Jesse and I were so privileged this summer to attend the celebration of Jim and Jean Jones’ 60th wedding anniversary! It was such a special time, and we were able to spend some overdue time with family and create some great memories there in Ohio.
This family get-together included Jesse’s grandparents – of course – and their six children and spouses, at least a dozen grandchildren and spouses, and some great grandchildren as well. This kind of gathering doesn’t just happen, so in addition to trying to savor the memories, I decided to also include some details that might help others to plan for a big get-together. Note: I had nothing to do with the preparations; all the credit goes to my mother-in-law and her sisters-in-law.
Some pre-meditated details included…
the communication: we’ve had this time set aside for several months, possibly a year. This was a great help to many. It helped me and Jesse with planning our upcoming vacation, our savings, our days off, whether we would come for the big Thanksgiving get together, and so on.
the set-up: The tent, tables, and chairs rented was a worthy and wise expense.
the food: The moms (except for the lady of honor) all brought enough lasagnas to feed their own family which was a good move. Some brought salads, sides, or drinks as well.
the photos: A photographer lined up ahead of time, as well as having someone in the family with a drone, both made for some great, stress-free memories.
the entertainment: Someone was in charge of bringing games. There was enough land to play baseball, in addition to having a huge tent to play games under. And then there’s cornhole. Enough said.
the cake: The cake made in honor of the event was beautiful and, of course, there was plenty to go around. (A couple great grands were born that week, hence the question marks!)
the weather: the weather was hot and humid, but not totally unbearable. Some came inside and got some shade and some breeze (the AC wasn’t on, but it still felt good to be inside); some had to lay their babies down for naps, so after finding a close, empty bed, they just stayed inside and listened for them while they cooled off a little. The day before, it had been raining. If it had rained on Saturday, I guess we would’ve just all squished into the house or hung out under the tent playing board games and chatting. (The tent was not just shade but a security blanket in case it rained!)
the family: I love my family and feel so blessed to have married into a family that is simply awesome. They love Jesus and love each other, and life is just better that way!
Things I personally didn’t plan for…
bugs! In SoCal, you really don’t have to worry about getting eaten alive by mosquitos or any other kind of bug for that matter. In Cleveland, however, it seems that even the flies bite! There was probably bug spray somewhere, but I really didn’t think anything of it until suddenly I had a dozen bites on my legs and ankles! (By the third night, we got smart and doused ourselves with lemon essential oil – lifesaver!)
dinner that night and with whom. Sometimes you get together with family for lunch, and the party just continues through dinner. Someone decides to order pizza or go pick up some other food and bring it back. That wasn’t the case this time, so we needed to figure out who we could have dinner with that we don’t normally get to see. No big deal, but last minute plans can tend toward stress and miscommunication.
making sure I introduced myself to everyone. I’m not shy, but I also really like to be by my husband’s side and let him lead the conversation when possible. I think that’s especially true when he already knows the person and has a strong relationship with them (like family). I should’ve made my rounds and made sure I knew everyone and how they were connected without waiting for my husband or another family member to introduce me.
Have you ever been responsible for planning a big event? What went well? What made you want a mulligan?
PS – I also intend to share some tips on how Jim and Jean Jones made 60 years of marriage look so good, so stay tuned!