Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Fall in Love" Themed Bridal Shower - Part 2

The "Fall in Love" themed bridal shower I planned last weekend was full of little touches that all tied in the look and feel.  I used burlap and gingham fabric wherever possible, and I also found the most perfect gingham-patterned ribbon for the "little stuff."  When it comes to events, the little stuff is just as important as the big stuff and it often gets overlooked. 

For example, in order to alleviate the homeowner (in this case, the bride's grandmother) from having to do dishes, I purchased "upscale" plates and silverware from Costco.  Instead of just putting the fork, knives and napkins loosely in a basket and making everyone fish out what they needed, I individually wrapped the silverware sets and tied it off with that perfect ribbon.  It made such a difference!



The GAME:

While some bridal shower games can be downright cheesy (Bridal Bingo - no thank you), I have found a few tried and true games that are always a big hit.  This game, in particular, is all-inclusive and requires the guests to pay attention to the bride so it's ideal to play it right before she begins opening her gifts.

We called the game "Fall in Love... with Shannon & Chris."  A few weeks before the shower, we emailed the groom-to-be a list of questions about his relationship with his bride-to-be.  The questions can vary in their seriousness or silliness, depending on the personality of the couple.  I usually like to ask about 15 questions and then choose my favorite 10 answers to use for the game.

These are the exact questions we asked Chris:

  • Where was your first date? 
  • Where was your first kiss? Who initiated? 
  • When is your anniversary? 
  • Who said "I love you" first? 
  • Was the proposal a surprise? 
  • When did you know she was "the one"? 
  • How many kids do you want to have? 
  • What is your favorite thing about Shannon?  
  • What is Shannon's worst habit?  
  • What are you looking forward to most about marriage?

(For Chris' privacy, I won't reveal his answers but they were absolutely adorable and he got a lot of "awwww"s from the crowd!)

I typed up the questions and answers on cardstock and made enough copies for each guest to have.  The instructions are as follows:

We asked Chris some questions about his relationship with Shannon.  We will ask Shannon the same questions.  Guess how many of their answers match!

 There's that cute ribbon again!
 
 
On the reverse side were the questions and answers with a checkbox next to them.  We encouraged the guests to interact by placing a check mark next to each answer Shannon got "correct." 
 
Shannon did remarkably well - 9 out of 10 of her answers matched her fianc√©'s.  Whichever guests guessed that she would get 9 out of 10 before the game started were the "winners" and got to take a centerpiece home.
 
My favorite moment of this game was when we asked Shannon what Chris liked most about her.  She said, "Oh, that's easy - he loves my butt!"  Chris's actual answer was her smile and warm heart.  She had her guests in stitches!  I LOVED this bride!
 
 

The FOOD & DRINKS:

I'm a big fan of brunch for any kind of shower.  Brunch allows you to keep the menu versatile because you can serve a few popular breakfast items and a few creative lunch items.  Plus, you can really stretch your dollar with a lot of the brunch food staples like bagels, eggs, bacon and home fries.  And I think the best part about brunch is that you can get an early start so your guests don't feel like they've devoted their entire day to the shower. 
 
Tip: Most people take an "all or nothing" attitude when it comes to catering a party but you should consider a half-and-half approach.  That's exactly what I did for the food this shower; I catered out for half the food and I made half the food myself (with a lot of help from my wonderful mom).  I recommend sitting down with the caterer and pricing out all the food options.  Choose simple, classic dishes that you feel comfortable making and let the caterer take care of the more complicated dishes.
 
I was given this advice by the owner of Mr. Shrimp**, Vinnie Pettruziello. Mr. Shrimp ended up providing the French toast, home fries, bacon, penne a la vodka and chicken with artichokes.  My mom and I rolled up our sleeves, slapped on some aprons and made 5 different quiches, an Autumn salad and all the desserts.  I literally saved the M-O-H hundreds of dollars by making some of the food myself. 

The dessert was an ode to Fall - mini pumpkin pies and apple caramel cupcakes.  My mom's kitchen smelled just like it does on Thanksgiving Day... happiness.
 
We served assorted juices, red and white wine and of course - everyone's brunch favorite - mimosas.  I also saved the M-O-H money by talking her out of bloody marys and other drinks requiring hard alcohol, which can quickly drive up the liquor bill.  In my experience, the guests are perfectly happy with whatever drinks you serve them.  They are there for the bride; the booze is just an added bonus!

 
 
 
 
 
 
Serve mimosas in a pretty glass drink dispenser with a spigot - no one ever has to know you used cheap champagne.  :)
 
I'll leave you with this candid photo I captured of the guests - just eating, drinking, mingling, talking, laughing.  It's exactly what an at-home bridal shower is all about!
 
 
**If you need a party catered, or "half-catered," check out Mr. Shrimp in Belmar (Monmouth County, Jersey Shore).  The food is not only affordable, but totally delicious and the owners are some of the nicest people I've ever met.

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