Bride Danielle is a wedding planner by trade, but she was completely surprised by this greenhouse bridal shower, planned by her mother, bridesmaids and mother-in-law. Her creative and talented friends crafted almost every detail by hand, from the carnation garland behind the dessert table to the custom coasters to the cake pops and cupcakes dotting the dessert table! The light and bright conservatory of the Madison Hotel made for a perfect setting, with sparkling crystal chandeliers and hanging greenery creating a secret garden vibe. We love the wine bottle wishing well, where guests brought a bottle of wine for the couple, as well as the honeymoon gift board sharing adventures awaiting the couple, like a two-day elephant trek!
For this unique shower, bridesmaid and videographer Kaylyn of Pulley Productions recruited some of her favorite Oklahoma vendors to throw a gorgeous rustic barn bridal shower for best friend Kasee. My favorite unique touch was the mobile boutique, Cargo Room, that Kaylyn brought out for the day. When the guests arrived, they were ushered into the shop to find their look for the event, each choosing a gorgeous lace purple or navy dress to wear for the shower. The result was some pretty stunning pictures taken in the fields surrounding McGranahan Barn. A beautiful handmade wood farm table was set with vintage china and the guests enjoyed a picture-perfect spread of treats, including mini blackberry pies and chocolate-dipped macaroons. With a copper Moscow mule mug in hand, the ladies also crafted flower crowns to complete their outfits. I can’t get over all the stunning little details in this shower, gorgeously captured by Alex Dugan Photography. Check out the full list of fabulous vendors below.
Photography: Alex Dugan | Additional photography: Geovanny De Leon | Venue: McGranahan Barn | Floral & Styling: Paper Chandelier Events | Wardrobe: Cargo Room | Furniture Rentals: Ruby’s Vintage Rentals | Tableware: Vintage Tabletop Rental | Table: Kahoy Studios | Desserts and sweets: Laura Layn | Invitations: Leigha Pierce Art | Calligraphy: APletters | Makeup: Kadi Uhack Makeup | Videography: Pulley Productions
For this glam take on a fiesta bridal shower, design studio Modern Pulp channeled bride Claudette’s love of pink and gold into a backyard fiesta filled with color and style. Guests selected one of three different flavors from the sangria bar and topped their vintage pink goblet or copper mug with a selection of fresh fruits. A stunning dessert spread, including cactus cookies and dessert tacos, offered plenty of sweet treats. My favorite detail? The unique rock cactus bar that allowed guests to create their own party favor. Plus, you now have the perfect hashtag for your event: #tacoboutashower! Photographer Christy Swanberg beautifully captured the joy on bride Claudette’s face as she rounded the corner to find this pretty little shower waiting.
Photography: Christy D Swanberg Photography | Banner and confetti: Dixie and Twine | Rentals: Gathered Table Supply | Paper Goods and Event Design: Modern Pulp Design Studio | Baked Goods: Pretty Sweet Co. | Mini pinatas: Lula Flora Designs
Tea parties remain one of the most popular bridal shower themes, but that doesn’t mean every tea party shower must look the same as the last. We crafted four tea party shower inspiration boards to show you how you can customize a tea party theme to suit the bride’s personality. Choose from a classic English high tea with pastel hues and floral patterned plates, or go modern with a vibrant color palette and bold patterns. Go for over-the-top opulence with a Marie Antoinette French tea party, or get wacky (or bookish) with an Alice in Wonderland tea.
To create a classic high tea, you’ll need pretty patterned china and a few traditional tea snacks, like this honey pound cake or soft angel food cake cut into hearts and covered with layers of creamy frosting. Soft colors should run throughout the decor, from the flowers to the table settings. An English tea dress code will give your guests a change to wear springtime sundresses, feathered hats, flower crowns or even lace gloves.
To throw a modern tea party, change up the color palette. While a traditional tea incorporates soft pastels and vintage florals, go with bold, vibrant colors and patterns for a modern twist. We love the orange accents in this tea party or the abstract patterned tablecloth in a modern navy motif. And don’t be afraid of black! The letter board at this modern tea party gives the perfect updated twist. You can also look beyond Europe for inspiration and explore other tea cultures. What about serving a Moroccan tea or having a Japanese tea service?
A Marie Antoinette tea holds on to the elegance of a traditional English tea, but turns the fancy up to 10! The traditional palette is pink, blue and white, but we love accents of gold to channel French rococo glam. Host your shower at a cute French cafe and serve pink floral teas and French macarons. Marie’s classic catch phrase (“Let them eat cake”) must be on display, and the aforementioned cake should make an appearance too. This type of tea party also screams for the addition of alcohol—we love this pink champagne granita as a finish to your meal.
Alice in Wonderland is a versatile theme, as there are two parties in the book you can take inspiration from: the Mad Hatter’s wacky tea party or the Queen of Hearts’ croquet lawn party. If you’re going Mad Hatter, incorporate whimsical colors with mismatched vintage china. A grouping of clocks or vintage glass bottles makes for simple yet stunning table decor. Color chaos is your goal. You can use vintage wallpaper samples to create a shabby chic photo backdrop that completes the look. For the Queen’s garden party, your palette is black, white and red. And if you’ve got a hedge, use it! This one is dotted with red roses and oversized playing cards. Fancy hats will add an element of fun and whimsy to a party that’s fit for a queen. And don’t forget these DIY flamingo croquet sticks!
The first week in August, I traveled to North Carolina for my friend Jae’s wedding. Jae got engaged in April and pulled off an amazing wedding in only four months (and on a budget too)! Now, she has specifically asked me to clarify that a four-month engagement does not mean the bride is pregnant!! Since both she and her now-husband Jason are teachers, she really wanted to get married during summer vacation when she would have a lot of time to devote to planning and could just enjoy the event. And waiting over a year just didn’t seem right for her. Planning a wedding in four months seemed impossible to me, but Jae absolutely made it look easy. I was blown away with how easily she pulled everything together. But I shouldn’t have been—Jae is like the most organized, proactive person in the universe. Her wedding was beautiful and everything came together perfectly.
But Jae’s short engagement did mean that we didn’t have time to dedicate a full weekend to bachelorette festivities…so we decided to pack everything into her wedding weekend! That meant a bachelorette on Saturday, a bridal shower on Sunday, and the wedding on Monday! (One of Jae’s pro tips for getting married on a budget: Have a Monday or Friday wedding!) At first I was nervous about trying to do so much in one weekend. Honestly, I was worried that I would be totally burned out by the wedding reception. But it turned out to be fantastic! I think the key was that each of our events had a very different energy: we had relaxing spa time, a high-energy bachelorette night, a classy tea party. All of the events were so different and I thought we had the perfect balance of relaxing, socializing and fun!
I started the weekend with a plane delay that made me about an hour late for our bachelorette spa day. I have to give credit to the amazing team at Balance Day Spa in Greensboro. I had basically missed my massage time slot, but they were able to move some of their appointments around to make sure I got a 30-minute massage. And after a rough morning of air travel, I SO needed it! The spa is lovely and relaxing, with a peaceful lounge area in the women’s locker room where we set up a mimosa bar and other refreshments. After our massages and manicures, Jae surprised us with thoughtful bridesmaid gift bags. Each bag included a monogrammed silk robe to wear on the morning of the wedding, monogrammed clutches and (my favorite) a personalized framed memento of our friendship, in which she shared some of her favorite memories with each of us. The gifts were so thoughtful—there were definitely a few tears shed!
Afterward, we headed to dinner in downtown Greensboro at Liberty Oak, then back to the hotel for a bachelorette slumber party. Jae wanted a low-key night with her girlfriends with lots of laughing. We tried to incorporate a lot of Jae’s favorite things into the weekend—for instance, Harry Potter and FRIENDS. For her bachelorette favors, I found these awesome House Bride Harry Potter themed tank tops. Not only did they look great, they were also super comfortable—and the seller even rushed the order to get them to me on time. They were perfect. We started up a marathon of FRIENDS wedding episodes (half of the wedding party can quote FRIENDS on command) and played a few bachelorette games, including the fiance quiz, a bridal mad lib and a wedding version of 5 Second Rule (stay tuned for more on that).
The next morning, we hosted a tea party shower in the lobby of the O.Henry Hotel, which was also the venue for Jae’s wedding and where we were all staying. I cannot compliment this hotel enough. The service was superb. The night before, I must have called the front desk 10 times for different things—could we have a DVD player brought up, could we have a wine opener, oh no one of us is locked out of our room, oh no we can’t figure out how to make the DVD player work! Seriously, if I had any problem, I just called the front desk…and they fixed it for me. They were so generous, thoughtful and helpful. They really made our stay perfect.
For the shower, we served an afternoon tea for Jae’s friends and relatives, and played a “how well do you know the bride” game. Each guest left with a sprinkle party favor with a handmade tag you can download here. We also asked all the guests to bring Jae a recipe on a personalized recipe card and it was so fun to see the different recipes she got. They completely matched the personalities and tastes of the senders, from quinoa salad to ice cream bar cake. (My own contribution was a spice blend I use on everything…and yes, it’s Whole30.)
The great news about this game is that the bride already did a lot of the work for you, and she doesn’t even know it! To create a hilarious and personalized bridal shower Mad Lib game, simply head to the bride’s wedding website and click on her “About Us” or “Our Story” page. Here, most couples will have included a paragraph or two describing their relationship—how they met, some of the high points of their relationship, how they fell in love, how he proposed. This is perfect material for a Mad Lib. Simply copy and paste the bride’s words into a Word doc and then get to work choosing key words to cut out.
I’ll use my own wedding website as an example. First, go through and identify words that have potential to be replaced. I’ve highlighted some in red below.
Caitlin and Andrew met in New York City in 2010. We met on Match.com (and no, we will not be auditioning for the commercials) and immediately felt at ease with each other, finding that we shared a sense of humor and a love of literature, traveling and the outdoors. While we couldn’t find much common grounds in our music tastes, we soon found ourselves exploring NYC together and growing closer as we learned more about each other (eventually we would even find some bands we could both tolerate).
When we had been dating for only a few months, Andrew asked Caitlin if she wanted to take a trip to Iceland with him. Caitlin was surprised to be asked to go on an international vacation together so soon but (after conferring with some of her girlfriends and deciding that yes, this was crazy, but yes, it was also awesome) she decided to go for it. It turned out to be one of the most amazing trips we’ve ever been on and set the tone for our relationship: encouraging each other to try new things, supporting each other through challenges, and laughing along the way.
After three years of heavy commuting from Caitlin’s apartment on the Upper East Side to Andrew’s apartment in Brooklyn (including Caitlin hysterically calling Andrew a record 21 times in one night when she found a mouse in her apartment at 1am), we moved into our apartment in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, where we are still living today. Five years after our first whirlwind trip abroad, we’re still going on crazy adventures and loving every minute of it.
I recommend leaving a maximum of 20-30 blanks, depending on the length of the bios. Mine was really long (because, hi, I like to write) so this version has 30 blanks. I even cut a few sentences that didn’t have good Mad Lib potential because mine was just too long. You want to have at least one blank per sentence. To figure out whether it will be funny or not, just slot in sex words while you’re working on it. You want to find the words in the sentence that will have the greatest impact. For example, in the first sentence, I want to keep “Caitlin and Andrew met” because it gives me the potential for a funny explanation of how we met. Changing the year wouldn’t be very funny, so choosing the place is the best word to change in the sentence. In general, you should keep the names of the bride and groom because you want it to be about them. And don’t change so many words that their story becomes unrecognizable.
You can also choose phrases rather than single words. For example, replacing just “at ease” might result in an awkward turn of phrase because of “with each other” following it. But if we just replace that whole phrase “at ease with each other” with a feeling, we’re guaranteed to get something that works. We’ll immediately feel “sexy” or “nauseous.”
Next you need to write out a list of the types of words you need. Here’s where you need to stretch your high school English muscles. You don’t have to follow the exact format of the original. For example, with my first blank “New York City,” I could say “city” but the answer wouldn’t be very funny. It’s much better to just say “place.” Then Andrew and I can meet in a bathroom or at a sex club. You can also lead the witness a little to make the Mad Lib funnier and specifically ask for the type of words you want. For example, if you want a place, just say place. If you want a number, just say number. If you want a body party, say body part.
If your high school English skills are a little rusty, here’s a quick guide to a few of the most common parts of speech to slot in.
noun: a person, place or thing (bride, strip club, wedding ring)
proper noun: a specific person or place (Michael Jackson, Disney World)
gerund: here’s some advanced shit for you. A gerund is derived from a verb, but functions as a noun. You can identify them because they always end in -ing. In the example above, “commuting” and “traveling” are gerunds.
verb: an action word (wiggle, run, jump)
For verbs, make sure to communicate the tense you need. You will probably need past tense, present tense and verbs ending in -ing (present participles).
adjective: describes a noun (in the example above, crazy and awesome are adjectives)
adverb: describes or modifies a verb, adjective or another adverb (hint: adverbs often end in -ly, like warmly or kindly)
interjection: a word or phrase that expresses surprise or emotion (WTF! Yikes! Hooray!)
If you’re worried about how the bridal shower Mad Lib will work, try taking it on a test drive with one other person (maybe someone who won’t be attending the party). This will help you figure out if any of the blanks aren’t really working. But don’t stress over it too much. It’s a Mad Lib, it’s supposed to be a little wacky!
This backyard bridal shower got a splash of 70s style with flower crowns and bell-sleeved dresses in the dreamy California sunshine. Bride Kelsey and her bridesmaids popped a few bottles of champagne to get the party started while each guest donned a delicate baby’s breath flower crown. An adorable bunting banner displayed pictures of the bride and groom over the years for a twist on the “guess their ages” game. Mini succulents in copper pots served as a party favor, encouraging guests to “let love grow.” Dulcet Creative was there to capture the beautiful event.