Suspense novelist Clipper LaMotte recently celebrated a milestone birthday. To mark the occasion, his family and friends decided to create some suspense of their own — and surprise the author with a birthday bash on the site of his charming Pennsylvania horse farm!
Hiding preparations for the event from this master of mystery was no easy feat. Clipper’s sons Bo and Michael LaMotte, daughter Hilary LaMotte-Burke and sweetheart Nita Greer took on the task, which included secretly arranging travel for guests from near, (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and Connecticut) and far, (California, Kansas, Texas, Illinois, Colorado and Washington state).
According to Nita Greer, a spreadsheet created by Bo, which assigned various projects, kept everyone on task. Without it, she said, they would have been lost!
The subterfuge was further complicated by timing, as there was only an hour and a half to set-up on the day of the party. Luckily, kind neighbors allowed the conspirators to hide bulky items such as tables, sodas, and cases of water prior to the event.
On party day, with Clipper safely away from the scene, the party hosts kicked it into high gear. Out-of-town guests awaited at various nearby locations for the signal that the coast was clear before quickly descending on the scene to carry out their assigned tasks.
Since the setting itself was already magical, with a historic house and stone barn, wide vistas of Chester County horse country, and beautiful mature trees, the décor was intentionally kept simple.
Led by exceptional designer (and daughter-in-law) Beth LaMotte of Southern Manner Antiques and Design, fanciful floral arrangements were created on site using a mix of seasonal flowers and foliage such as lush hydrangeas, shiny hosta leaves and local English ivy, as well as whimsical touches including bunches of green grapes and Granny Smith apples, straight from the grocer!
The single long dining table was set on the lawn under the trees. The natural greens of the arrangements and linens were set off to perfection by white – and lots of it. White tablecloths, white chairs and twinkling white lights created an Instagram-worthy, cohesive look. The result was a setting in Tuscany.
With the scene set, guests began to arrive… and not a moment too soon! While three generations of family and friends waited silently, the author was blindfolded and escorted around the corner of the house to a wonderful surprise and celebration.
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PHOTO: Original photos provided by Clipper LaMotte. Not for reuse, reproduction or distribution without prior authorization.
DISCLAIMER: No financial compensation was received in exchange for this post. I did, however, receive a copy of Necessary Vengeance! by Clipper LaMotte. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I believe will be beneficial for my readers.
Susan Said…WHAT?! was named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone.com and has been your guide to a life filled with style since 2009. Inside, you’ll find everything from must-have fashion and accessories, to gorgeous gardens, stunning interiors, plus the latest products for parties, weddings, and events of all kinds. In addition to editing Susan Said… WHAT?!, Susan Conforte McNeill is an author, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!