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Thread: planning a 75th Surprise Bday Party for my FIL....any advice or ideas?

  1. #1
    WynfordMom2016's Avatar
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    I am in way over my head on this one I think...Dont get me wrong I love planning little get togethers and Bday parties etc..but My husbands family is NOT close as a matter of fact at my mil and sil funerals people had to be removed from the building..yep..they are one of those families..Its a 22 year old fight over the estate when my husbands grandpa died..its sad really

    Well my fil is a sweet man who tries to remain neutral even though he is one of the ones that got shorted in the deal..Next month he turns 75 and before my mil died a few years ago I had promised her I would make a big deal out of his 75th bday..so I am trying to put together a surprise bday party...(he is 3rd oldest of 12) all his brothers and sisters are all still living (his oldest sister is now 82) and this may be our last chance to get them all together if they like it or not

    So far I reserved a place to have it (my churches fellowship hall) and have started the guest list...

    I know I am already behind cause the party is a month from today...I am looking for addresses etc now (and trying to find out peoples last names how many kids they have etc...we have been married almost 15 years and I have never meet alot of his family

    Over the weekend I am going to start the invitations ...

    So any helpful ideas, suggestions, money saving tips, anything would be very helpful

    thanks so much

  2. #2
    WynfordMom2016's Avatar
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    Did I mention I am doing this completely by myself including all the cooking................guest list ia growing fast my inlaws fostered over 80 kids plus baby sat and are from large families :cry:

  3. #3
    lbaillie's Avatar
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    I'm sorta in the same boat. We (DH & I) have been planning my In-Laws 70th wedding anniversary. See if any of the family is on Facebook. you'll be amazed just how many names and address you can get that way. As for the "rowdy" bunch don't hesitate to let it be know this is a celebration of the present not the past!

  4. #4
    WynfordMom2016's Avatar
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    hubby is kinda the bouncer ..lol.. at family functions (he had to make people leave at his own mothers and sisters funeral and at our wedding reception) He has said NO ARGUEING PERIOD...

    As for facebook weel there are a FEW and very few on there so i am trying to call and message people to ask for names addresses etc. But my husabnds family is very old world german (my mom calls the 2 stps from amish) they are very about religion and old customs the dont even believe in weddling rings or decorative barrettes in your hair and alot of them dont own tvs or computers

  5. #5
    Senior Member MissSandra's Avatar
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    when my bunnie turned 75 I did an open house, with finger foods and cake drinks and invited all of his friends and business associates drop in threw out the day it was wonderful no stress just good laughs and simple

  6. #6
    Super Member Airwick156's Avatar
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    An open house actually sounds good. Then you don't have to worry about all of the "mean" ones staying all day making things worse. Pop in say Happy Birthday grab an appetizer or two...mingle for ten minutes GO HOME. LOL.
    I only say this because you nor your father in law need to have DRAMA on his special day. :) Wishing you luck in whatever you decide to do.

  7. #7
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    Well, if it was me, I would ask the other members of the family to bring a little something. You should not have to do ALL of the cooking.

  8. #8
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    I did this for my dad also. Can't believe with our big family he didn't find out. The only other thing I did was have a photographer come. We got a lot of wonderful family pics. Everyone paid for their own pics and we split the sitting fee between us kids.

  9. #9
    WynfordMom2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yankee
    Well, if it was me, I would ask the other members of the family to bring a little something. You should not have to do ALL of the cooking.
    I hate to say anything mean about my husbands family BUT #1 most of them either dont cook or u dont want them too but the bigger thing is that his family is the type if the bring a dish as in a potluck that is all they will bring no card no presents nothing...

    honestly they only reason most of them will even come is it a free meal

  10. #10
    WynfordMom2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissSandra
    when my bunnie turned 75 I did an open house, with finger foods and cake drinks and invited all of his friends and business associates drop in threw out the day it was wonderful no stress just good laughs and simple
    We have already planned a sit down meal and honestly will be the reason most of his family comes... We are having it at a fellowship hall ...

    the open house may be a good idea for my hubbys 40th next year tho thanks for the idea

  11. #11
    WynfordMom2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slstitcher
    I did this for my dad also. Can't believe with our big family he didn't find out. The only other thing I did was have a photographer come. We got a lot of wonderful family pics. Everyone paid for their own pics and we split the sitting fee between us kids.
    We are kind of doing something like this in a way...We foun d out they have NEVER had a photgraph of all the kids together. and since they are all still living I decided on family photos (we do this at my family reunion)

    I took some photography courses (and so did my mom) So we will be taking photos of the famil all the girls all the boys and then indiviual families including mine which will be a three generation pic. fil dh ds ... and then pictures in general He will give each family one copy (normal 4x5) of the family photo and if they want any other pics they can order them thru me

  12. #12
    Super Member Kooklabell's Avatar
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    It only seems fitting to ask family members to bring a "covered dish" or something to help with the food prep. You could offer cake, coffee and soft drinks, paper products. Sometimes when we get people involved, they behave a bit better. Perhaps making a "thing" of it.... 75 different dishes - make your best dish. collect the recipes and create a family recipe collection to celebrate his birthday.

    Don't forget to take a family photo. Our neighbors have been hosting the family picnic each year for a long time now. He hosted because his father (90) couldln't travel. Last year it was a long one! 4th of July weekend, but it lasted more like 6 days. People come from all over the country and camped out in his yard. (They get two port-o-potties) Anyway. My husband was a professional photographer at one time. He took my new digital camera and took candid shots and a few of the entire family with Ma and Slim sitting in the front. Well, Slim passed last month. Its the ONLY family photo - I'm so glad we took it.

    Attached is a picture of the "tatoo" that was drawn on each guest with a magic marker. They did have such a blast!

    I hope your celebration turns out to be a fun and wonderful time.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    WynfordMom2016's Avatar
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    His birthday is actually the 7th and we had to postpone the party until the 16th as that is when one of my husbands uncles (he is only one that lives out of state) will be in from Colorado..
    So we have planned a small store bought cake and a fairly normal present for his bday day but no big deal...then we are going to have either my hubby or hus aunt act like the are taking him somewhere to go out to eat or something and then say they have to stop at my house (fellowship hall we are using is in alley behind our house) and bring him there instead (we live in the country so they need an excuse for not heading to town)

  14. #14
    WynfordMom2016's Avatar
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    our food plan so far

    I will be making a large cake to look like a tool box and tools

    my ideas...

    I make potato salad, macaroni salad, cole slaw, sloppy joes, baked beans, corn on the cob, green beans, either beef and noodles or beef stew

    Chad (hubby) ideas
    order fried chicken from WalMart (my fil loves walmart deli fried chicken) we got some recently for a funeral 50 pc is only like 34.00..Hubby says to get about 100-150 pcs
    and maybe cook out, burgers and hot dogs

  15. #15
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    My brother owns a guard company, and goes to small as well as large group meetings. From BD parties that might get out of hand, to those held in the Fairgrounds, he can provide protection and has on occasion called police.

    I'm sure you have some like his group near you. If you think it might get out of hand, having someone impressive in uniform might make them think twice about acting up.

    And yes, we have some of that sort in our family, almost every one does.

  16. #16
    Super Member bjnicholson's Avatar
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    It sounds like you have this fling pretty much nailed down. I hope everything works out and there are no "discussions" about who got what and who didn't. Good luck!!!

  17. #17
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    I was happy to see you plan to take family pics including the in-laws as well My husb is from a family of 13 children. When there's a get-together, they take brother and sister pic's.(parents are deceased) I'm not the only "in-law" that feels slighted. The spouses are 1/2 of the team creating and raising the next generation. The sister-in-laws (9 of us to begin with) are the ones to plan, cook the food, buy the gifts, and in some cases see that our husbands attend. Some of us attend even if our spouse (no excuse) doesn't. I feel we've become an important part of the family as well.

    GOOD LUCK with the party. I'm sure your FIL will appreciate your efforts.

  18. #18
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    If you haven't advertised a full sit down meal.... I really like the idea of an open house with "light refreshments". We did this for our son when he graduated from the Air Force Academy and it worked out so well. Our house would not accomodate the number of guests we invited. The church fellowship hall would work very well for an open house. Good luck and happy birthday to the birthday boy!

  19. #19
    Dotsie's Avatar
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    Ask guests to wear something of 1936, play music of the 6o's or just do something that suites that age, great fun and enjoy! Sorry food is not my strong point.

  20. #20
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    Before my Mom passed away I was THE party planner....easiest is the prepare ahead buffet. I say if FIL likes fried chicken go for it. I always do a baked Ziti...it is easy can be made weeks ahead and frozen. If you like to make breads, banana pumpkin zucchini all of them can be made ahead and put on a pretty platter and put on a dessert table. A big tossed salad always pretty and easy. Hope your party goes well, try to remember to have fun too!

  21. #21
    Super Member teacherbailey's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're doing well so far! See if you can get some help with the inviting...asking each sibling to invite their kids, grandkids and other family members maybe. Verbal invites are better than nothing, and are FREE! Your food selection sounds great, especially depending on somebody else to do parts of it, like buying a lot of it.... Let us know how it goes!

  22. #22
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    Does the party have to be a surprise? Happy anticipation was always part of the fun for my dad. My mother began having family and friends parties for my dad on his 65th. We celebrated that one and every 5 years after that - including his 95th! He so enjoyed looking forward to the big day, as well as greeting people he hadn't seen since the last party! If at all possible, I strongly recommend letting you FIL in on the plans. :-)

  23. #23

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    little gift bags with an old photo of the receiver attached.
    Finger foods, cake, soda's, bottled water iced down in a large container and coffee. Finger foods can be made in advance and maybe a large pot of gumbo with rice and bread on the side. Gumbo freezes well too.

  24. #24
    Super Member nunnyJo's Avatar
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    sounds as if you've got it all in hand. wish I lived closer, love to do the baking and catering thing. Agree that a bk'd ziti, salad and a few desserts with Italian bread would be great. If some want more, then they can go home and eat. I know what you say that some only come to eat, we also have a few of those but every family does. Good luck and blessing to you

  25. #25
    Super Member dglvr's Avatar
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    Holy cow you have a full plate. Why not put in the invites to bring a plate of something. Or bring desserts.
    However, have you ever done pictures on fabric? You could have someone snap a few pictures at the party then make a wallhanging or quilt out of the pictures to give to him for Christmas or something. I did that for my mom and dads 50th. I also had sqaures of fabric that I had everyone sign that I included in the quilt. (make sure you use a fabric pen) :thumbup: I can post a picture of the quilt I did for my mom and dad if you want to see it.

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