A number of months ago, I was privileged to be included in a special 50th Birthday Celebration. It was held by a lady from our church, who decided to honour her friends by having them join her in a special lunch to celebrate. It was an extremely classy event, held at a beautiful hotel in town. There were so many great ideas, and the whole event really touched me.
Within a few days of attending, I had a conversation with my sis-in-law and father. I wanted to host something like this for our mother. And as soon as I started thinking about it, more and more ideas kept coming to me. I knew that my mom wouldn't like a "surprise", and so we decided to have her be a part of certain aspects of the party. And after finally convincing her that she should do this *grin* (she doesn't like to be th center of attention) she agreed. Her first job would be to choose the guest list.
It was an intimate luncheon, so the guestlist was small. These were people who had been apart of her life since her arrival in Canada 40 years ago. And there were others who had been a part of significant milestones in her life.
Once we had the guest list, I created an invitation. My mom requested that I put "no gifts" on the invitation - but I convinced her that it looked a little "tacky" *grin*. What she DIDN'T know, is that we included a little note to each guest, asking if they would like to contribute to a group gift I would be purchasing on behalf of the guests.
Mom was also in charge of the menu. She opted for the Oven Roasted Squash Soup, a Chicken Entree with mushroom ragout and a Wildberry Cheesecake. A perfect blend of wonderful food.
So, after much conversation, much planning, much creating and making - the day finally came. I jokingly called it the "Wedding For One" as we really tried to make every detail special. There were menu cards, a program card of the afternoon's events, a small bud vase for each guest to take home, and centre pieces (given to the person with her birthday closest to our mother's). The colour palette was chosen from some ribbon I had found in Phoenix ... red with a black velvet print.
I even attempted to make my first "formal" cake to serve as her birthday cake. This proved to be a longer venture than I had originally thought. And it was much trickier than the "Cars Cake" I made for Tias' birthday. I wanted the cake to be perfect. And it was a bit ... dimply *grin*. But it was YUMMY with a french vanilla cake, almond butter frosting and marshmallow fondant. Not too bad for a first try - but not as stunning as I had hoped.
ANYway - when I woke up to sunshine (and there is NO place lovelier when the sun shines in my hometown ...) I knew it was going to be a grand day. My sis-in-law and I got to the Golf & Country Club early to set up ... and we were THRILLED at the intimate setting already presented for us. The cozy fireplace, the Christmas tree and poinsettias - which is EXACTLY what I was decorating with for the bud vases and cake *grin*. SCORE!!
When the guests started arriving, my camera started clicking. Well. Before that. But you know what I mean. We had a group photo outside to document everyone, and then the festivities began. We had an opening prayer from my auntie G, the meal and then a speech from auntie M, my mom's NZ sister who was able to join us. We were thrilled to have her there. There was another touching speech from my auntie R ... full of beautiful, heartfelt words.
My sis-in-law and I both said a few words, and shared in leading a couple of sacred songs that were meaningful to my mom: "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" and "This Is Holy Ground".
After singing "Happy Birthday", taking some cake photos, and having dessert, we made a presentation to my mom - the gift that everyone had contributed to. It was a circle diamond necklace, representing her circle of friends.
In response, mom said a few words about each guest and thanked everyone with a heart full of love. It was so beautiful. To see her well up with emotion was the greatest "thank you" of all. It made every moment of planning the smallest detail, worthwhile. She noticed it all *smile*.
So, mom, I know you're going to read this *smile* and I am so very, very happy that this day was meaningful for you. You are loved by so many, and it was just a great thing to be a part of. Happy birthday.
Here are a few more pics of the event ...