Ten years is a long time, right? That’s how long my husband DJ and I have been together! We were high school students when we met at a party! I was crushing on my friend’s neighbor at the time, even though he kind of seemed like a jerk. As soon as I met DJ, I couldn’t get enough of him. I still can’t! We dated all through high school, each went away to college (and then each dropped out, lol!), lived in a crazy apartment with friends, lived with his parents, got our own place, moved away from our hometown, and here we are!
When we decided to get married, we didn’t have the resources for the huge wedding that our families were trying to push us into having. So, we eloped. We had a great wedding and honeymoon, and kicked off our marriage with just us two. When DJ and I made our decision to elope, it was bittersweet. While we knew we were making the right choice for us, it was hard knowing we wouldn’t get to celebrate with everyone. But it was actually really fitting, looking back. Together, DJ and I are a powerful team. At times, it has seemed like our plans or achievements have been alienating to others. We are not afraid to do things differently or forgo things that other people might consider essential in order to do whatever we’ve set our minds to. So, we skipped the ‘big wedding’, and promised ourselves that we’d throw a ten year anniversary celebration instead.
We didn’t think ten years would come so soon, but did it ever! When we realized that this was the year and that we had to start planning, it seemed like an overwhelming task. We love planning parties, but trying to plan a wedding was extremely hard work. Before deciding to elope, DJ and I had planned at least three different weddings before getting our ideas shot down by our families each time. So, I think those memories came back to haunt us at first. Once we started planning, we realized this anniversary party would be so much easier. Right off the bat, we were able to slash two huge costs – the venue charge and the catering costs. Not to mention wedding dresses and all the other bridal stuff.
So this past weekend, we celebrated. It was a great time, we loved seeing everyone who could make it, and the party was totally us – exactly what we planned, exactly within our reach, exactly our style. I’m usually a very stressed out person in general, but even I had a great time! There were definitely some worries beforehand about the weather, when we saw there was a flash flood predicted for Saturday night, but everything worked out. No rain, just a little chilly and windy.
A couple weekends before, we hung some string lights up in the backyard. We’ve had a bunch up for the past year, but wanted to add some more and found them super cheap off season. We rented tables and chairs from a local vendor, and ordered floral bunches from ShopRite to fill canning jars we had in the attic. Both our families helped us set up, which was a godsend. We were more thankful than ever for our huge lawn, and set up corn hole, ladderball, washers, and pong. Later on we had a fire and smores.
DJ brewed two batches of beer for the party, which were in high demand! We rented a bar to display all the beverages in one spot, which included lemonade, iced tea, water, and way too many bottles of wine. I catered the party myself, which saved us at least $1,000. Some people thought I was crazy to attempt that, but it wasn’t very difficult at all, even in my tiny kitchen! I decided on a menu of things that reheat well, then tried the recipes ahead of time and got all the ingredients. Then I cooked the chicken the weekend before and froze it in catering pans. Then we just made sides on Thursday, reheated chicken and grilled pork on Friday, and finished things up on Saturday. My mom made deviled eggs (which are the best deviled eggs ever!!), and an amazing carrot cake. Most of the desserts were from Costco, but we taste tested them ahead of time to make sure they were delicious. We went with a French/European theme for the food. I never end up eating dinner at my own parties (awful habit!), but heard several times that it was good. We loved the chicken recipe I found – if you’re ever in the mood for melt in your mouth mustard chicken, check this recipe out!
Our party was also a great way to get our family introduced to our newest family member, Sierra! We adopted our sweet rescue doggie two weeks ago. After looking all over for a golden retriever rescue this spring, we actually gave up looking until next year. But, then we found Sierra on Justice Rescue’s facebook page! We had already been approved to adopt there, so Sierra was our gal! The timing wasn’t ideal, but we couldn’t not adopt her. As soon as we met Sierra, DJ and I fell in love. She’s doing a great job adjusting to our house, and she had a great time at our party!!