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A Surprise Ruby Anniversary.

June 26, 2012

It’s been several weeks since my last post.  We’ve been so consumed with moving that I haven’t even thought about blogging or documenting what we’ve done (and we’ve done a whole lot!).  Bad blogger, I know.  In the mix of the whole moving/selling process we also planned a surprise 40th anniversary party for Ryan’s parents on June 15th.   Ryan’s sister and I started planning this shindig at the first of the year.  It’s killed me not to blog about it.  Seriously. Killed. Me.  I DIY’d so many great things (and went a little over budget in doing so) but was so thrilled with the end product.  So without further ado, here is the way late blog post on the surprise ‘Ruby’ (40th anniversary is Ruby) party we threw….

The above is a picture of my in-laws on their wedding day, June 17, 1972 in Rialto, California.  That’s the picture I used when creating the invitations and the same photo I posted in the paper!  I just love that photo.  My father-in-laws ‘chops’ just kill me.  It’s a great reminder that everything goes out of style then comes right back in and leaves again…haha!

The biggest hurdle in planning this party was trying to figure out how to get the parents to the venue (The Women’s Club of Charleston).   We decided on a plan.  A very well thought out plan.  That of course got altered several times due to ‘complications’.

While we waited with 40 of their closest friends we were notified that they were running late….a sure sign they had no idea about the party…score!  The moment my in-laws walked in the door made all of our hard work worth it.  I think they were a little confused, but ultimately completely shocked and appreciative.

We planned out every detail from the food to the drinks/bartender and the music…Ryan’s sister and I are definitelydetail oriented girls, no question.  Joe Zando from Catering Unlimited prepared a wonderful spread of heavy appetizers and Mike Hackell with Men in Black Bartending set up a fully stocked bar.

As part of a photo tribute to the  happy couple we blew up a 24×36″ photo (taken the weekend before… as my father-in-law said ‘happy 40 years” (awe..) to his loving wife while I took the photo) along with a photo board of historical black and whites to spell out ’40’ on a ginormous red board.

Along with these ridiculously large photo displays we set up a table with framed photos from the past.  How did I get all these photos you ask?  I snuck into their attic while they were gone!  We pulled out 5 boxes stuffed with albums and loose photographs.  I then spent 4 hours scanning any photo I deemed relevant.  They were uploaded to and printed off.  Ryan’s sister also created a photo book from Kodakgallery and left blank pages in the back so that it could also serve as a signed guestbook at the party.  I found their wedding album and  garter in the boxes of photos, so they were displayed on the table as well.

Since we had my mother-in-laws wedding garter from 1972 we found it only appropriate to set them up in the middle of the floor (while “I’m Too Sexy” played in the background) and replay that moment from 40 years ago….

After the garter removal it was time to cut some cake.   We made them stand behind the cake (made by my dear friend Holly at Holly Pops) and cut it together just like they did 40 years prior.

And of course it wouldn’t be my mother-in-law without a little direction…

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty of party planning….

We all know I like to DIY as much as I can, and this party was no exception.  I bought everything in strides over the course of 5 months.  First off was the table linens.  The Women’s Club supplied the white table cloths but it needed some umph.  I found some great chair sashes at the table cloth factory to cover the ugly plastic chairs then decided on a teal accent color and purchased  12″ table runners as well.

I also decided to DIY the centerpieces.  I bought 8 matching vases and spray painted them white.  After researching flowers, I found that Sam’s Club (who knew?!) sold bulk flowers.  I had 150 stems of red carnations shipped in 2 days before the party for $66 bucks.  When they arrived from Columbia I immediately cut the box open and placed the somewhat dehydrated flowers in a  Rubbermaid tub of water and Flora Life flower food.  It took 2 days, but the flowers completely hydrated as indicated.  Amazed.  I spent all morning the day of the party putting these 8

centerpieces together.

I’ve never actually tried to be a florist.  Ever.  So it was really brave of me to assemble 8 center pieces using 150 flowers the morning of the party.  Looking back on it now…what was I thinking???!!  Luckily it all turned out well and they looked beautiful in the end.

My goal was to make contemporary low lying vases.  I watched a few videos on you tube, so I had some sort of ‘idea’ of what I was doing.   Very impressed.  I may go into the florist business…not.   Next to the centerpieces I added 2 black and white framed photos on each table.  I got the frames at the Dollar Store  so they only ended up costing my $16 (plus the cost of the prints).  Here’s what the canterpieces ended up looking like:

In a last minute frenzy I decided to order some red cloth napkins from the same website I got the chair sashes and table runners.  My biggest pet peeve is an empty table at a buffet party.  I would have none of that.  I decided since there was no formal place setting there needed to be something on the table to fill each seat.  I bought the napkins for about 75 cents each.   On my computer I created cute little “Dave and Cathi: 40 Years” wraps to go around each napkin.  I printed the wraps on card stock and wrapped them around each freshly washed and ironed napkin then secured with double stick tape.

It ended up only costing me about $30 extra, well worth it for the ‘Ruby’ tablescape.

Last but certainly not least was the candy buffet.  I was totally unsure of how this would play out, but it ended up being the most visited table of the night.  My vision was a mis-match of candy jars flanking the cake.  Well, it turned out to be just that.  I can’t tell you how many people repeatedly hit up the candy bar, leaving us with very few left overs (thank goodness!).

I spent a few hours DIY’ing these ‘To Go’ candy bags for our guests.

And a close-up of the cake….

Being the great party host that I am, I cut the cake.  I’ve never cut a tiered cake so I was a bit nervous but I think I did an OK job (with some guidance from Joe Zando).

There is a balcony at the Women’s Club so I was able to get an aerial before everyone arrived. Here is one last photo of this magnificent surprise Ruby Anniversary Party  (6 months in the making)…

To sum it all up….it went off without a hitch.  Everyone had a blast and no one went thirsty or hungry.  We would especially like to thank Joe Zando with Catering Unlimited, Mike Hackell with Men in Black Bartending, and The Women’s Club of Charleston for helping us throw  a wonderful surprise 40th Anniversary party for our parents!

P.S.   we stayed up until midnight at Ryan’s parents for an family ‘after party’ which included late night pizza and a very wide-awake niece!!


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