This weekend, I hosted a bridal shower for a dear friend. I chose a cherry blossom theme, and it turned out to be the perfect choice, for a lot of reasons. Here are some pictures from the shower and a few tips and tricks to make your next celebration a little more special.
Pick a Theme
The cherry blossom theme was kind of an accident, but a happy one. When I was looking for invites, I found one with white cherry blossoms and I liked the colors on it. After I ordered them I thought "Hey, this has to be my theme!" I already owned a lot of Asian home accessories, and I immediately knew I could create a beautiful party with this theme.
So that's tip #1: When picking a theme/color scheme, think about the decorative accessories you already own and the colors already present in your home:
In this case, I already owned the vase, Buddha, and fan. I just had to get some faux cherry blossoms to make the display complete. And see all that greenery out the window? It's bamboo. Perfect.
Here's a wider shot of the table. As you can see, my dining room is already filled with shades of green. So green became the primary shade in my color scheme, with accents of pink, white, and yellow.
Here are a few more photos of the party decor:
Again, all I did here was add the cherry blossoms and a fan.
I beautified my balcony by adding the irises (not in the color scheme, but I couldn't resist):
Finally, I added silk fans to the flower pots I already had on the balcony (filled with blossoms from the 99 cent store):
Make Your Own Linens
Once my theme and color scheme were set, I knew exactly how I wanted my tables to look, and I knew I was going to make them myself. I measured my tables and went directly to the sale section of my local fabric store. Here, I chose luxe fabrics on clearance and some no-sew fusible fabric tape. Of the green material alone, I was able to make two table runners and at least one pillow cover for about $24.
Limit the Games
Or perhaps I should call this "Know Your Crowd." I knew the group I'd invited wasn't the type to go in for a lot of cheesy shower games, so I picked one game, and one "activity."
When my guests arrived, I gave them each a "diamond" ring and told them the word of the day was "WEDDING." If you were caught by another guest saying the word "wedding" you had to give them all your rings. The guest with the most rings got a prize, which was in this case the DVD of "The Time Traveler's Wife."
See those fans next to the bowl of rings? Those were the party favors. I bought some inexpensive silk fans in the bridal section of Michaels and tied ribbons around the bottom.
The second thing I asked my guests to do was write advice or wishes for the bride on cards:
I bought a few decorative pens and some stickers and told the guests to write their wishes for the bride on the cards, decorate them, and put them into the glass vase. This turned out to be my favorite part of the shower, and it even made the bride cry! People wrote some beautiful, funny, touching things and the bride will be sure to hold them as keepsakes.
As for the vase of cherry blossoms, I simply cut the blossoms off of my faux stems and filled it up. I also added ribbons to the bases of each vase. Very simple, but very pretty.
Besides the bride, the food and drinks were the star of this party. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the food table (which was the table with the Buddha on it). Duh. But here is the dessert table (which was actually a bookcase):
In keeping with my Asian theme, I hand dipped fortune cookies in chocolate and sprinkles. Very easy and I loved the way they turned out.
I also made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting that everybody loved. Not exactly Asian, but yummy, and that's what counts.
To make things easier on myself, I laid out all the glasses in advance and told guests drinks were self-serve. I simplified this by having one choice in alcoholic beverages, mimosas, and set out a bucket with champagne, a cooler with more champagne and a pitcher of fresh orange juice. The non-alcoholic drinks were in a plastic tub on the balcony for easy access.
I laid out all of the food in advance to minimize guests congregating in the kitchen. As a hostess, I find a crowded kitchen really hard to deal with A) because it's usually a mess after I've prepared everything and B) I want it clear so I can easily access anything I need to once the party starts. I know a lot of hosts enjoy people in the kitchen as they prepare party food, but I am not that person.
Laying glasses, utensils, food, etc. in advance means less questions from guests and helps them feel more at home when everything they need is right in front of them. It also helps to keep me sane, as I tend to get flustered when too much is going on at once.
And that, my pretties, is the way to throw a kick-ass bridal shower without breaking the bank. Now I'm looking forward to the Vegas bachelorette party and of course, the wedding!