10 July 2012

DIY: bridal shower

As I said yesterday, my friend and I hosted a bridal shower at Casa P in Nashville for another dear friend shortly before we moved away. It was an intimate gathering (code for “many of our graduate school friends had already moved away”) but we had quite a lovely time! Because a lot of it was DIY, I thought I’d share our tips and tricks for a fun bridal shower.

First item of DIY: the invitations! Our bride’s favorite color is purple (as a Northwestern alum, no wonder), and she was planning to have zinnias as her wedding flowers. After a cursory google search, I found this invitation which had a zinnia design I really liked. In the DIY spirit, I used it as inspiration for my friend:

The zinnia design itself was something I freehanded in Illustrator to create my own vector art based on hers (so FREE!), but I don’t want to distribute it freely (so as not to detract from the original creator). If you’re interested and can’t make your own, try contacting that Etsy seller!

After I drew up the design, I printed them out on the best paper for invitations: matte white double-sided photo paper. I cut them with my trusty-dusty paper cutter that got me through many a wedding DIY project:

Pro tip: when using a crafty paper cutter like that, place a plain piece of typing paper under the “important” paper where the blade is cutting. It gives a perfectly clean, professional edge!

After picking up a box of invitation envelopes from Target, we were good to go! Total invitation cost: about $10 for supplies and $10 for postage for 100% customized invitations. I know! Hopefully they didn’t scream “DIY” to anyone, because I think they turned out nicely.

Now for décor. As I said, the bride has a thing for purple, so we wanted to incorporate purple into the décor as much as possible. One obvious way was with the flowers, which were arranged by none other than the co-hostess! She has a marvelous trick of buying a bunch or two of mixed bouquets at Costco, then distributing them and re-arranging into custom bouquets in our own vases. With two large bunches of flowers she was able to create one gorgeous large bouquet:

Plus two smaller bouquets (I forgot to take a photo of one):

One went on the mantle, and the other went on the entryway console, for a pop of purple everywhere you looked – and for a grand total of $30!

Another way we incorporated purple was in the table setting. Now, if you’ve been with me for awhile, dear reader, you might have noticed... I don’t have a lot of purple around our house. Actually... none. I didn’t go to Northwestern, what can I say?

So after a bit of brainstorming, I realized I had a purple scarf hanging in my closet that could easily double as a table runner. Add an white tablecloth, white and crystal dishes, and a pack of purple paper napkins (from my favorite store H to the L, what up!), and we were in business:

I also used a few of the purple napkins, as well as a few sheets of purple tissue paper (purchased to wrap gifts that were sent to the house for her unwrapped) to make some purple tissue paper flowers to tie on the mailbox! I forgot to take a photo of them, but if you’re looking for a similar tutorial, here is the one I used.

And finally, I realized later that I even had purple tapered candles for the food table... from stocking up for Advent wreaths!

As for food, we kept it simple with a spinach salad, tea sandwiches, sushi (a favorite of the bride), fruit tarts, and the chocolate tarts I described yesterday. We also had a platter on the coffee table (again, no good photos!) of grapes and crackers, and I used our nice wooden cutting board to create a cheese platter – gouda and goat cheese from the actual deli, cheddar and pepper jack from the pre-packaged section for a nice high/low selection.

Oh, and drinks! We served a simple fizzy fruit punch and water from pitchers, and – my favorite part – champagne, with a raspberry in each glass! On the whole, we didn’t save a ton of money on food versus having a catered lunch in a restaurant, but we all preferred that we could customize exactly what we liked and have a comfortable, “homey” atmosphere. It was much more pleasant that way, especially for the ten-week-old baby that we invited along with her mom!

Finally, a good shower needs a few games, right? As our friend is a classy lady, we weren’t about to wrap her up in a toilet paper wedding dress. We kept it civil with two questionnaire-type “games” instead. First, after food but before the gifts, we did a how-well-do-you-know-the-bride game (designed in Word and printed out by yours truly):

The questions were half about our friend, and half about her and her fiancé’s relationship (those are cut off from the image above), and mostly were pulled from my very own bridal shower! The twist, though, was that I secretly asked the groom to answer the questions as well – and the bride had to fill in her best guesses to how he answered! Fortunately, all their answers matched. We already knew they were meant for each other, but that clinched it.

The other “game” was the last activity: advice for the bride.

The nice thing about this questionnaire was that it creates good conversation for the guests and bride – and lends a lot of insight into the marriages of some long-time-wives that we had at the shower (over thirty years!)

As I said, we really had a lovely afternoon with our friend and the guests, which made it more than worth all the DIY effort we put in to it. Hostessing a bridal shower is truly an honor, and I was thrilled that our labor of love resulted in a gracious and fun party for our dear friend!


Laura said...

You have no idea how glad I am that I just stumbled on this, and how much I'm wishing I stumbled on this, say, when you wrote it. LOVE these invites! LOVE!