I have a large family. Pretty sure I have 20 first cousins, but I'm not sure I could name them all and I would recognize just a handful of them if we passed on the street. My parents were both born in the west. My dad grew up in Idaho but my mom left Montana when she was young and grew up in the east. After meeting at bible college and spending a few years in ministry "out there", they settled in Connecticut, where I've lived most of my life. Nearly all of the family stayed out west, so our closest relatives became my mom's sister and her husband, my beloved Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Lee, who have always lived in either western or upstate New York.
The two families always did Christmas together, alternating hosting years and then we'd often go camping together at some point during the summer. Though we only got together a couple times a year, our families were very close. There are beautiful, warm memories surrounding our time with them. They've always been involved, supportive, invested.
This year, along with my cousin Melody, we schemed how we would celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. We came up with a plan that we thought would be "their speed" and we started formulating ideas to make the event perfect for them.
Shaun volunteered to get the dining room remodel done in time for the evening so much of our efforts were put in to that room. My sister Amy is talented in so many ways, one of which is growing and arranging flowers. She bought them wholesale so she could get exactly what she had in mind and then worked her magic putting them in beautiful arrangements. Forty years is the "ruby" anniversary, so we went with that theme. We were going to go with their original wedding colors, but that was a pastel rainbow. ;)
My mom and Amy came the night before to help set up and get everything just right.
Kids table. :)
Shaun was way too happy about the fact that we ran out of matches....he lit tea lights with a blow torch!
My brother Tim and Avery, giving everyone a practice round of saying SURPRISE!
And they were. Very! :) Melody had a stressful day of texting and coordinating and getting the arrival time just right, all while not letting on that anything was out of the ordinary and she pulled it off.
Still the one, after all these years. :)
Well into the evening, we added the final surprise. My cousin, their son flew in from California and they had NO idea he'd be there. It was perfect!
It was a beautiful evening of laughter and stories and blessings and music and pictures and memories and surprises and family. So incredible and what an honor to bless two people who have had a profound impact on my life and so many others.
And YAY for any time a beautiful marriage can be recognized and celebrated!
Love you guys!