The most stressful, fun, exciting thing is planning a surprise party, especially when the "victim" is sad about you "not doing anything special" for their big day. My mother has been talking about her 60th birthday for FOREVER! She wanted to do something big, like go on an Alaskan cruise big, but funding from a college student and new business owner just wasn't going to cover it. We discussed getting the fam together and going somewhere, but I felt like it should be bigger/with more people. Therefore we concocted a plan..
My Aunt Ruby was a huge help in the planning, decorating, and diversion techniques. Ma's friend Hugh helped get her away for the day while we decorated. Binky helped gather things for the party, and dad cooked delicious BBQ. My Aunt Dale brought flowers and decor items, and last but not least, my friend Colby came through with some tents for us when it started raining! Truly a team effort, yall!
Here's how we did it. Mom didn't know ANYTHING was planned until the week of the party. No one mentioned her birthday over the wedding weekend, or made a big deal whenever she mentioned her birthday. This was the hardest part, btw, when she's saying she would just like to do something, anything, to celebrate the big 6-0. We had the plan in place for months. I told her I would come in town on Thursday and we would get some people together to go to dinner.. real low key.
When I got into town, I unloaded my car that was full of party stuff at Tootie Greens. Tootie's is our family farmhouse in Dothan. Dad had it built when I was real little, and it looks like an old gas station. He even put an old Texaco sign and gas pumps outside. It's perfect for parties!
That's it on the far right.
View through the car windshield haha! Not the best..
Behind Tootie Green's is farmland that we rent out (currently planted with PEANUTS!), and our house is back there a bit further behind the trees on the left.
I was positive Mom would know something was up because once I arrived to the house, I was a sweaty mess from unloading the car in 97 degree heat. She didn't question it though (do I normally look like a sweaty mess?) and I had just enough time to slap on some clothes for dinner.
via Aunt Ruby
Of course she wanted to invite people that were coming to the party, but we kept it to a minimum to prevent the secret from getting out. I told her I had to come back to Birmingham the next day (Friday) for an engagement party. Since Friday was her actual birthday, we went to lunch to celebrate before I "headed out of town".
We went to one of my favs, Mexican Connection!
We were suppose to meet at 12, didn't get there until close to 1, which pushed back the decorating time. Stressball city!
Mom's friends Tommy and Frances were in town for a wedding/to celebrate mom's birthday so they came too, along with Aunt Robin.
I brought a cake to celebrate
and Mex Con gave her an ice cream!
Hugh took her off for her birthday-day-o-fun. He had the task of keeping her busy all day and not let her come home, because she could've seen our cars at Tootie Greens while we were setting up. We said our goodbyes as I kept giving Aunt Robin the "I've got to get to work!" look. We finally escaped and flew back out to the house to scoop up supplies: pictures, table cloths, etc. This is what we saw blowing in as we were unloading..
We got most everything in before it hit. Rain was coming through the shut doors. It was coming in sideways!
Of course I consulted Pinterest while planning the party and loved this idea to make the birthday year with black and white pictures. Aunt Robin gave me a disc a while ago with all these pictures from when my mom was growing up. I'll have to post some at a later date, bc they are awesome.
We ran around like chickens with our heads cutoff trying to setup everything.
Binky got there a little later than planned due to the weather, but luckily she came in with some tents from Colby!
Josh came to assist as well!
Aunt Dale and Uncle Al got there just in time with the flowers and got to work helping to mix up the drinks and setup before the guests arrived! Dad got there with the food too as we were scrambling to put away the bags and boxes into the closets.
Just as the first people walked in, I ran home to throw on a dress. Thank goodness the house was around the corner. Binky ran out there after I returned, and we were both back in time for the big surprise.
We setup a photo booth area with some hilarious props!
Not as fancy as those wedding ones, but pretty good for us!
Andrea, Brother, and Lawrence
It was a hit! With our family at least.. haha! Auntie Dale below.
Aunt Ruby and Uncle Clyde
Meems, Susie, and Miss Sarah
The Crittenden's and Mrs. Leah
Aunt Dale and Uncle Al
Mrs. Marti and Uncle Clyde
Mrs. Leslie, Jim? (I think! oops!), and Ms. Sharla
Colbs and Mr. Jim
My highschool friends' parents! I wish all of my class could've been there!
Here's the setup outside. I had big plans of tablescapes out here, but the weather didn't permit it. I didn't want stuff blowing all over, so we left them bare. Le sigh.
Don, Uncle Clyde, and Uncle Al. I told them to take a picture together bc they're all bama fans. Uncle Clyde asked if it was because they all have gray hair haha!
Jess, Emily, and sweet little Dabney
Mr. JD, Mrs. Laura, Mr. Roger, and Mr. Stout.
Andrea and the Neanster
Mom was suppose to arrive at 6:30, but in classic fashion, she was a bit late. Hugh was telling her he was taking her to dinner, and he was going to blindfold her so that she didn't know where they were going. And so she wouldn't see the cars once they pulled up.
I was suppose to get a text saying they were 10 minutes away. Instead I got "we're here".
I ran around whisper-yelling "they're here! get inside!" I need to make a gif of the next few images, but you can scroll down fast to get the effect of the SURPRISE! moment!
Hilarious! She was physically jumping up and down! I wish I had turned the flash on (wah wahh).
She didn't think Binky was going to be able to be there to celebrate her birthday, and she even mentioned at lunch how she was sad Bink couldn't be there, so she was super excited to see her.
I think she didn't know who to talk to first!
We did it, yall!
This pic below may be the best of the night:
Mrs. Sarah, Susie, Ma, and Mimi
So relieved the cat was outta the bag!
Colbs and me. I had the invitation out to show mom.
I made the Sadlers pose with it too since JD matched it so well!
Binky and I made this birthday bunting sign. I wish I had a close up, bc the mint color is patterned.
Time to eat!
Shelley was able to come down from Auburn!
I think dad was afraid his eyes would be closed.. that or someone pinched him on the backside.
Some of the crew eating in the corner.
And outside! Thank goodness for the tents!
Basically my other family (one of my other fams at least), Mama Sues (aka Susan, my roomie Katie's mom), and Mrs. Malissa and Dr. Ted (my friend Andrea's parents, and Katie's aunt and uncle). I think they planned their outfits together :)
The "chaperone" table. Most of these parents went on my school trips growing up. We had a good time reminiscing!
Mom got into the props before most of us haha!
The delicious spread! BBQ, baked beans, potato salad, slaw, etc etc.
We decorated with old pics of mom.
It wouldn't be complete without the glamour shot! Haha!
Dad and Uncle Clyde
Their 23rd anniversary was this week!
Aunt Ruby got a better shot of Binky, Dad, and me.
The party planners!
Everyone loved the coozies!
We got another one of mom's glamour shots and wrote: happy birthday, Susan! 60 and glamorous!
Pretty soon, it was time for cake! Binky picked it out, and I did the bubblegum writing.
I think Ma was excited!
"Hey Mickey" came on the speakers, so of course we had a dance break!
Even brother joined in!
Pretty soon, everyone was into the props..
This was our "we wish Murray was here" shot! haha
Colby, Binky, Me, and Josh
Texas came to play!
Pretty soon the dance party was in full swing!
Frances and Tommy made it after the rehearsal dinner they attended.
Are we twins, or what?
Tommy told me earlier in the day that he wasn't going to eat at the rehearsal dinner so he could eat some of dad's BBQ.
The dance party continued on with a little Hawaiian influence.
In our family, after something ends, someone opens a present, dinner is ready, a drink is poured, basically ANYTHING happens, we do the "Newman clap" where we all do a golf clap in celebration. Uncle Al displays how he is now on auto-pilot to Newman clap (in this case after the song ended) from many years of this tradition. You can't see, but all the Newmans (mom's side of the family) are doing the same haha!
So excited to have his BBQ!
Vote for me, it's my birfday!
Aunt Robin, Aunt Dale, Ma, Neanie, and Frances
These are the KD ladies of the family. I was expecting a song, the way they were standing in a circle..
Neanie got into the props! hahaha
And we all joined her.
Binky's lips are terrifying..
Try not to have nightmares..
Bink and Colbs haha
The grandkids with Neaner
Pretty soon, Bohemian Rhapsody came on, and it was alllllll over. I sang my little heart out.
Everyone joined in!
Mamaaaaa just killlllleeedd a maaaan!
A added a mustache mid song! Hahaha!
The Sadlers hung in there with the crazy family!
The birfday girl had too much fun!
Mr. JD worked for my dad back in the day when I was realllll little, and he rocked a big ol' stache, so we recreated it here! Unlike dad, he shaved his off haha.
Pretty soon Marilyn made an appearance!
Wait.. Marilyn Monroe..
or Anna Nicole?
(Please make this your profile pic, binky.)
There was a dance with Neanie on her walker!
Mom rolled her around haha!
And finished off with a salute!
Uncle Al, Binky, and Uncle Clyde
The whole group that was left at this point!
Frances, Tommy, Ma, Andrea, Aunt Dale, Uncle Al, Bink, Uncle Clyde, Me
Josh, Neanie, Shelley, and Aunt Robin
Andrea, Neanie, and Shelley
The Herring girls with Neanie
Binky was convinced she should be a blond at this point.
Aunt Ruby doin what Aunt Ruby does.
Still dancing with Neanie! Soon after this she said: Ok, who's gonna take me home??
This probably aided in the fun of the dance party. Mom's favorite drink is sweet tea vodka, so we had it mixed with water and one with lemonade. I wish I had gotten a better shot in the daylight. Special thanks to my friend Brooke for letting me borrow tons of decor items!
The Palmers and Ma
Neanie and Shelley
Andrea, Uncle Al, and Shelley
posing with the 60!
Tommy, Ma, Frances, and Aunt Robin
Tommy cheesin' it up for the camera.
Before we headed back to the house for the evening,
Marilyn Anna Nicole grabbed a party favor for us to enjoy at home...
HAHAHA! She seriously wanted to be blonde. She confessed the next day if she had had a box of hair dye, she would've done it.
I had SO MUCH FUN at the party! I know mom did too! Thanks to everyone that helped get it together and everyone who came out to celebrate ma turning the big 6-0!