Our parents' 30th wedding anniversary was coming up, and after years of them sacrificing everything for us, my brothers and I (and our significant others) wanted to find a way to thank them and celebrate their love.
A bit about the guests of honor, Franny and Billy: Since the "kids" moved out, Mom and Dad are anything but empty nesters — they've basically turned into a Centrum Silver commercial and spend as much time as possible at their lake house (featured recently on my Offbeat Bride wedding profile), boating, snowshoeing, hiking, and yard-sale-ing. They're city people who have come to love the outdoors and their brick cottage is filled to the brim with all manner of moose, loon, and other outdoorsy tchotchkes. They also throw regular theme parties with their friends, and dress in leather to celebrate the local Laconia Bike Rally.
So, we decided there was no better way to honor them than to surprise them with their own theme party — tying together everything they loved. I'd seen the Lumberjack idea used for a wedding shower and immediately knew it was perfect.
Cost was a huge factor but we were able to rent a local VFW hall on the cheap because my husband is a veteran (hooah!). We scheduled it months before their actual anniversary to throw them off the scent and to make sure my brother and his fiancé could get up to Boston from where they live in Philly. Mom and Dad thought they were coming to my husband's college graduation party, but in reality we'd invited all of our family and as many of their friends as we could find. Everyone got into the theme and, although it was a hot June night, rocked the flannel shirts and boots like nobody's business.
I made pennant banners in the buffalo plaid pattern and we snuck home some of my parents' antlers and animal pelts (all secondhand-bought) to set the vibe.
We used science-fair boards to display pictures of them dating back to the 1970s.
And set up a Mountain Man Trail Mix bar so people could add whatever they wanted for a treat to go.
My cousin's sister Kendra made the most amazing cake — shaped like a tree stump. We even had an axe to cut the cake.
We also set up an area for people to make their own facial hair.
The week of the party it seemed like everything that could go wrong did, but in the end our parents walked in and were so surprised that we had to explain that the party really was for them. They were blown away that people had come from all over just for them. Everyone made funny and sentimental speeches. The night was a blast and when our time at the hall ended, Mom and Dad invited everyone back to their house to continue the party around a bonfire.