Sep 19, 2012

A Great Outdoors Surprise 30th for Jared & Justin!

Planning a surprise birthday for your significant other definitely has its challenges. The fact you can’t really plan anything at home because he/she is always around is half the battle. I certainly learned that I can definitely keep things a secret from my husband…haha. If you didn’t know, my husband is a twin. Him and his brother, Justin, were born just 16 minutes apart from each other. They’re very close and pretty much did everything together growing up, which included being in boy scouts. With that in mind, Justin’s wife, Amy, and I designed the ultimate camp-themed, great outdoors surprise 30th for them.

With a theme in mind, a limited budget and a strict guest list of 50 of their closest friends and family, we were set. To make my life easier, we hosted the party at Arianna’s Grill in Richmond. Even though the Italian food wasn’t in line with an outdoor theme, they do serve some damn good Italian food. Afterwards, the party continued at our house for more fun, yard games, drinks and late night s’mores. Take a look at all the details that were involved in surprising Jared and Justin. Special thanks to our helpers — Sharon, Sheila, Emily and Rachel — and for everyone else keeping it a secret since May! Amy and I couldn’t have done it without you!

The decorations were pretty important in this camp-themed party. I was able to get everything on the Internet. I shipped items to my work and stacked them under my desk…haha. I really looked like a hoarder. The first thing I purchased were these Chinese Moon Light lanterns for $40 off Etsy. I swear, Etsy has got to be the most wonderful thing on the Internet. These lanterns were used as part of the centerpieces.

To go along with the lanterns, I cut out fabric squares out of a woman’s wool skirt I found at The Salvation Army for $3. Can you believe it?! The skirt was large enough to cut out 5 large squares for the tables. I liked the rustic colors on the fabric, a perfect platform for the colorful lanterns. I also purchased an 11-oz bag of dark green softened and preserved Reindeer moss from Save-on-Crafts for $11.

Pine cones were actually a lot more difficult to find at a store like Michael’s since they weren’t in stock yet. They might be now. So, I had to buy them through Save-on-Crafts as well, which was fine because I think it was slightly cheaper. I got 1 bag of the Lodgepole pine cones, which were the smaller pine cones, and 2 bags of the Ponderosa pine cones, bigger pine cones, at $4 a bag.

I repurposed some of birch candle holders from our wedding and included them in the centerpieces. The small birch card holders were used for the food, drink and s’mores table. I designed little signs using a free font I downloaded online called Pinewood. The signs said “Don’t feed the bears” for the food, “Happy trails” for the drinks and “You wanna s’more?” for the s’mores. The birch just worked right into the woodsy theme.

The birthday sign utilized the same Pinewood font that were used throughout the signs and s’mores tags. With 2 great friends, Rachel and Emily helped cut them out the letters and helped me assemble them onto jute twine. They hung it at the entrance of the room.

So these were the wonderful, earthy and outdoorsy centerpieces. Each centerpiece had a single lantern adorned with pinecones, birch candles, moss and a photo of the boys. They were just perfect! I’m so happy they turned out great!

For more decoration, I blew up a photo of Justin and Jared while they were backpacking in New Mexico during their boyscout days. I scanned their photo and got it printed through Costco as a 16×20. We also hung up childhood photos of the boys all around the room. We got chocolate and dark green balloons from Kroger and placed them at the gift tables.

Lets move our attention to the birthday cake. How adorable is it! We ordered the actual sheet cake, half devils and half yellow, through Martin’s. It was only $45! Not bad at all. For such a cheap cake, it pretty yummy. As for the camp topper, I ordered it through an Etsy vendor called Parker’s Flour Patch. She was great to work with. She packaged all the pieces so carefully and even though a piece of the tent cracked, I was able to use water to put it back on. No one noticed a thing! I just love the two faces of the boys, the tent, fire and s’mores on a stick. It was so awesome!

Jared and I have eaten at Arianna’s numerous times, which is a big reason why we ended up hosting the party there. I wasn’t new to any of their food so I already had in mind what to order for a hungry crowd. I had pre-ordered off the menu making it more affordable in the long run. Most restaurants have a special menu for large parties or sometimes you have to pay per head, which ends up being super costly. We didn’t have that kind of money so we stuck with some of our favorites. We got 5 bruschette al pomodoro (aka bruschetta) appetizers, 5 orders of toasted ravioli, 8 philly steak subs and 6 cheese and pepperoni pizzas. It was just enough food for 50 people. We even had half a pizza left for late-night munchies.

As a thank you to our guests for coming to the party, we made s’mores packages. My sister was gracious enough to do assemble them the morning of. She included 2 graham crackers, 1 Hershey bar and 1 marshmallow into a clear plastic bag. She tied them with butcher’s twine and hung a tag that I designed that said, “Take home for s’more fun! Thanks for coming!” These certainly were a hit because at the after party, we started a fire in our chiminea roasted some s’mores! I think I had too many for my own good :)

Photo of us roasting s’mores at the end of the night! I had convinced Jared to buy a chiminea the week before. Little did he know I had a plan in mind :)

So that wraps up our surprise birthday for Jared and Justin. All the secret planning and running around was totally worth it. The boys had so much fun. I know I did! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all for traveling near and far to attend Jared & Justin’s surprise party. The boys had NO IDEA and were completely shocked. I know they felt the love. It was one of the best days and I know the boys were so happy and grateful to see every single person that day. Totally meant a lot to them. Thank you!

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  • OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!! You are the best wife on the planet!! I love you so much!

  • ah, this is so cute! i’m sad to have missed the festivities, but happy birthday jarey & justy and great work, isabel! p.s. we should get a cabin in the great outdoors sometime!

  • Love the Great Outdoors theme! One of my favorite 80s movies.

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