This is 30.


Not for me! GOD no. I’m still in my twenties for two more months.

Monday was Pete’s 30th Birthday, and I am still so dorky excited that I can’t even wait a few chill days to post about it. I never had after-wedding-blues or anything. I loved wedding planning but really just wanted to be married, so I wasn’t sad it was over. But I think I am having post-pete-bday-blues.

First, you need to know that I LOVE surprises and am one of the most excitable people you will ever meet. Also, fun is very important to me. I have been through enough tough times to know that you can’t control how and when they come, but I have found that filling up on the fun wherever I can better equips me to deal when the tough times come. I’ll take my fun any way I can get it, and a 30th Birthday for my favorite person in the world seemed like an excellent opportunity to make some memories.

Pete has been planning a joint 30th Birthday Party-Cation for us for awhile now, and so he told me he didn’t want to do much on his actual big day. But, first, boring. No. You can’t go small on your Big Day. And second, the thing he is planning is still two months away, and over my actual Birthday, and I thought him waiting to celebrate until then would maybe feel a little anti-climactic for his 30 experience.

So I knew I wanted to do it up, but didn’t know how, and since he was confused and thought he DIDN’T want a party, I thought it should probably be a surprise. One of my good friends and clients, Rachael, owns an incredible catering & events company in Houston and we always have a great time working together. I called her up, and she suggested doing a smaller dinner party with really amped up, extra-delicious food. We decided that, weather permitting, they would set it up on our back patio. I gave her a list of Pete’s favorite foods and literally did nothing else on the actual party.

I called each of our friends to invite them because Pete is a snoop and I didn’t want there to be any paper trail. I then called two of his best friends in Chicago and New York to see if they could fly in to surprise him. It was a lot to ask since it was on a Monday during the holidays, but I figured if either one could swing it, it would make the surprise that much better. One of the two guys comes to Houston for work pretty frequently, and so he was able to schedule a meeting here that day and stay for the night. The other is a chef & pro-snowboarder, and was planning to fly to Montana for an event this week and changed his flight to connect through Houston. Fantastic news on both fronts.

With both of them coming in, I thought having just one big surprise might be overwhelming for Pete to process how much love was actually coming his way, so I decided to pace them out. I also had to get Pete out of the house for 2 hours before the party so A Fare Extraordinaire could set up. Then I had to get him back to the house for the dinner at exactly the right time, which shouldn’t have been too hard but Pete is a tricky guy to corral. I told him we had a reservation at one of his favorite restaurants (BCN) with our bff couple friends at 7:30, but that we were going to their house before to let our kids play with each other/feed them/have a champagne toast. Then, we would drop the kids and our car off at our house before dinner since it’s on the way to the restaurant.

The real plan was that Pete’s Chicago buddy was going to surprise him at our friends house- where he would no way expect anything going down. Also, hopefully it would throw him off just enough that this was his big surprise (because he knows I always have something up my sleeve). BUT! It wouldn’t seem like too grand a gesture to arouse suspicion that we were actually up to something bigger than our dinner reservation since his friend comes in town pretty frequently. We would all then head to our house to “drop off the kids & friends bag” and his other friend would surprise him at the door. Pete would still think we were all going out to dinner, as we walked back to our den where the rest of our friends would be waiting for the final surprise!

I was so anxious the night before I couldn’t sleep and Pete woke up around 4 am to see me bathed in the glow of my iPhone. All day I was sweaty nervous mess as I tried to do the final preparations. But finally, FINALLY, it was time for it all to go down, and well, it did!

I put together a video of all of our surprises to send to Pete’s fam, and I included it at the bottom in case you want to see for yourself how we pulled it off. But first, Rachael sent me the pics they took of the party set-up and I had to share…






Can you even handle the pretty? Isn’t Rachael such a star!? You should also know that the food was crazy delicious and basically a tour of all of Pete’s favorite foods. I have spent most of the day yesterday looking back through the pictures & videos, and profusely thanking the entire A Fare Extraordinaire team for their perfection.

Throughout dinner our friends gave the funniest, sweetest toasts. It was one of the most special nights of our lives. Pete is feeling pretty great about 30, and we are both feeling like the luckiest people to have such wonderful friends. If any of you are planning holiday surprises- best of luck! It can be super stressful keeping fun secrets, I felt legit sick at times, but the payoff is so so worth it!

Images & Event by A Fare Extraordinaire

11 thoughts on “This is 30.

  1. Love it!!! That video totally made my day – to hear all that laughter & love!!! What a wonderful gift you gave Pete!!! Beautiful!!!

  2. Oh my gosh, I saw this on Instagram and thought it was the BEST ever. I am obsessed with surprises, especially anything that involves friends flying in top secret. Fantastic.

  3. My husband finishes nine years of surgical training in June & I think you just helped me out in figuring out how to celebrate!

  4. Awwww you love him so much! Thanks for sharing this special and personal surprise–it is awesome!
    PS can’t wait to hear about the 30th bday trip!!!

  5. It was the most magical night!! I had so much fun I can hardly even remember that delicious chocolate molten situation ????

  6. Fantastic! So happy for you. I am about to turn 40, and I could only dream that my hubby would plan something that special. You could tell how loved Pete felt!

Have a Comment?