Being raised by my dad and older brother Josh (and all of his friends/surrogate brothers) means that I know guys. In fact, until law school I really didn't have that many girlfriends. I got to know the male psyche pretty well at a young age. So when it came time to plan an epic surprise party for my brother (the big 3-0) I was up to the challenge!
It will come as no surprise to anyone that I am the planner in the family. I mean, they're essentially hopeless without me (they would probably agree but... don't tell them I said that). So I took charge of the birthday plans right away (read: 4 months in advance). It needed to be perfect! You only turn 30 once after all.
The biggest obstacle to my plans was that Josh's friends (those aforementioned surrogate brothers of mine) don't live in Vancouver. So I emailed them all and asked if they wanted to come for a weekend visit (go big or go home right?). Amazingly, after some harassment due to lack of response, all four of them said yes! So I had the grand gesture, I needed only to coordinate an entire weekend of activities for five 30-ish guys. Piece of cake...right?
It wasn't just activities I needed to plan, it was airport pick-ups, sleeping arrangements, the moment of surprise, food, and all the other little things that make an event unforgettable (including a birthday girl tiara for Josh to wear... I AM his sister). This is where my love-affair for lists came in handy. I had three full days of activities to coordinate and a scant four months to do it in...
I have to admit that the moment of surprise was the most difficult. Josh is one of those ridiculously smart, quiet people, who is forever thinking. So I lived in a low-grade state of panic for several months, always sure someone would slip up and he would make the connection. It didn't help that we went back home about a month before his birthday and he spent an entire evening with three of the guys. Before we went I strongly "suggested" to them that they should NOT slip up. Due to Josh's aforementioned perceptiveness, any mistake could be fatal to the surprise. I learned later that several of them had almost done just that during the evening. But nothing was revealed. Phew.
It wasn't just them of course. I share almost everything with my brother and I almost blurted it out numerous times. It's hard to keep something so exciting from the people you normally share exciting things with! But luckily my brain kept catching up with my mouth just in time... I say luckily because, unlike Josh, I am NOT one of those quiet people.
I think I digressed... the moment of surprise! Since the guys were coming in around 5, springing the surprise at dinner seemed the most appropriate. I contacted the good-sported manager at a local restaurant and we arranged a fairly complex scam. The family, minus the driver of our airport transfer (my boyfriend and my Mazda 3 respectively) would meet at the restaurant and be put at a table in the back. I would then excuse myself to speak with the host to see if we could switch to a nicer table due to the celebratory nature of the occasion (remember, the key to the surprise is that you act consistently... this request was not out of the realm of my norm, so Josh never suspected a thing). Of course, I wasn't actually complaining, just chatting.
I went back to our table with the "assurances" of the host that we would be moved if possible. And once the surprise guests had quietly arrived we were collected and moved to a much larger table with nine seats instead of five, four of which were already filled by Josh's closest friends. The best part of it was Josh walked right past them at first, and did the classic double take. His exact words were "what the..." (I said he was quiet right?). Four months of planning, low-grade panic and bursting excitement, and it had gone off without a hitch. It was so worth it.
Josh was presented with his tiara and pink Birthday Girl pin, and good-naturedly wore them both. After dinner the chocolate raspberry cake that I had dropped off earlier in the day came out (his fav). The surprise itself was the most stressful and complicated part. The rest of the weekend was easy in comparison. The 3 days were filled with activities (go-karting, paint-balling, playing X-box at midnight in a movie theatre while eating Nintendo-themed cupcakes) and general catch-up-iness. Josh was gushing emotion and gratefulness for his party (he said "thanks"... I could tell he was all choked up inside).
In the end, I felt totally satisfied that I had shown him how much he meant to me, and I did it using one of my favourite things... surprise! Though the anticipation did create that aforementioned low-level of panic, it also led to a huge emotional pay off. And it was so much fun!
I hope you liked the story of my brother's 30th surprise birthday party! Do you have any similar stories to relate? I'd love to hear them. Please comment below and share our post! If you'd like to do something similar for a loved and one don't know where to start, call or email me today! And as always, you can connect with me over social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.