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Surprise! Happy 70th birthday, dad!!

Surprise! Happy 70th birthday, dad!!

Planning a surprise party is not easy. Especially when you have a year for everyone who knows to screw it up. :p But with all of the secret convos, gathering of old photos, and getting our dad out of the house without suspicion, we managed to pull it off! I’ll avoid getting into all the boring-to-strangers details, but I wanted to share a few of the things we did to make it extra special.

I spent the past few months focusing a lot of my time on my dad’s surprise 70th birthday party. Last August I put together a website to get my extended family members excited about coming to Michigan to help surprise him, and it apparently worked since we had several show up! I had family and friends who he’s closest to send me video messages of memories, what they appreciate most about him, or just a simple happy birthday to be compiled into a video to be played at the party (which I was quite proud of considering it was one of my first videos). I designed t-shirts printed by Custom Ink (toddler shirts were made via iron-ons) which were rolled and tied with a personal tag as well as homemade banana bread & jams, all of which were provided in a Sharpie-designed paper gift bag with a bottle of Michigan wine to those who made the trip. We had old photos enlarged and printed by Costco (a much better deal than Staples or Kinkos) and decorated the crap out of our rental with bright and shiny things. I also created a mini book of messages from my dad’s former coworkers. He was crazy surprised and overwhelmed by all the details we put into it…aka yessss, Success!! 😉

Below are a few samplings (you’ll have to excuse my images, I neglected to photograph all the details).

website mac
The website provided visitors with information to get them excited about coming to MI and celebrating my dad’s 70th.
website ipad
I took advantage of Wix to create a responsive site. My goal was to make it as easy as possible for family to make the trip.
animated logo for video
I animated the t-shirt design for the end of the video to bring the event full circle.
t-shirt design
The design for adult tees; toddler shirts were similar, but created as iron-ons.
shirts rolled
Each t-shirt was rolled and tied with a custom label so our visitors had an easy time finding their name and size in their group bags.
gift bags
We wanted our guests to feel special for making the long trip, so we put together a gift bag with their t-shirts, a bottle of local wine, homemade banana bread and jam and some goofy bday glasses and noisemakers. We used craft paper bags and decorated each one differently with a sharpie.
banana bread
The bread was wrapped and tied with string and a plastic knife for easy snacking on the go.
jam
I made three different types of jam and topped each jar with a cute napkin (for snacking on the go and easy clean-up), tied with string and a tag which had the type of jam on the front and the recipe on the back.
Coworkers book
My dad was a physicist, so I wanted the book from his former coworkers to be science-themed and more than printed email messages.
tshirts on guests
T-shirts on some of our guests while at the beach for sunset.
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