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A couple months ago Courtney and Casey approached me about the three of us putting together a party to celebrate Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte’s 30th wedding anniversary. I know that typically people make a big production out of the 25th and not the 30th…but 5 years ago Brad and Courtney had just gotten married, Zach and I were engaged, Casey was in college and we were ALL broke! Instead of waiting for the 50th, why not celebrate now? 30 years is a HUGE achievement and something worth making a fuss over for sure.
Even though we all are doing better financially than we were 5 years ago, we still couldn’t spend a fortune on the event. We decided to have it at my church since I could use the facility for free and it’s where Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte got married so it’s a special place to them. Since Courtney and Casey are both school teachers and just started the school year, I took on a lot of the planning aspects of the party. It was tough for me because I like to do things all out and we simply didn’t have the funds to do it the way I would have liked to have done it…but I was SO pleasantly surprised with how everything turned out!
We opted for a postcard invitation as it saved on postage and invitation cost…have you ever used Vistaprint? I’m telling you, they have the BEST deals!!!
I made sure to say the word “SURPRISE” twice as we really were hoping everyone would keep the party a secret!
Courtney, Casey and I met several times to plan the event and worked hard putting it all together. It was some great excuses for girl time and we had fun during all of our secret planning sessions or shopping excursions 😉 Their actual anniversary was August 30th but we had the party the Saturday prior (the 27th). Even when you have everything ready to go…the day of an event is still so stressful! Thankfully Aunt Karen came up to the church with us and helped us set up. It was my first time ever hosting something at church and I was clueless about where things were, the rules I needed to follow, and how to make the sweet tea!
We decided early on that simple would have to be the way to go – we sent out about 100 invitations, which meant around 150 people were invited, and we didn’t do any type of RSVP. We had it be a drop-by type of event so we were really clueless as to how many people would show up, how many centerpieces we needed, or how much food we needed. I actually went to the dollar store and found all the centerpieces for 20 tables and it looked very nice! We gathered up ALL the pictures we could find of Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte through the years and used them along with candles and stones for the centerpieces.
table when you first walked in for cards
My favorite part of the whole party was the guest book. Casey and Courtney “stole” Mrs. Charlotte’s wedding album and a bunch of old pictures so I could scan them all onto the computer then I went through all my pictures, all of the pictures on my Facebook, and all the pictures on Casey’s facebook and found every single one I could that had either Mr. Rusty or Mrs. Charlotte in it. Then I created a Shutterfly book using all the pictures. I also made it where people could write their well wishes or memories they’ve had with Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte on the pages. It turned out A-MAZING! I’ve never done anything like that and I was very impressed with Shutterfly…it was time consuming but overall it was easy and, most importantly, it was very inexpensive. I was actually worried about the quality with how little it cost but it was awesome!!! I think Casey should totally do one for a guest book at the wedding 🙂
Everyone LOVED the cakes and we got them at Sam’s!
Other desserts and snacks
We didn’t want the hassle of making everything ourselves so we got some trays catered from Sureste (which were SO GOOD!!!) and bought several things for filler food from Sam’s.
We were nervous about having enough food…but you know how that goes, we had TONS left over
more food 😉
Mom even helped and I’m SO glad she made such pretty, healthy dishes. They added a lot of color and texture to the food tables and everyone raved about it all!
Mom was a HUGE help! We couldn’t have pulled it off without her for sure!
and she even helped babysit during the event 😉
Courtney and Casey handled what to tell Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte and they told them that we all (meaning our small clan) wanted to take them to dinner to celebrate their anniversary. We were supposed to meet at The Bistro at 5. It’s right down the street from church so at 5 Jordan drove down to The Bistro and met them there. Mrs. Charlotte told us later that they got there and went in and said we had a reservation for 12 people. The Bistro told them there wasn’t such a reservation but Mrs. Charlotte insisted because she knew we’d have made one! Then Jordan walked in and told them to come with him so they left (thinking we were just meeting them outside or something) and then Jordan took them in his car to the church! They were truly surprised which surprised ME because I thought for sure someone would have let it slip!!! I’m proud of all the Parkers 🙂
I tried to get pictures of all the guests, but it was tough with hostess duties too 😉
Luke, Kris and kids – cousins of Mr. Rusty’s!
Aunt Karen and Masha
Kye and Payton having fun eating 😉
Susie and David
some random guy…
This is an AWESOME picture of Mrs. Charlotte and Mema…I totally cropped out Mr. Rusty b/c it’s just too good of the two of them 😉
Big Daddy enjoying time with Kye
The newly engaged couple needs more pictures together 🙂
No, I promise – Jordan isn’t gay…
Cutting the cake!
As I said earlier, we mailed out a LOT of invites and didn’t do an RSVP so we were pretty much clueless as to who was coming. And since it was a surprise no one really talked about it at all so I was pretty nervous that no one would show up. We were cutting the cake when someone let out a scream and we realized PEPE (Mrs. Charlotte’s dad) and Brenda (his wife) had come!!! It was a HUGE surprise. They live up in South Carolina and haven’t been to visit since Courtney’s wedding 7 years ago. The last time Zach and I saw them was at our wedding and they’ve never even met Kye! I meant SO MUCH to Mrs. Charlotte that her daddy made the effort to be there and it really made the event.
Pepe (yes, pronounced PEE-PEE) with his kids – Charlotte and Scott
Kye liked Pepe right away!
The day after the party we asked him if he had fun and he said “I saw Pepe and he had a BIG beard” haha
Had to take some family pictures since so many people were there…Mom was sweet enough to do it for us and she took two of each family so I am posting them all since some people may like some pictures better than others 🙂
This is Mrs. Charlotte’s dad’s side of the family – The Plylers
Then Mema’s (Mrs. Charlotte’s mom’s) side
This cracks me up – everyone’s all in chaos and I’m always picture ready 😉
With Big Daddy and Little Mama (Steven couldn’t be there and Aunt Karen had already left)
You can tell the kids were ready for bed!
Love Kye’s happy smile!
We were all beyond happy with how great everything turned out. I was pretty nervous with our limited budget how well it would go but it turned out to be awesome! It was great having the three of us work as a team to get it done because we all had each other to lean on and could divide and conquer everything. We ended up staying for awhile after cleaning up and such and it’s totally the day I WAY overdid it…but it was worth it to see Mrs. Charlotte and Mr. Rusty so happy!
They are an AMAZING example to us all of how to have a successful marriage. They haven’t had the “perfect” marriage but they work through their problems and strive to be the husband and wife GOD wants them to be. I know personally I’m blessed to have their example for my own marriage and am thankful they raised a son who takes his marriage vows so seriously. I can’t wait till it’s OUR turn for our 30th anniversary!!!
30 years ago!!!
Thanks to everyone who stopped by the event and helped make it such a special time for them!