101 in 1001 #59: Plan and throw a surprise party!

Time to play catch-up on life lately…I’ve been way too busy having an insane amount of fun to actually write about how much fun it’s been! Between Labor Day and today, I’ve been gone more than I’ve been in the Twin Cities…two weddings out of state, a trip to Toronto for work, sneaking away to Columbus for a weekend of Buckeye football, and a work-and-play journey to Hartford and Boston!

There’s been plenty of fun back home though too…including a super-special weekend with Eva and her bridal party in late October! As I’ve mentioned, Eva’s getting married next summer, and Claire and I are her bridesmaids. Along with Kyla, her Madison-based maid of honor, we decided to take advantage of a planned bridal shopping weekend to pull off an epic surprise!

Way back over the summer we started talking about potential weekends to go shopping for dresses…both bridesmaids’ dresses and, of course, Eva’s wedding dress! With the insanity of all of our work schedules, plus the complications of college football season (of course), we landed on just one weekend where we were all free. As soon as we did, I sneakily Facebooked Claire and Kyla to propose the idea of a surprise engagement party to cap off the day. They were 100% on board, and we started planning legitimately months in advance!

The morning of our bridal extravaganza started bright and early as Claire and I headed to The Wedding Shoppe to meet Eva, Kyla, and Eva’s mom. I wasn’t really sure what to expect…I’d only been dress-shopping with one other bride, at a super-small boutique, so this was very different for me. The Wedding Shoppe is like the major leagues of dress-shopping experiences. Imagine a dozen brides, all with their entourages, packed into the top floor of an old Grand Avenue mansion that’s been converted to a wedding dress emporium. So much white, so many tears, SO MUCH ESTROGEN.

We had a fabulous time watching beautiful Eva try on equally beautiful dresses, and she ended up finding one she loved! No photos, obviously, but we did the obligatory “She Said Yes!” photo to commemorate the experience.

The bridesmaid portion of the appointment took place in the basement of said Grand Avenue mansion, and it was absolute madness. In just under two hours, we managed to go from looking at deep purple chiffon dresses to a complete 180…beautiful peau de soie in one of the prettiest colors I’ve ever seen. In the meantime, Claire, Kyla and I cycled through about a dozen dresses in various shades of Easter-egg chiffon. Hilarity ensued, and I fell completely in friend-love with Kyla (as if I hadn’t already during our months of Facebook chatting to plan the party!).

Once we settled on a bridesmaid dress color and brand, we peaced out of Bridal Insanityland and headed to a relaxing brunch at W.A. Frost! If you ever go, get the croque madame…you won’t regret it. Almost as good as Paris! After finishing up, we rocketed over to Edina for manicures and pedicures, where Eva thought our day would end with a chill brewery trip and afternoon of girl time. Little did she know that Claire was going to fake a work emergency, and she and I were going to ditch Kyla and Eva to go prepare for the party!

Here, I have to give the hugest of huge shout-outs to my amazing parents. We were tied up all day doing bridal party activities, so my mom and dad killed it in every way helping us get set up and ready. Just my luck, the elevator in my building was broken that weekend, so we were schlepping everything up and down stairs to the party room with such limited time. I get frazzled easily, but with Dick and Jodi at the helm, everything went beautifully!

We planned a purple, black, and silver party to match Eva’s initial wedding colors, which we had of course changed that morning. I’m so glad we did get purple in the wedding somewhere though…it’s Eva’s favorite color and it looked so cool in my building’s party room! I ordered personalized M&Ms with a coupon a few weeks prior to the party, which looked incredibly cute scattered around the room, and Claire and I picked up big purple balloon bouquets for the main table before the party started.

We hung a personalized banner (thanks, Party City!) above the bar and buffet…

And my personal favorite decorations? I’m really proud of this one. I snuck a few of Eva’s engagement pictures off Facebook and framed them to be scattered around the party. I had a ton of small frames left over from previous apartments’ gallery walls, though, so I decided to put them to good use as well! When we sent out invites (via email, ever-so-fancy!), I asked that anyone who sent regrets also send their best wishes for the bride and groom, to be displayed during the party and sent home with her.

I didn’t catch a picture of them, but I typed each message up prettily, added a black-and-white floral border, and we had those running down the table too! You can sort of see it in the picture up above. I loved reading everyone’s sweet words for Eva and her fiancé Josh…it’s always so wonderful to hear people talk about how much they love someone!

Oh…and one last touch, that Claire and I clearly had way too much fun with…the amazing 99-cent Party City bling. At that low, low price, why wear just one? HA!

Now…before we get into the surprise, about that cake.

Drink it in. It’s literally Barney purple. My parents went to pick it up at the delectable Farmington Bakery, and my mom called me as soon as she got a look at it to ask if I had actually asked for a neon purple cake. I was dismayed…like, beyond upset. I had called, over my car’s Bluetooth system, to ask for purple flowers, which clearly was misheard and left me with purple frosting instead. YIKES. My mom saved the day with cake toppers and decorations that (slightly) mitigated the garish error, but I was NOT a happy camper. Still, it became a running joke for the night and of course it still tasted great!

Eva and Kyla showed up for “a chill night in at my apartment” at 7, and the surprise went off without a hitch! We had around 25 family members and friends who showed up, made the maze-like hike up to the roof deck, and celebrated. From my dad’s amazing sliders to Claire’s famous buffalo chicken dip and Kyla’s adorable candy sushi, the food was fantastic…and Eva’s mom actually found wines that were named “Eva” and “Josh!” We slapped a bridal veil tiara thing on Eva’s head and had a blast drinking, playing pool and chatting. It was so great to meet her family and start getting to know some of the men and women who will be at the wedding…not to mention the shower and bachelorette party! We were honestly all so busy having fun that we only have about four pictures with guests in them...and only one of the most clutch bridal party ever! 


The engagement party was the perfect way to kick off Eva’s bridal year. As a test run of sorts for the other events we’ll be planning as her bridal party, it couldn’t have been better. It gave Kyla and Claire and I a chance to figure out logistics and, best of all, to get to know each other. I can’t wait for everything else we have upcoming…it’s sure to be a blast!

To check out the rest of my 101 in 1001 shenanigans, head here…plenty of fun coming up!