Monday, April 15, 2013

A Wedding Wishes Bridal Shower

Last week, I had the pleasure of a hosting a bridal shower for my friend Shirin. She is getting married to Osher this summer and I am super excited to be a bridesmaid in the wedding. And I was pretty excited to throw this party.

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{Shirin and four of the six bridesmaids: left-to-right, Maor, Arille, Shirin, Megan, and me}

Since I host a party like once every five years, I like to make the most of the party planning opportunity. And wanted to share it so I took a lot of pictures! Mainly because my mom keeps asking for pictures of everything.

More often than not when I see pictures of parties, I think “Wow, it looks like Pinterest exploded all over this event.” Which is fine. Pinterest serves its purpose but it is just too easy to fall down the DIY rabbit hole once you start pinning. So I actively avoided looking at Pinterest when I was brainstorming for this party. (In all fairness, avoiding Pinterest was not that hard; I feel like I barely use the site anymore anyway.) So I just used my imagination and some things I had clipped from magazines years ago.

When I plan things, I general pick an object to plan things around. This object then becomes something upon which to build the invites, the decorations, and really the entire theme of the party. When I started thinking of the party I wanted it to be an afternoon of wedding wishes. And the saying "when you wish upon a star" came into mind. So a star became the thread that I tied everything in the party together with. And the color scheme was a blue and purple ombre that came directly from the wedding color scheme mood board Shirin gave me to use while shopping for a bridesmaid dress. (Really the decor came down to "How much can I do with a stack of blue and purple card stock?" Turns out, a lot.) 

The decorations were tall vertical invites made with Paper Source Gravel paper (A message to Paper Source, by the way, it is time to start introducing some new colors. I think I have used them all and am getting tired of them.) The stars are heat embossed. 

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I held the party in the party room of my building. They remodeled this room a few years ago and I had not been in there since but it is a truly gorgeous room.

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{A pre-party panoramic shot of like 50% of the space.}

And huge. And nothing could be taped or tacked to the walls. These were a few of the  challenges when it came to planning the decor. But I started thinking about parties I have attended, specifically showers, and used that knowledge in my planning. The first "stop" in the room was where guest could drop off their gifts.

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And later Shirin sat in the designated Bride chair to open her gifts. I made a little gift log clipboard for the gift opening time. Because inevitably at a shower, there is the scramble to find something to write the gifts down on.

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The next "stop" in the room was the Sweet Wedding Wishes table.

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Here is where guests filled out little wish cards filled with advice for Shirin and dropped them in the jar. It ended up being a great activity while we waited for all of the guests to arrive. 

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The pencils are just golf pencils that I rolled in tissue paper and tied with a bow. Do people still use golf pencils? Or is it all electronic? 

The beverage table was next.

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I pondered what else to serve. Do people still make and/or drink punch at parties? I have no clue. So I made a strawberry-infused lemonade. It was delicious!

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Despite my attempt not to use Pinterest when planning, I discovered that all of the prior Pinterest browsing and whatnot dominates my party planning mentality because why else would have I have stared at the bottles of water on Saturday night and thought, “Oh my gosh, it IS really going to bother me that these do not have personalized labels.” And then pulled together some labels. 

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In my head, the food table was going to be the focal point of the decor. And I wanted a glorious back drop to it. I brainstormed and stressed about this thing more than any other detail of the party. As such, this will likely remain my only foray into building something ever. But using three dowels, fishing line, ribbon, tiny clothespins, some vases, and enough paper stars to have me seeing stars, the backdrop came to life. 

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It probably could have used a few more stars but I think it worked just fine!

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When it comes to party food tables, I definitely roll my eyes when every item on the table is labeled. I get it, it looks cute. But do Goldfish crackers really need to be properly identified? Because I have seen that and I am sorry, unless your guest list includes creatures from Mars, every thing does not need to be individually identified. And even then, I bet they have Goldfish on Mars. But where I struggle with this is with baked goods because sometimes they have flavors in them that are not easily identified by looking. And as host, you cannot hover over the table explaining everything. So I decided I could live with myself if I made a menu card. Yes, it contains the words "fruit salad" and I died a little bit of Captain Obvious Syndrome when I typed it.

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A party is not the time to bust out the experimental recipes. Nope, that just ends with flour and tears on a tight baking deadline. I stuck to the tried-and-trues. And I went with all sweets because that is what I know.  I found food coloring to match the blue and purple ombre look and incorporated it as much as possible along with a few stars.

What I ended up choosing to make included:

Chocolate cupcakes with mint buttercream (I used the shape cutout technique from this {post} by Glorious Treats.)

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Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream

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Mini cheesecakes with an Oreo Cookie crust

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Mixed Berry Mini Pies

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Fruit Salad (Oddly enough, this was the one thing I was hoping there would be leftovers off. There was not. Luckily, I predicted this would be the case and saved myself a dish of it when I made it.)

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The cake was a chocolate and vanilla layer cake, frosted in vanilla buttercream. The top is colored shaved white chocolate that is sprinkled in the ombre pattern found throughout the party. When I finished the cake, I was not completely in love with it. It looked great from an aerial view but I realized it needed some height and detail to the top. So I used two kabob skewers, ribbon, and some tiny paper stars to give it a little oomph. And I gave it my seal of approval.

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And Shirin gave it her seal of approval when she practiced her wedding cake cutting skills.

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I was going through my pictures from the party and saw this one. Apparently, I was really excited about the plastic forks and wanted to make sure they would be remembered for forever.

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After I had baked and frosted all of the treats, I looked at everything and realized I successfully created a menu that was certain to dye everyone’s mouths blue. You know, like when there is retirement party at work with the requisite sheet cake with blue frosting and everyone leaves the conference room looking like Cookie Monster.  So I picked up some cleansing water that the Sephora staff assured me would remove any blueness from the lips and set up a little blue frosting removal station.

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At the center of the room were the tables. I hate disposable table clothes and only use them when absolutely necessary. So for these tables, I just used Paper Source wrapping paper. It is a thicker paper and you can easily cut to size.


The center pieces were stacks of card stock with tulips from Whole Foods in Mason jars (Pinterest brainwashing strikes again! But I have a ton of these jars and when it comes to vases, it is the cheapest way to create many floral arrangements.). Each vase also had a fun fact about Shirin and Osher atop a kebob skewer (If I were to ever become a DIY blogger, my blog theme would be "A thousand things to do with kebob skewer.")

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I really do not like to overplan activities at showers because I have discovered that it is the unplanned chit chat and story telling at these parties that ends up being the most fun. But I knew I had to put together a few games. Super cheesy shower games make me really uncomfortable. I have to force myself not to cringe. So please do not ever make me have to sniff a melted candy bar in a diaper at a baby shower because inside I am dying. So when it came to picking games, I went with non-cheesy yet hopefully fun games. The first was He Says/She Says where I had Shirin and Osher provide answers to the same questions and the guests had to guess who said what. If they thought Shirin said it, they circled the high heel; if Osh, the sneaker because fun fact, Osher collects sneakers. That he never wears.  

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For the second game, I went with a Mad Libs piece of wedding advice. I love Mad Libs and the final pieces of advice that the tables ended up with were really cute and funny. 

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I am often torn when it comes to party favors. When did they become the norm? If you think about it, it is kind of weird to give gifts to party guests. But I feel like they have become a social convention so I made some.

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And if you EVER need to make favor bags, I highly encourage use to use this freezer paper stencil/acrylic paint method from Martha Stewart. I know, I saw it in her magazine and thought, "Of course it LOOKS easy but everything Martha does looks easy until you try it." But I can testify to how easy these were to make. I made 30 of them in under an hour.

In each of the treat bags, I placed a sugar cookie that replicated the design of the star on the invitations.

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And just like that, the party was over. I think everyone had a good time. I had a blast planning it and pulling all of the details together. I loved taking a moment before the party to take it at all in.

And at the end of it all, as I stood in the party room all by myself, wiping down the tables in my party dress and drybar hair, a wave of exhaustion hit me as it often does at the end of a major event.

Naturally, I fought it off by diving into the leftover cake box with fork. 


  1. Everything looks wonderful! You did such an amazing job girl and Shirin looks gorgeous and so happy!

  2. Um, this shower is AMAZING!

    Your star backdrop is absolutely beautiful. I think I need a tutorial. Seriously.

    Also, can I come snack on the leftovers? Cause they look pretty dang amazing.

  3. That is simply amazing. I would have loved to attend but seeing the pictures is almost as good!!! Nicely done!

  4. It was amazing!!!! I loved every minute of it!!!!!

  5. Rebecca, this is so wonderful! No wonder you only throw a party every 4 years, it probably takes you that longer to recover from the last one! So much effort went into this, your friend is very lucky! I absolutely adored the colour scheme, and those hanging stars looked amazing! I loved the addition of the blue frosting remover table! how clever! and all the treats looked and sounded so delish! Well done!!