Every now and then we get an event that shows up on our doorstep that you think “Ya baby!” but very rarely do those events then turn into “Friggin’ right we’re doing this!”.
As you can tell we had an incredible time planning this event for Daina &John. Actually, let me rephrase that, we had an incredible time planning this for Daina and then John joined in. I’ll explain later. Follow along, it’s a great story!
I was contacted by Daina to plan a surprise 50th birthday party for her “boyfriend”. Together we came up with some great ideas that were going to play out perfectly at their cottage. She had invited friends and family from all over the world to attend. As he likes to say, “he’s Canadian with UK roots” so we based the entire event on his Canadian and UK roots and made sure to personalize it along the way with the most fun party hats you ever did see!
Like we do with any of our events we talked about personal favourites of the guest of honour. For food we decided on fish and chips, curry and some delicious chocolate desserts. My biggest concern was finding somewhere that could serve fish and chips fresh. It would be a nightmare if they were served soggy and cold and being in cottage country it was a true concern of mine. While I pondered that idea I contacted a caterer about the curry portion of the night. What are the chances that they also serve fish and chips! I am so incredibly grateful that I found All Seasons Indian Catering! Not only was the food perfect, they were also so incredibly amazing to deal with.
We hired a DJ, our friends from Something Blue Wedding DJs, because they love to dance at the cottage, always. It was a must. We hired a photographer because that was going to be our way to get John away from the cottage for the 2 hours I had to set up. Daina told him she had hired a photographer for a family portrait because John’s sister was coming to visit and it would be the perfect time to get some photos taken. He fell for it…hook, line and sinker! While they were away their guests would arrive, I would set up the lights, the food, the Photobooth and dance floor.
We are three weeks out from the big day, everything is going perfectly! The secret is still in tact. Then comes the phone call. I am talking to Daina about some of the details and she says, “So I have something to tell you. We were at the cottage on the weekend and John proposed!” He said to her, “I want to marry you right here at our cottage with just us and the kids.”
Can you guess what happened next? In kicked Operation Surprise Wedding. But the best part, John was in on this part…still while knowing nothing about his surprise party. Daina convinced him that they should get married in 3 weeks at the cottage while his sister was visiting. She had found an event planner who could help pull it all together on time. He thought it was a great idea. But he wanted to keep it a secret from the kids and his sister.
So, Daina and I, her kids and her mom knew about the surprise party for John. John, Daina and I knew about the wedding. So essentially I was working on two separate covert operations with the same people for the same people.
Believe it or not it actually all worked out perfectly. A few people started to guess what might be happening, especially when I arrived at the cottage with a large cargo truck full of decor…some of it looking a little wedding’ish. My team and I did our best to hide the wedding pieces while we set up but there were family members there to help which made it a little difficult, especially when they were helping us lug everything down to the party location.
Set up went great. Guests started to arrive, prepared for a great surprise 50th birthday party. The majority none the wiser about what was going to happen. Daina, John, the kids and John’s sister’s family were off with Stacey, from Stacey Stewart Photography, getting their family portrait done. I received a text from Stacey saying they had finished their portrait so they were going for ice cream because they would be a bit early returning if they came straight back.
It was finally time and I got the text from Daina I was waiting for, “We’re on our way!” I prepared all the guests, made sure they had their party hats on, got them all in position for the best “Surprise” possible. All this time John was thinking in his mind about the great surprise they had planned for their kids, he was going to marry Daina tonight in an intimate ceremony at their favourite place.
At the cottage it is really hard to hide 20-30 cars so as he pulled in he knew something was up. He was greeted at the waterfront by all of their closest family and friends with Happy Birthday sung off key. It was perfect! But then it got better, if you can imagine. Our officiant, Julie, arrived quietly and did her best to not draw attention to herself. Our guests were finishing up their meals when Daina and John took over the microphone. They stood together and thanked their family and friends for coming and told them how special the day had been so far followed by, “We have a surprise for all of you, we’re getting married, right now!” They called over their kids and asked if they were ok with them getting married. Everyone agreed and the transformation began. The guests helped us set up the benches and the candlelit ceremony space. The bride and groom and their kids ran off to change and freshen up.
Thirty minutes later the music started and Daina made her way down the aisle to the man of her dreams. It could not have been more perfect. Daina and John shared some of the most moving words with their children that I had ever heard, they brought the entire place to tears. The candlelit ceremony at sunset was perfectly written by Julie, as always.
As a thank you to Daina for including us in this incredible moment that I will cherish forever as one of my favourite of all time, I surprised her with a sparkler send off as they made their way down the aisle. It was a perfect moment. The song they had chosen was Can’t Stop This Feeling by Justin Timberlake! The couple stopped on their way down the aisle to share a kiss followed by Daina’s mom and grandma dancing their way down the aisle. Seriously the best thing I have ever seen!
The night finished off just as Daina had hoped, with a champagne toast and lots of dancing surrounded by her closest family and friends.
The team that made it happen:
Officiant: Julie Keon Life Cycle Celebrant
Florals: Rebel Petal
Photographer: Stacey Stewart Photography
Planning and Coordination: ITM Events