes to you!

Greg C said...

This sounds like a great party and Yes I think I can make it. Thanks for asking. I promise not to give away the surprise. You may want to see if anyone has any photos to go along with the memories.

Your mother was very attractive in that photo and I have to say that I find those older swimsuits much more attractive than the newer ones. They showed off a woman figure better than the ones these days and the women back then just seemed more healthy. I am not a big fan of the skin and bones look.

Ok its ok that you didn't invite me. :(

Fuschia said...

Instead of notes, you could give each guest a lined scrapbook page (Creative Memories has smaller albums that are very nice) to write their sentiments on. The pages could then be assembled by a crafty person into a great keepsake which could include photos of your mom's life, or of the guests, and of the party itself.

Another idea is a DVD montage of photos of your mom's life, complete with music from her era or music that she loves.

Above all remember to KISS the party...Keep It Simple Stupid, I mean Silly ;)

Barbara said...

Beverly, I used Publix and a local BBQ place to cater my wedding. Who says catering has to be expensive. Maybe do some catering and prepare a few family favorites or especially your mother's favorites. That way you won't work yourself to the bone and can enjoy the day with your mother. Before my mother passed away we found that experiences were worth 20 times more than stuff. This will surely be and experience of a lifetime! Hey maybe you can do and "it's your life" theme?

Barb said...

What great pictures! I love the bathing suit - women did seem to be so much more glamorous back then!

Don't stress yourself about the party - whatever you do will be fine and perfectly wonderful, I'm sure. For your mom, really it will be the friends... the thoughtfulness... the kind wishes... that will become the cherished memories. Not the finger foods that were served, or if the antique serving pieces were used, or if everything was color coordinated.

I'm sure it will be a wonderful day of friendship and reminiscing for everyone who attends!