Party local woman threw for mom was just full of surprises
The owner of a popular local events venue threw not only a surprise 60th birthday party, but also a surprise wedding reception for her mom and her mom’s partner of 30 years whose wedding itself was a surprise.
Lacy Hodges, owner of Gathering Oaks Retreat in Crawford, said the timing to shock her mom, Alane Blake, was perfect.
"The timing worked out perfect for it to be a combination event," Hodges said.
"She's my mom and she's the queen of surprises so it was a lot of fun to get her."
Alane and James Pickard, who live in Granbury, have been together for three decades and engaged for the last five, but have always been a bit "untraditional" Lacy says.
Between unexpected health issues and the stress associated with planning a wedding, the day looked like it would never come.
Unbeknown to the family, the couple quietly tied the knot last summer at the courthouse but were waiting for the perfect time to gather their closest friends and relatives to share the long-awaited news.
James, who Lacy says has been there for her throughout her life, let Lacy in on the secret back in November and Lacy went to work.
"James raised me like his own daughter and my mom would give you the shirt off her back," Lacy said.
"They are salt of the earth people and deserved something really special. When my stepdad told me that they got married, we decided on the dual surprise because her 60th birthday was coming up."
Surprising a woman known for being the one behind surprising others was anything but easy.
Lacy sent a fake invitation to her mom, which claimed the local advocacy center, which the Hodges support, was holding a "Winter White Gala" at their venue in Crawford for which guests were encouraged to wear white.
Lacy then sent invitations to 65 others for a surprise birthday party but didn't share the news that the party would double as a wedding reception, or that the couple was even married.
The plan went off without a hitch as Lacy's mom walked through the venue's front doors in a beautiful white dress.
"My mom picked the perfect dress," Lacy said.
"I could not have picked anything more perfect."
The crowd yelled "surprise" as Alane walked in, but little did the birthday girl know she would soon be the bride, too.
When James took the microphone for a birthday speech, he let the crowd in on the next secret.
"We went to Granbury, to the county clerk's office of June 2019, and we got married," he said. "We got married!"
The crowd erupted into cheers as Alane's granddaughters made their way to the microphone with heartfelt words that left no one in the room with a dry eye.
"I love you!" 11-year old Layla Hodges said through tears. "You are so hard working and would do anything for not just me but anyone in this room. You are special. I can't even put in it words. I love you."
Her younger sister, Lily followed.
"It's really time we do something for you," she said. "You're the best Bit Bit in the world."
The couple enjoyed a bride and groom's cake as well as a first dance.
The happy couple will reside in Granbury, we're they've lived together the past 25 years.