In January, I was thrilled to host a bridal shower celebration for my sister Nicole. As a theme party specialist (self-proclaimed), I was searching for the perfect theme that would fit my sister's style, be chic and still relaxed without feeling like a Party City nightmare. No shade - I've spent my share of time in the aisles of PC!
Because we were gearing up for a bachelorette party in Palm Springs, I thought it would be fun to play off of the desert theme, without playing on Southwest stereotypes. The idea of succulents, cacti and soft colors appealed to me so I landed on a Desert Blooms theme!
While I love designing invitations, sometimes I love browsing through the work of other artists to land on something fun! I found this pretty piece from Kate & Jane Designs. I mailed them in pretty cacti-colored envelopes, with white lettering and paired them with vintage fern postage stamps, sealing them with a little cacti washi tape!
VENUE & MENU
Living in Columbus, Ohio there are innumerable locally owned and operated businesses that would be perfect for a shower, and one in my neighborhood I absolutely adore is Bleu & Fig. Chef Brooke Kinsey is a genius with food and the master of all things brunch. Nicole and I are both crazy about Bloody Marys, so a bridal brunch was the order of the day! Brooke also owns an incredible space in Clintonville for events that I have fallen in love with. I love working with Brooke; she's a creative herself and very invested in the success of other women; perfect fit for my sis' and my values! And, her sister works there too. Gotta love it.
Brooke prepared an incredible menu: baked eggs with roasted peppers, Gournay cheese, Sungold tomatoes and caramelized onions, brown sugar candied bacon, fresh fruit and maple creme brulee french toast. It was delectable! A coffee and tea bar was overshadowed by the bartender who served up a Bloody Mary bar and mimosas!
We selected a seating arrangement that allowed our large party of 24 to all sit at one table, an homage to our Italian family style roots. It felt so much more intimate to be able to sit together, rather than at separate tables.
One of my favorite parts of planning an event is coming up with beautiful decorations that really amplify the spirit and atmosphere of the celebration. I recruited our mom to help me with the decorations on this one because I had some time-consuming projects up my sleeve this time around! I also suckered a couple of Nicole's bridesmaids into painting with me!
Nicole's bridesmaids Jackie and Sarrah were a big help on this one! We cut out chevron shapes with a punch and then used the colors of the shower to paint the pieces to match the event. Using double sided tape, we attached two pieces together on a piece of clear fishing wire about 2 inches apart. The garland dressed up the bar and a few other surfaces at the event!
My mom used the same paint colors from the garland to hand paint burlap for table runners. It made for a beautiful statement on the tables.
We used vases from the Dollar Tree with a combination of sand and blue rocks as planters for succulents. These were complimented by mercury glass containers and candles, and metal vases full of baby's breath from Bleu & Fig.
I hand stamped place cards with pink and green cacti and handlettered in a fun, whimsical style, each guest's name.
I used cacti washi tape and colorful cacti stickers on 4x6 paper, coupled with some whimsical lettering to make signage. The frames are cheap white stanchions from IKEA.
Having hosted a number of showers, I know that the most photo taking happens, for better of for worse, during present opening! I wanted there to be a backdrop of prettiness behind Nicole for gift opening. My mom, the trooper, took the vision that I had and made it even more incredible. She used embroidery hoops, ribbon and a lace pattern to make a dozen pretty dream catcher-like pieces. She made one large one out of burlap so that I could letter it with a pretty phrase as the center piece. We used a pipe and drape backdrop that I typically hang my Natterdoodle banner on at shows to keep the whole thing together. This also doubled as a beautiful backdrop for photos of Nicole and friends.
Our cousin Jenn couldn't make it to the shower and sent along a stunning arrangement from my favorite florist Rose Bredl that incorporated succulents and vibrant desert colors. Jenn has amazing taste as an event planner, so it was no surprise what she cooked up was gorgeous. I placed some fun arrows around it to show it off and it was front and center on the coffee table while Nicole opened gifts.
You may remember from the Palm Springs Before the Ring post, that my sister is not a big fan of organized, cheesy games. So instead of a litany of standard games, I arranged a few stations where friends could engage.
The first, was a large mobile that I made with the help of Sarrah and Jackie out of a large embroidery hoop, string, gold pony beads, white craft feathers and gold paint. Little tags and pens were available for guests to make wishes for the couple and hang them from the mobile.
To make thank you note writing a breeze, envelopes from the thank you notes were available for each guest to fill out with her address. All Nicole had to do was write the note, seal it up and send it on its way!
To entertain guests between present unwrappings, and to take all of the eyes off of the bride while she opened I also had a station to write down a favorite memory of Nicole. I read the anecdotes aloud while she unwrapped and she would guess the author. This also helped the guests from different chapters of Nicole's life to get to know one another throughout.
The biggest replacement for a game and a favor combined was a mini-workshop from Planthropy. Each girl learned to plant and care for succulents, while assembling her own mini garden. The results were beautiful and it was fun to work on something together that was easy, educational and had a stunning end result! As a small business, I love supporting other local businesses and Jessie from Planthropy is a great friend and creative to support!
My sister and I are close friends and I went along on her registry trips! Given that I'm familiar with all of the pretty and functional things that she chose, I wanted to go off on my own for a creative and thoughtful gift. My mom and I commissioned a watercolor artist in Columbus, Malia Carter of Deep Fried Freckles, to paint her dog Duck. Malia incorporated a gallery wall behind Duck featuring significant items for Nicole and her fiancee Frank including their initials, a map of Ohio with a heart over Cincinnati, helmets from the Browns and Bengals and a painting of Santorini, one of their favorite vacations. The result is stunning and Nicole was so surprised. She has already hung up the painting, fittingly, above the spot where Duck's bed resides!
After the event, we'd had so much fun that everyone came over to my house for drinks and snacks and the party continued into the night! Celebrating is something I really value, but getting to do something that honors my sister and Frank was truly special! What else would you have added to our Desert Blooms Shower?