Now that we live in a world blessed with Pinterest and Instagram, party hosting is serious business. From the plethora of ideas, inspirations and DIYs to filter frenzied sharing—start to finish, your plans can easily be influenced by lots and lots of people. Which is not a bad thing! Three cheers for idea sharing. But wow, can’t it be overwhelming!?
I recently planned a bridal shower for my best friend—from 500 miles away! Here are a few tips for how to throw a lovely shower perfect for your bride.
Enlist help: This is not only for you distance planners out there. A good amount of work goes into hosting a beautiful party. Odds are your bride has numerous wonderful ladies who would like to share the love and pitch in. Just ask! My mom and three sisters—the real MVPs of this party planning crew.
Set a theme (for your bride): For the big picture, we chose to host a kitchen shower. One, because there are always plenty of kitchen items registered. And two, because the bride and groom are MAJOR foodies. Your go-to “if I wanna try this type of food, where should I go?” couple. Beyond that, Maria is an incredible cook. Basically, a food whisperer.
The theme centered around this quote from the iconic Julia Child: “People who love to eat are always the best people.” We made a banner for the front hall that greeted guests with the cheery saying. It was also foil stamped on cocktail napkins used on the bar, dessert table and in party favors!
Be specific about the details: The best way to cut out the noise on Pinterest is to (again) think of your bride specifically, and not be lead down the glitter-lined black hole of all things pretty. Seriously, if you’re like me, it is so so easy to cuddle up with Pinterest, a checklist and a cup of tea and then find yourself planning your own fictional party in just 15 well-intentioned minutes. Oops.
Food & Drink
I really wanted the food to be delicious and unique, as Maria is a total food lover. Held over the ever-adored brunch hour, we offered Zucchini & Prosciutto Quiche; Goat Cheese, Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche; Asparagus Gruyere Tart; a variety of scones; and fresh fruit.
We set up a Bloody Mary bar, perfect for the stuffed-olive-loving bride. For guests who preferred sweet over savory, a beautiful Rosè Punch balanced the bar. And of course, for a non-alcoholic option, we offered two different infused waters. Plus, the old-fashioned stuff. A total crowd favorite, we added personalized cocktail napkins to each drink station.
Dessert was a smattering of goodies: nutmeg spice cupcakes (a special family recipe), brownies (no shame in that box mix) and absolutely gorgeous cookies made by a Nashville local business, The Chestnut Hill Bakery.
While you don’t want your color palette and decor to be an exact replica of the upcoming wedding, this is a great place to start for identifying the couple’s taste. Maria and Kyle are going with black and white, accented by lots of natural greenery and herbal influences. We decided to embellish this a little, keeping the natural greens and herbs and adding a touch of mint and watercolor. As you can see in our personalized napkins!
Fusing the natural trend with our kitchen theme, we used a mixture of white flowers, eucalyptus and a variety of greenery from my mom’s garden for florals. As the main centerpieces, we arranged bouquets in KitchenAid mixers. Yes, the idea was from Pinterest. And yes, they were totally adorable.
Probably my greatest pride of the day was the garland I pieced together for above the bar. Accenting a hand-lettered watercolor banner, the garland was the perfect natural touch with just the right amount of trend.
While shower games are definitely common, Maria isn’t a huge fan. To please the bride, but still add a little healthy competition to the day (people love prizes) we set up a “The Price Is Right!” table. While guests milled about, they took a few moments to write down their best estimates for the assortment of kitchen items set out—all of which Maria got to take home. Later in the party, we took a few moments to announce the winner and award a small hostess gift. It was a great way to add a traditional shower game while not disrupting the flow of the party.
Now, you’ve put in the time and effort to celebrate and love your bride-to-be. You’ll want to send guests home with something to remember it by! Keep that theme rolling. We put together a little gift set for each guest. A flour sack kitchen towel (s/o Sam’s Club), three recipes the bride enjoys making, and a sample of the watercolor cocktail napkins that were used during the shower. We then topped it all off with a sprig of rosemary, which has sentimental value to the bride.
When guests received their invitation to the shower, they also received blank recipe cards and were asked to fill them out with recipes they’d like to share with the bride. Giving each guest a few of Maria’s recipes felt like the perfect send off!
Whatever you choose, simply think of your bride. She’s sure to appreciate it. Congrats, Re! Love ya, sis.