This past Saturday after weeks of planning and lot of LIES, we managed to surprise The Sister with a lunchtime birthday party.



The Sister thought she was coming to our house for a wedding-related luncheon hosted by The Tape for her bridesmaids, but it was really her surprise 30th birthday party almost two weeks early.  I believe the key to a great surprise is a solid cover story and a completely random date.  It worked for us!  The BIL was sooo relieved to be done with all the secrets though.  And I was just happy we pulled it off.

The plan was to have all the guests arrive right at noon and then The Sister, The BIL, The Cuz Man, and Fibonacci (their dog) were going to arrive at 12:30 PM. Of course, since in our family, if you’re not 45 minutes early, you’re late, The Sister kept trying to come over earlier and earlier to help me set up for the fake luncheon.  The Mother saved the day by asking her to come to my parent’s house (1.5 miles away) before the luncheon so she could see her grandson and it worked out perfectly.

When she walked in the door, we all yelled “SURPRISE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!”

surprise one

I know some people hate surprises,and aren’t sure how to react, but The Sister gave a wonderful reaction. After much exclamation, smiling, and laughter, she went around hugging everyone, still totally in shock.

surprise three

For food we served croissant sandwiches with deli meat, egg scrambler, and pastries.  For drinks there was a make-your-own mimosa station with multiple types of juice; it worked really until  I ran out of orange juice and champagne, oops!


We could not have asked for better weather.  Guests were able to enjoy the patio as well as lawn games in the backyard.


The Sister also got her favorite dessert, a chocolate chip cookie cake!


Later on she opened gifts including her 30 items from The Mother (and The Father).  Giving gifts the same number as someone’s age is a long-time tradition in our family.  The theme for The Sister was stuff for your head/hair, because well, she has a lot of hair!  As does her husband and adorable little son!


Speaking of The Cuz Man, his gift to his mommy was sleeping all through her party so she could thoroughly enjoy herself.  Isn’t he a sweetie?

All in all, it was a lovely afternoon.  The only downside?  The dogs found something nasty to roll in outside and walked around super stinky the rest of the day.  YUCK.  We’re still trying to get the smell off McKenna.

stinky doggies

To be fair, The Tape’s Sophie (the Chihuahua with the flower) didn’t roll in the icky stuff so she smelled nice but Ken-Ken and Fiblet were GROSS.

As we planned this party, I was telling friends about it and I was shocked to hear the amount of people who said they’d HATE to be surprised for their birthday.  Do you like surprise parties or do they make you uncomfortable?

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9 Responses to “SURPRISE! The Sister Turns 30… EARLY”

  1. Kelly J

    I’ve never had a surprise party, but I think the leo in me would love it. 🙂 Looks like a fabulous party. Great job with the cover story. I love the pics of The Sister arriving.

  2. Katie

    I love surprise parties! I’m not sure how I would react to one, but I’ve always wanted one. I might be too much of a control freak though to appreciate one… ever since my husband planned a failed birthday trip surprise, he has vowed to never, ever plan me another surprise. Still… maybe a party some day! i told him the key is making sure the person doesn’t book other things on that day and that they will come see you. 🙂

    • Stephanie

      Ah, that is a bummer! But things change, you never know! Yes, the key is making a plan they can’t cancel on that will keep them “busy” for that day. I hope you get a big surprise one day. 🙂

  3. Jenn

    Completely unrelated to the above topic, but I just wanted to share that we just found out we’re having a girl and are naming her Makenna, I always love reading and hearing you say McKenna about your pup, you don’t hear that name very often!

    • Stephanie

      OH MY GOSH, congratulations!! Another Makenna, you are the second person I know who is going to be spelling it that way for their daughter. When are you due? Great name choice! 🙂

      • Jenn

        Thank you 🙂 We’ve loved that name for a long time! I’m due Sept 2.


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