I promised this post over a week ago, but I’m finally getting it perfect. Thanks for waiting.
When Kelly and I talked about her bridal shower, I was hoping she’d say fiesta. I had this vision.
Sophisticated Mexicana / girly fiesta / whites & neutrals with pops of cobalt / everything we’d dreamed of growing up with a mature flair and the edginess of matrimony.
So my mom, sister and I set out to give Kelly the shower of her dreams. We planned an afternoon affair, as to avoid the traditional-ness of a brunch, on a day we could sip cocktails and celebrate the bride to be, then have the men meet us at the house for the after party.
We showered the bride with gifts, laughs, tears and love, and the fiesta went off without a hinge. I hope it was a day she will forever remember, as it was a day I will surely never forget.
My mom and I didn’t hold back when it came to the details of this shower. My parents couldn’t have a prettier backyard for the setting, so it was an easy backdrop to come in and dress up. From the beginning I had this vision of a traditional fiesta theme with a rustic, feminine feel. In the end, I think we were able to execute the vision. The colors consisted of whites and neutrals with a primary pop of cobalt blue and a secondary pop of magenta. I was adamant about having vintage blue goblets on the table for water, and then the terracotta cups for margs. You would not believe how many hours I spent scouring the Internet and thrift stores to build a substantial collection of blue gobs. But then again, maybe you would.
Instead of traditional seating, and given the time of the shower, we decided to use picnic tables for our seating. We ended up borrowing a table and buying three more. With the help of my dad, brother and boyfriend, we were able to stain and assemble the three, and they were perfect.
I gathered Bougainvillea from pretty much all over San Diego. Its been in bloom, so it was the perfect time for a scavenger hunt. It doesn’t last long outside of water, which I quickly learned, but we made do.
For place settings we used round white dishes layered with a bamboo fan, vintage linens and a sprig of Bougainvillea, then filled the table with blue and crystal goblets and beautiful floral centerpieces. Here are the details:
- Watercolor Dipped Place Cards – This was probably my biggest regret. One of the things my mom was most excited for were the paper/written details throughout the shower. After designing the invitation, I wanted to create something personalized for guests to bring home. Though we spent countless hours on these beauties, we decided we didn’t want to orchestrate where people sat, and day-of it was so windy they would have blown away on the tables. Ultimately, they didn’t get used and I’m still not over it. DIY to follow, potentially.
- Papel Picado – I knew from day 1 I wanted to somehow incorporate these white, traditional paper banners. Because it rained the night before, we weren’t able to hang the papel picado early. We ended up hanging the banners from the arbor where we sat, even though I had originally bought enough to line the cafe lights that stretch most of the yard. They added such a delicate touch.
- Paper Stars – These stars remind me of the type of decor we had when we were younger. I ordered three different colors from the Paper Lantern Store; they always have really great deals.
- Kelly and I saw these terracotta cups at a restaurant in the Mission in San Francisco, and I knew I had to have them for the shower. The ONLY place I’ve been able to find them ended up being locally based, which made me love MexGrocer.com even more. Naturally, they were the talk of the party.
- My parents still have tons of barn wood scraps from their bedroom wall makeover, so we used a few pieces to paint signs for the party. We wanted this one to look like The Giving Tree.
We wanted the food to be delicious and easy. We had the best recommendation for a taco vendor, and he did not disappoint. But my favorite food element was the beautiful cake my talented friend Kaitlynn made. To note: She’s the head designer at Sweet Cheeks Baking Co, and also made Erik’s 30th bday cake. We just topped it with fresh flowers and decorated with donuts holes. Of course, it wouldn’t be a party if Kelly’s mom, Kit, didn’t bring her fabulous tasting and adorably decorated sugar cookies. We also had two signature margaritas, a Skinny and a Hibiscus. When I ordered the terracotta cups I stumbled upon a bag of Flor de Jamaica, which became the inspiration for the Hibiscus Margs. I found this recipe, and they turned out to be delicious.
Along with the tradition of gift opening and a game (I only insisted on the ‘Fiance Questions’ game, and for those Kelly answered incorrectly, she took a small shot of Rumchata in lieu of a piece of bubble gum), Kelly had the best idea. She requested that in the invitation we ask guests to bring a photo from their own wedding day to share with the rest of the group. We displayed them on a wooden frame and hung with clothespins and it definitely added to the charm. Also, we staged a photo booth by hanging a large drop cloth and strands of white and coffee-dyed linen. I feel like they’re so necessary these days. With the cutest props and a lot of Polaroids, it turned into the after party hit.
Tips & Recommendations
When it’s all said and done, no one wants to dwell on the weak points, especially when you put so much effort into such an event. But, showers are a huge production so I wanted to offer a few tips and suggestions from what we learned.
- Know your audience – At some point during the planning I became so concerned with Kelly having the best time, I forgot about the rest of the guests. I so adamantly wanted to stay away from a ‘stuffy shower’ that I now realize maybe some of the women wouldn’t have minded that as much as I thought. We planned to have cocktails, a photo booth, and plenty of time to unwind. What I didn’t realize is, all the guests hadn’t spent months preparing for the shower, and didn’t need to savor every moment the way that I needed to. I think there were parts of the shower that could have moved faster had we been more aware of the succession of events throughout the day.
- Don’t stress about the details, too much – I know this one sounds obvious, but I’m a details girl. One of the overwhelming reasons I love to throw parties is because of the details. I dream up an idea and I make it come to life. In this case, I wanted every detail to be perfect. I wanted to find 40 unique, vintage cobalt goblets to twinkle on the table. I wanted the yard to be filled with papel picado, stretching from one end to the other. As mentioned earlier, we spent hours making place cards that we didn’t end up using. Stick to a few key details that you know you can’t live without, and don’t let yourself go beyond those. The details are important, but the party goes on, with or without them.
- Get help – If your party is big enough (30+), it might make sense for you to hire someone (or if you have a very generous & willing friend) to help with the transitioning of the party. ie. clearing plates, putting away the food, starting the coffee when dessert is being served, refilling water and drinks, etc. It’s obviously not necessary to have a full staff on hand, but even an extra body will surely relieve the pressure. That way, you’re able to keep the party smoothly transitioning without long pauses or in-between time.
But those are just details, and I’m proud of what we created. Celebrating my beautiful best friend with family and loved ones was unforgettable. Her generous soul and gracious heart made all the honor ours to be able to host such a special day ♥
The beautiful bride