Earlier this fall we had a very special event here in the
country. It involved many of my favorite things:
Fresh garden flowers.
We were blessed to honor and celebrate our parents, Ted and
Alice, on their 60th wedding anniversary and my dad’s 85th
Sixty years with the same person. What an example and privilege!
When 50 years married rolled around, neither of them wanted the
traditional-around-here- cake and punch reception. Instead, we all took a beach
vacation together and had a great time.
Fast forward 10 years and their feelings changed. Realizing
how rare and fortunate it is to be able to celebrate 60 years together and
both still be in relatively good health, they happily agreed to a big blow-out
We decided early in the year that we wanted to have a late
summer hoedown in the beautiful park- like setting of my sister and brother
–in-law’s backyard. And promptly put it on the back burner. That’s the way we
As the summer breezed by, we finally “came-to” near the end
of July and began to seriously plan and delegate responsibilities among we
three sisters and my two ready and willing daughters-in-law. We decided who
would be in charge of food, decorations, invitations, entertainment, and photography.
Coordinating an evening when the essential people were all
available as well as the musicians and Rick, the BBQ Guy, was one of the more stressful parts of the whole thing! After much texting back and forth, we finally selected a
date and kicked into high gear.
“A” started us off with the vibe we were looking for with some adorable invitations. They were just perfect. Originally,
mom and dad thought the party would be just for family-around 100 people. The
guest list kept growing and we ended up inviting over 200 people, and the
majority of them came!
wouldn't suggest doing the guest list and invites the way we did. We planned to
only send paper invitations to out-of-towners and those who were not on Facebook. We did the rest by private message
since most of us planners ignore event
invitations received on social media.
Disaster! It was hard for us to keep track of
who we had actually invited, who had replied, who had read the message, etc.
For their 75th, we will send paper
invitations to everyone.
We were so happy to have so many people who personally cared
for our parents to provide the services we needed. The food was prepared with
love and care and delicious BBQ sauce by the same community members who catered
the high school graduation parties for our boys. They wheeled their smoker in
the yard in the early morning hours and the food was SCRUMPTIOUS!
A family member prepared the delicious and beautiful cakes. We gave her free reign to decorate them however she wanted and we were so happy with the results. The cakes looked perfect and were so yummy that even skinny I-rarely-eat-dessert people had more
than one piece. Good thing we ordered plenty!
We were able to borrow a tent and extra tables and chairs
from church friends and family. Aren't we lucky to have friends who just happen to have their own tent? They like to have parties, obviously!
One of our cousins is in a blue-grass band, The Flat Mountain Boys, and their happy
music provided the perfect background noise for all the visiting and
reminiscing. Even though they were stuck on the “stage” most of the night, they
played their hearts out and had a great time, too.
My mom is a "picture" person who has her walls covered with family photos, so we knew we needed to have some professional ones taken. Kristen, from Rake Photography, who is also my parents' neighbor, stayed from start to finish
capturing so many things that we never would have been able to see while
running around as hostesses. Her pictures were taken with love and it shows!
Our decorations really helped set the stage for a relaxed evening. Twinkling lights, mason jars, and burlap aided to the ambiance.
We used lots of garden flowers and "old stuff" from the family. whenever possible. My folks have really enjoyed all the cards they received.
We wanted to display some of my parents' wedding photos and my baby sister came up with these ideas. Aren't they adorable? She scanned the old photos, printed them, and stuffed some in jars that came from our mom or grandma's stash.
Others were hung on this pallet "clothesline" with old pins. Amy made the burlap pennants and her husband drew the letters freehand-style. I would still be trying to get them all the same size and shape if I were doing it! You can get custom prints like these done on Shutterfly.
My parents are so cute, don't you think? They were married outside at her parents home in front of that cute little picket fence. And I love my mom's wedding suit and her going away dress.
Good food. Good music. Wonderful company. Laughing children. Cousins getting reacquainted and our children and grandchildren happily becoming friends, too. A hay ride. A photobooth.
Our goal was to have a FUN evening of food and fellowship with old friends, family, and neighbors. And to do it at a reasonable price. I’m happy to report that we accomplished exactly that.
This turned out to be a perfect way to honor and celebrate our parents-our dad a Korean war veteran who still works hard on the farm everyday and is the rock of our family, and my mom, a retired elementary school secretary who delivers meals to shut-ins, is a hospice volunteer, gardens and quilts like a fool, and taught us all the gift of hospitality.
My parents have loved many, many people over the years and it was so fun to see that love returned to them on this happy night.
I'm working on the perfect ending to all this, a memory book that I will make on Shutterfly. I have used them several other times and I know that mom and dad will enjoy these pictures for years to come!