A month before Sommer turned 16, I asked her what she would like to do for her birthday. She immediately said, "I have always wanted a surprise party! I would love everyone dressed up in fancy attire and dance!"
And although I was a bit "concerned" because of that silly outrageous and totally over-the-top show, "My Sweet 16" on MTV, I was intrigued with the idea of a big party (we only allow the children a friend party option every other year and they then get the choice of either planning a party with a $100 budget or $100 cash...lucky for me, I can usually get them to take the cash...especially after they see how much everything costs).
So the challenge was on (I love a good challenge)! We were lucky enough that Grandma and Grandpa Gair had the perfect venue for our dance party (at their club). Trying to get a "secret" friend list without seeming to obvious was my next challenge. But my biggest obstacle was actually planning the "pretend" smaller party that would happen after her birthday to get her off my back while I was trying to plan the "real" party!
I reserved our spot, planned the menu, invited the guests, kept her off the "trail," worked up the pretend dinner with her grandparents the night of the party, bought her a "party" dress (to wear to the fancy dinner with Grandma and Pop-Pop), contacted my friends for ideas (and was so grateful so many offered their talents), organized the decor (with help), and on and on...I was completely spent (and totally EXCITED!).
I will consider this party as a complete warm up for Sommer's future wedding reception...
AND EVEN THOUGH IT WAS A LOT OF WORK....IT WAS SO FUN!
A huge thank you to Sommer's amazing Grandma and Grandpa for being the secret accomplices that got her to the party without her having any idea she was having this huge surprise.
And how lucky am I to have such talented friends willing to help me with EVERYTHING from pictures and centerpieces to cupcakes and candy (and everything in between).
Jean for taking fabulous photos that captured the moment perfectly....which Sommer will always treasure.
Jill for making the most delicious and fancied up lemon cupcakes (all 50 of them!) ever.
Holly for sewing table runners, cutting the tissue blossoms, making the Happy Birthday Banner and putting together the flower arrangements (see...it was just like a wedding).
Brooke Stark and Melanie for helping us decorate for the big event.
Kat for dropping everything and helping me print the lettering.
Lauren Pierson (Sommer's buddy) for helping me invite all of Sommer's friends!
And all of her friends for making her day so special!
There were a few times I truly thought she had figured it out and was simply playing along. And the actual day of her birthday (the day of the big surprise), I felt bad we "weren't doing anything special" for her 16th birthday!
But it was worth everything, when the big moment actually came, all of her friends and siblings hiding, armed with streamers and party blowers, yelled out, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOMMER!" as Grandma and Grandpa escorted her into the room...
...for Sommer's Sweet 16 Surprise (and boy was she ever surprised!)!