REASONS TO CELEBRATE!!!!
I’ve seen him walk across the stage to graduate 3 times and THIS was the big one! We’ve had a zillion reasons to celebrate over the last 10 years and this graduation was beyond party worthy! Between scoring great on his DAT (mandatory test to apply to dental school), to graduating BYU, to getting in to Baylor dental school (Our #1 choice, in Dallas where my family lives! Fun Fact: my brother was accepted into the same dental school at the same time!), to 4 years later being accepted into our #1 residency program at Baylor (Woo hoo! Their program is incredible and we didn’t have to sell our home and move!), to 3 years later graduating from the orthodontic program! He’s accomplished much more than I can list but my favorites include becoming a stellar father to 4, while supporting me in teaching group fitness classes and eventually to grow this blog and my social media business. He took his first step in this education journey in August 2004 (nearly 14 years ago!) and has never taken one step back. After 10 years of school together, he deserved to put on his dancing shoes and enjoy a night dedicated to celebrating his journey!
And how this remained a surprise to this guy is BEYOND me. All of the lies began 3 months ago. Who I was on the phone with, what emails I was working on, why I hired a babysitter. Y’all, I’ve never lied to Aaron before, about anything! I was in sneaky new territory and became a bit of a pro at it fairly quickly.
I started the planning with nailing down a venue to host the event and a guest list. I wanted all of his closest supporting fans. Due to the busy events planned around graduation, I chose Wednesday night for the big surprise. He officially checked out of school on Wednesday afternoon and it seemed appropriate to party that night!
I’ve heard AMAZING things about NOAH’S Events Venues from both friends and family who’ve attended beautiful ceremonies there. They have locations all over the United States and look fantastic for hosting weddings, corporate events, and parties! I booked the entire building for the day and began working with the coordinator to plan all the details ranging from the chandelier, lighting, backdrops, table linen colors and sheen, seating arrangements, etc. It was SO much fun! After the details were planned, NOAH’S took care of everything. I also called my talented friend Lauren from Swoon Soiree to share her wealth of knowledge in planning killer luxury weddings. After chatting details of the event flow, questions to ask for catering, and how to pick the perfect DJ/MC & orchestra band, I realized how LITTLE I knew about parties! haha
A few weeks prior to the party, I asked my dad to tell all of my local siblings about an award dinner that he’d like for us all to attend in his honor. He’s fantastic in his business and often wins award vacations making this a very believable lie. This escalated into a number of smaller lies for why we’d need a babysitter to watch our kids instead of his parents (who would be showing up to the surprise party), a lie to hide his extended family who were flying into town for the party, lies about why we’d need to take a short detour for a photo-op so that we wouldn’t get to the party before his parents, etc..
Again, how this remained a surprise is BEYOND me! And all I could think about was the moment he walked in to see the look on his face as he realized that this night was going to be alllllll about him. And it totally happened like I imagined it! He had NO CLUE, first looked super confused, then quickly broke out into the biggest grin ever. Priceless moment worth all the effort!! A HUGE thank you to my brother Spencer for snapping photos all night long.
(Aaron’s family minus 1 sister)
Aaron’s FAVORITE food is Texas BBQ. His birthday meal request is always Hutchin’s BBQ located here in Mckinney, TX. We are die-hard fans, y’all! We’ve been to the top BBQ shops here in Dallas and we keep coming back to Hutchin’s. The sliced brisket, ribs, pulled pork, oh my! Best BBQ sauce ever. It’s all so delish! I highly recommend stopping by if you visit north Dallas. While the guests were waiting for Aaron to arrive, Hutchin’s served a few light appetizers including jalapeno cheddar sausage and Texas Twinkies (brisket stuffed jalapenos) that was bomb. For dinner, they served brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and jalapeno cheddar sausage, mac & cheese (Aaron’s fav), green beans, potato casserole, and broccoli salad, and their southern banana pudding. Since they provided all of their dinnerware and took care of serving, set up, and clean-up, everything went incredibly smooth. I highly recommend Hutchin’s BBQ for catering or an amazing meal!
Or roasts? Either way, Aaron’s father and brother shared the most hilarious and tear-filled speeches I’ve ever heard. I posted a few of clips to THIS POST on my instagram feed (swipe right to watch!). They know Aaron too well and offered everyone attending a deeper insight into who he is and how far he’s come. I mean, with Aaron being nearly expelled from Joy School when he was 4 years old, this graduation is quite the accomplishment. This was by far the most special part of the evening.
It ain’t a party for Aaron if there’s not cookies! His favorite treat is warm chocolate chip cookies. Having Tiff’s Treats come out to the event was an absolute no-brainer. They deliver hot, fresh, straight-from-the-oven cookies. They’re located alllllll over Texas, Atlanta, and Nashville and can be ordered for yourself or sent as a gift from their App (Android or IOS).
For Aaron’s birthday in April, I ordered a couple dozen cookies and milk to be delivered to him at school! He’s obsessed with them. I thought it would be a great idea to have a Tiffwich Party for dessert at his graduation party. It’s like an ice-cream sandwich on steroids. A team from Tiff’s Treats came out to serve their famous ice cream sandwiches while the guests danced the night away. I went with their delicious Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, M&M, White Chocolate & Almonds Cookies. We picked our favorite 2 cookies and Tiff’s Treats served them warm with a large frosty vanilla ice-cream scoop in between the cookies. It was DELISH!
As a yummy parting gift for guests, I picked their Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, and White Chocolate & Almonds cookies to be wrapped up in darling Mini Boxes. Tiff’s Treats wrapped the goodies in perfect boxes sporting his graduating colors. It was the best goodie bag for my handsome cookie-lover.
I scoured all the local Facebook groups for reviews and recommendations for fantastic DJ/MC’s. I wanted someone that wasn’t dry, cheesy, or crude. I was told a great DJ is someone you’d want to sit next to at a party. I saw fantastic things being said about LeForce Entertainment, especially about DJ Nate Nelson. I logged on to LeForce’s website and watched a few of the DJ’s interviews and it was great to see each personality shine through as they shared their style and what they would bring to the table for my event (click HERE for his interview clip–exactly what I was seeking!). Le Force Entertainment was extremely professional and thorough in finding out what details I needed in order to make our night the perfect celebration! Nate arrived early in the day to set-up and make sure sounds was perfect. He was friendly, easy-going, and kept the night running smoothly. Nate even had Aaron and I take the wheel and have a go at mixing songs. YOU GUYS!!! If you’ve never done it, do it. I slipped the headphones on and he told me when the beat dropped to press a specific button. I did it and it sounded UH-MAZING and I felt so cool! haha . I highly recommend Le Force Entertainment and DJ Nate Nelson for a hoppin’ party!
The Manhattan Orchestra was hands-down the COOLEST! The singers were unbelievably talented and high energy for the entire evening! The live music truly added a bonus WOW factor to the night! They created a unique party atmosphere that kept us out of our seats all night long. I whole-heartedly believe the music can make or break a celebration and this band was the heart and soul of our excitement. I’m not exaggerating when I say that nearly every guest came up to me to ask where this band came from! They were all blown away by how talented everyone was. I hired the Manhattan Orchestra from Manhattan Party band – 9 Piece includes 1 Female Vocalist, 1 Male Vocalist, 3 Brass Horns, Drums, Guitar, Bass, and Keyboard. It was so fun to watch the brass pieces come off stage to dance and perform! The guitarist went wild on a solo! The vocalists killed their songs. It was simply unforgettable!
So thankful for our friends & family who joined us in celebrating Aaron’s journey this evening!