Last year I had the privilege to be a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my best high school friends, Erin. I was just finishing up another dear college friend’s wedding (sometimes I think I’d like to be a professional friend for people throwing weddings, as opposed to a wedding planner, because I love helping people noodle through ideas and weighing in on various options), in which I was also a bridesmaid, so I was not only honored to be asked to be a big part of Erin’s special day, I was eager to help out where I could with her Labor Day weekend wedding.
In February, the maid of honor started contacting the rest of the bridal party asking about potential shower dates. Knowing they wanted to hold the shower at the bride’s mom’s house in NJ, and the fact that my vacation days were pretty limited, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to commit to making the trip out, so I asked to do what I could from a distance just in case. I volunteered to design invites for the surprise shower, along with any other coordinating paper pieces, and help out with decorations where I was able, figuring I could just stick those in a box and mail them out if I needed to. The maid of honor and I batted a few ideas around and after presenting her with a few design options, she was most enthusiastic about the bunting theme. I loved it, knowing we could take the theme from the paper to real life in the decorations. (I am reluctant to call things “trendy” but at this point in time, buntings were everywhere on wedding blogs.)
Because I just cannot leave well enough alone, I thought of every single paper item to which I could extend the thematic elements. For the invitations, this meant a printed return address label plus a strand of bunting on the envelope, as well as an information card with details on two of our shower activities, information on registry, and where to park, since it was a surprise shower.
One of the elements of the shower was to provide Erin (and her future husband!) with some favorite recipes. Of course the recipe cards needed to be branded to look like the rest of the paper goods! I printed the design to blank index cards and included them with the invitations so people could fill them out ahead of time, or mail them to the maid of honor if they weren’t able to make it to the party.
The other shower activity was one that must be extremely regional and I had never heard of before. The maid of honor wanted to have a “wishing well” for the party, and the tradition is to bring a small, themed gift to put in the well. (I asked my mom about this, she has done this at other New Jersey showers, but several of my other East Coast friends had no idea what I was talking about.) I rolled the idea around in my head for awhile and suggested to the maid of honor that we expand on this and ask the guests to write their “wish” for Erin and Jon on a slip of paper to attach to their little gift. The theme of the well gifts was “candles” so I thought the idea of a wishing well and wishing on a candle kind of tied in together. I also knew it’d be really special to Erin to be able to save all of these slips of paper with handwritten wishes for her married life. I also used the bunting flag designs to make little square stickers that I printed on label paper and cut apart, so people could use the stickers to attach the wishes to their candles before putting them in the well.
Even though typing this all out, it totally seems like overkill to have “branded” the shower to this extent, I think it made for a really polished party. The other bridesmaids were awesome in putting up with my craziness and embraced the color scheme for other items like some yummy molded chocolate roses used as favors (tied with a themed thank you tag, shown above), as well as some delicious homemade cupcakes one bridesmaid baked and decorated not only in the purple and yellow colors, but using polka dots, stars, and stripes to coordinate with some of the patterns on the buting. Combined with some of the decorations I ended up sewing, the entire shower looked really pulled together, which made it extra-memorable, as well as looking great. It’s a lot of effort to coordinate details to this extent, but I was happy to be working with an enthusiastic group of people who helped to pull it off! I’ll save the decorations for another post, because…let’s be real, putting it all together in one spot really makes me seem like a crazy person.