Really, all I need to say is that the whole evening blew me away, thanks in large part to my sister's thoughtful, amazing plan. I barely knew anything about the itinerary leading up to the party, and when she picked me up in the early evening, she let me know that we'd start with dinner at a nearby restaurant. (Most of us ordered pizzas we thought were going to be individual-sized that turned out to be enormous!) It was so much fun just to have dinner with friends from different parts of my life all together in one place. We enjoyed chocolate cake that my sister had baked for dessert, and that's when I found out the plan.
Remember our family's annual Easter scavenger hunt? Every Easter,
I had no idea that a yellow school bus would pull up a few minutes later - with my dad at the helm! (He works part-time driving for a school bus company, and he and my sister had coordinated our transportation for the evening!) Here's how I felt about this surprise:
(I think I just had this goofy grin on for the rest of the evening, actually.)
And of course, the bus's interior was decked out with ribbons and streamers and pictures of Josh and me, thanks to my mom. We all piled into the bus, pulled the windows down to let the summer night's breeze in, and the ribbons started flying.
We had a couple of clues at my alma mater: the residence hall where I lived during my first year of college, the building that housed many of Josh's science classes, and so on. One of the last clues on campus led our party to a nearby watering hole, and then after that stop, my dad dropped us off at the house where I lived with Sara (a bridesmaid) and a few other friends during my junior year of college. My sister had gone to the house earlier in the day and asked the family that lives there now if she could stash a clue in their fence. They gave her permission, and when we returned that night, they had put a bottle of champagne out with a note congratulating us and thanking my roommates and me for warming the house for their arrival, a year or two after we moved out.
We took lots and lots of photos. Here's one of me with the bridesmaids in attendance:
There were two other dear bridesmaids who I missed that night, but at the next stop (in the spirit of another family tradition), my sister included life-size photos of their heads on a stick so they could be included in the group photos, too. At nearly every stop, she had thought of fun activities for the group to do.
The second to last stop brought us to the restaurant where Josh and I had our first date, and some more friends joined us there before we headed to our last stop, which featured the all-important dance floor.
I was so, so touched by the level of care, effort and detail my sister put into weaving together an evening that I loved wholeheartedly, one that included many of the dearest people, places and neighborhoods in my past and present. Thank you, so much, to everyone who helped make it happen. I am a happy bride-to-be.