A Nautical Surprise.

I had this crazy idea, let’s clear the house and throw dad a surprise birthday party.  I thought she was going to freak out, but honestly that mother of mine,  she just sat across from the little table where we were eating crepes and said ‘ok.’  And just like that we were planning a party.  It came together with weeks of hard work and planning and then the moment we brought him in the house and he saw everyone there, his face lit up.  It was a face I will never forget.  He was so surprised.  Not just surprised.  Stunned.  Everyone was there.  Many had not seen him in years, several driving hours just to be at his party.  For him.

And as the night went on, as I expected it to, something happened that I wasn’t expecting.  You see when you’re young, this man, you know him as your father.  And then when you get a little older, you get to know him as more of a adult who just had kids, just like the rest of the world.  But during this party I got to know the people that worked for him and called him their boss.  It was a side of him I had never seen before.  They looked up to him, valued his opinion, trusted him, and built friendships.  Because this person that I’ve known all these years first as a father, then as an adult, I now know was a hard working supervisor and friend to everyone he worked with.

I’d like to send a huge thank you to my friend Peter who came to shoot the party for me, half of these beautiful images are his!  Thank you Peter, I know I said it a million times, but we are forever grateful that you were there with us!!  We decided on a vintage nautical theme since Dad loved to spend his summers on the Chesapeake Bay!

I snagged this sail from Dad’s house, the one that we actually used to sail with, on his 38′ Morgan and the oars before we sold his house in downtown Annapolis.

The invitations were lined with old nautical charts, and hand addressed in gold by my sister.

I made all the paper pieces, starting with the invitations stamped in gold and closed with a gold rivet and sailing knot.

This Sláinte plaque we gave to my dad several years ago for fathers day which hung in the cabin on his boat until he sold it, and now has been sitting on his shelves for the last couple of years.  We decided to place it at the head of the table right in front of him.  Sláinte is an Irish toast meaning “good health.”

Just Cakes in Bethesda did an amazing job with Dad’s ombre wave-like birthday cake.

Now THAT is what I call a dessert table; Mom made the rest of the desserts and did a superb job.

“Take some sweet treats for the road”

This is my G-pa.  He is a very young ninty-six.  And he has an iPhone.  I don’t have an iPhone.  Something is wrong with this picture.

I was starting to wonder if Dad was suspecting anything, but seeing his face when Brian turned him around.  Nope.  He knew nothing.

I love this one.  Together.  And happy.

Very special birthday wishes.

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maria - this is the sweetest thing ever seen. love the look on your dad’s face when he first came in and the moment before he blew the candles out. beautiful job with all of the details, too – very impressed!May 5, 2012 – 1:28 am

Mandy Sroka - Simply beautiful. Maybe Megan & Amanda need a party-planning biz too! What a treasure for your dad & you all!May 4, 2012 – 8:40 pm

Meghan - This is one of the most amazingly planned parties i’ve ever seen… like even in magazines! You guys rock!May 1, 2012 – 10:03 pm

carrie - What a beautiful party. Every single detail! I am sure your dad was floored.April 29, 2012 – 9:39 am

Gail Kos - WOW!April 27, 2012 – 5:34 pm

Mary Anne - P.S. The dessert table is to die for! When I saw your menu, I had to smile at the dessert list. Oh and that cake, fabulous!! I’ve always wanted to try to make one of those myself with all the ruffles.April 27, 2012 – 5:32 pm

Mary Anne - Every single detail was just simply amazing! Of course, I wouldn’t expect anything less from you – yet it blew me away, even more than I thought!!! Your Dad is sooo loved! xoxoApril 27, 2012 – 5:08 pm

Amber Karson Events - So cute! What a memorable party for your family and pictures you’ll cherish forever!April 27, 2012 – 3:59 pm

peter bang - You blew me away with your party planning skills, Megan! Thank you again for having me. It was an honor to document the special day…so meaningful.April 27, 2012 – 3:46 pm

Megan Beth - @Erika: We are a dessert family, so there can NEVER BE ENOUGH DESSERTS!! @Melanie: I’ll leave the fab coordinating to you! You do such an amazing job yourself! @Taryn: I’m crazy and made them. Wasn’t easy, but totally worth it. @Amber: G-pa IS THE MAN! @Marie: Thank you, dear! So excited!!April 27, 2012 – 3:32 pm

marie - i got a little teary looking at these. you and amanda are so wonderful! also, i’m kind of afraid this party is going to look better than my wedding. but then again, that’s why i picked you to make everything look good ;)April 27, 2012 – 3:24 pm

Amber McDonald - Megan! These shots are fantastic! And that birthday cake blew me away!! How cool is your G-Pa?!!April 27, 2012 – 3:20 pm

Taryn - The table set up and decorations are beautiful! Wonderful job!! Where did you get the dessert to-go bags? I need something just like that for my wedding!! :)April 27, 2012 – 3:13 pm

Aunt Jeannette - OMG – absolutely magnificent. I have never seen anything so beautifully done. What an artistic family I have.April 27, 2012 – 2:58 pm

erin - you have the most amazing heart.April 27, 2012 – 2:52 pm

Lauren - Meg!! You continue to AMAZE me!! Absolutely beautiful!!! xoxoxApril 27, 2012 – 2:26 pm

Melanie - OMG–you are soooo hired— are you sure you don’t want to be a party planner full-time– Beautiful job ladies- your dad is a lucky man!!April 27, 2012 – 2:15 pm

Erika - I love everything about this! What a beautiful, heartfelt celebration of your father’s life and the many people he has touched!

Also- I’m LOVING all the dessert options! One helping is never enough! The idea of placing a small to-go bag next to the sweets was a nice touch :)April 27, 2012 – 1:28 pm

Laurie Bracewell - You did an AMAZING job putting this all together! LOVE the attention to detail – you are incredible!!April 27, 2012 – 12:43 pm

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