I know some seriously awesome people and through this whole experience, I got to know many more. Planning DK's 30th birthday weekend with my best friends, his brother and with Emily was an experience I'll never forget.
First, let's have a little back story from this time last year for fun. DK was just my friend but I also knew he liked me so when I got an email from his bud Adam asking me to put together something for his upcoming bday, I felt nervous. Regardless, it was easy to do cause everyone loves being around him and definitely showed up for dinner at Cyclone Anayas. Then later as his gift, I simply arranged for several of his friends and me to kayak down the Bayou for an adventure. It was nuts!! Since dating DK I've learned his love language is very specifically centered about this kind of experience and he was floored.
Fast forward to November 2008 and I realized 1. DK was about to turn 30, 2. His brother hadn't been to Houston in ages, and 3. We needed to throw a huge bash. I emailed Michael immediately, asking if he and Emily would like to come visit for that weekend and without hesitation Michael set up their flight itinerary. One of the hardest times to keep quiet from DK was during our trip to Pittsburgh for Christmas, meeting Michael and Emily for the first time and knowing they were coming to Houston in just a few weeks!!
From there, Michael had the idea for me to pick them up at the airport, drop them off at a restaurant for breakfast, then have me show up a few minutes later with DK. "Whoa what are you guys doing here?!" We also decided (for the party) to tell DK I had to work from 5-7 (not so uncommon on weekends) and to pick me up around 730 because I "made dinner reservations."
Kristen volunteered to help decorate, Domenica cooked pub style food and Bob helped with the video presentation. I'd emailed Dave and Kim in Malaysia, Brandon and Gil in London, Mitch in New York, and themanilow in PA asking them all to put together a bday presentation since they couldn't make it in person. I cried as each one came in from all over the world and watched this appreciation and love for DK unfold before me from all the people in his life, past and present.
Thanks to Brandi Lisenbe's brilliant creativity, we also set up a photo booth in the sunroom at my house. Dad helped with all the backdrops, Brandi brought lots of props and costume pieces and Cody set up the light and camera. The idea was for each guest to use full creative lisence and expression in each portrait. I will never have another party without having a photo booth as long as I live. For the full effect and to see the results, click here.
Michael also printed an outstanding photo collage banner for decoration and created "Pin It On DK" - a game to play at the party. I'd done this before for a party I threw and it was hilarious - so Michael printed an 11x7 size head to foot photo of DK and in addition printed several "DK accessories" including an iphone, tripod, cowboy hat, starbucks cup, and many more. Needless to say, it was a hit.
Michael and I communicated almost every detail of the weekend through email and left nothing unplanned. But I prayed continually that ultimately DK would be appreciated and loved by everyone around him and I kept giving the whole thing back to God asking for Him to bless the entire event. DK never figured any of it out and was completely blown away. I'd say mission accomplished!