Category Archives: Favors and Gifts

A Glamorous Champagne Brunch Bridal Shower

Maria’s shower manages to be totally glamorous and completely sweet all at once. With a chic Miami Beach restaurant for the venue, this stylish bride (check out her Valentino dress and sparkly heels!) pulled together a gorgeous champagne brunch for her family and friends. White and pale pink add a feminine touch to the sleek leather banquets and gothic candelabras, while a sprawling patio is perfect for enjoying the bright Florida sunshine. My favorite detail? The faux-fur champagne bottle bags. I may just be a teensy bit obsessed with them! Thanks to photographer Erika Delgado for sharing all of the gorgeous details of the day.006001 002 002B 003 004 005C 007 008 009 010 011 013 014 015 016

Photography: Erika Delgado | Venue: Villa Azur | Bride’s Dress: Valentino | Favors: The Favor Box  | Champagne bags: Restoration Hardware

Tea Party Bridal Shower Inspiration

A tea party is one of the most common bridal shower themes, but it can sometimes come off a bit matronly. Don’t fall into the trap of pastel-on-pastel or doilies overload! I’ve compiled inspiration and ideas for creating an elegant tea that’s the perfect mix for a vintage yet modern bride.001 patterned table settingFirst, let’s talk decor. The key to a strikingly gorgeous tea party is restraint. It can be tempting to pile pattern on pattern—doilies, lace, patterned tablecloths, floral china, bright burst of flowers—but it’s all too much. The intricate beauty of china patterns will be completely lost if there’s no respite. The eye needs negative space to appreciate the beauty of a simple object. Solution? A neutral canvas. Stay away from patterned or lace tablecloths, instead opting for the plain wood grain of the table or a cloth in a solid, warm shade. If you must incorporate lace, use it as a table runner. Above, brightly patterned seat cushions and beautifully mismatched china are balanced with white flowers and a sandy tablecloth. 002 tea party inspiration Here, a lace runner adds a little touch of femininity to a strong wood table, and rattan place mats balance the floral china. The white teapot doesn’t distract from the delicate pale pink roses—a patterned pot might overwhelm them! (Learn how to make teapot flower arrangements here.)
004 table settingYou can use this image as a guide to creating a proper table setting, gorgeous in its simplicity. Again, there’s plenty of wood here to balance the pastel pink and lace. The china is the star and the flatware and glassware become neutral accents.

Next up, invitations. By now you should be seeing a theme in the types of invitations I choose—modern and clean with strong typography. Pastel, lacy invites with birdcages and curly calligraphy are really, really not my cup of tea (excuse the pun). So it should be no surprise that my two favorite tea party invites have clean, crisp designs with a little dash of cute. You can find the pastel orange invite here and the charcoal and pink teacup invite here.005 pastel tea cup invitation006 tea cup bridal shower invite

Your first important decision is what tea to serve. Whatever flavor you choose, make it loose leaf! The difference between bagged and loose tea is night and day. Loose tea has a much more concentrated and complex flavor. This is a party, so spring for the good stuff! It’s not even that expensive! You can find lots of nice affordable loose teas at Whole Foods or World Market. Can’t find loose tea in your area? Mighty Leaf is an online retailer with a good variety at reasonable prices. Here’s a great video that shows how to brew loose leaf tea.

leaf teasIf you haven’t tasted a certain tea before, you can get a pretty good idea of what it will taste like by smelling it. It might be nice to choose a few different types of teas, like a black, a green, an oolong, a chai or a flavored. At a traditional tea party, you would brew the tea in the kettle, pour it into pots and then serve your guests from the teapot. But if you want to let guests sample several teas, create a tea bar with a kettle of hot water and filters or tea balls, and guests can brew their own cups. Either way, be sure to use some of the tea as decoration by setting out little bowls so the smell of it fills the room.

tea bar 3The traditional accompaniment to high tea is an array of tea sandwiches. I’ve compiled some of my favorite finds here, from modern spins on traditional tea sandwiches courtesy of the BBC to healthy updates on multigrain crackers.

traditional and modern tea sandwichesGingered pea and green goddess tea sandwiches
gingered pea and green goddess sandwichesI love this triple berry kale salad as an accompaniment. It’s light and refreshing with bursts of sweetness from the berries and a bit of crunch from the almonds (plus, there’s a tart strawberry vinaigrette).010 triple berry kale saladIf it were up to me, I’d make the tea sandwiches, but order dessert. I just do not have the skill nor the time to produce gorgeous fruit tarts like these!

013 mini fruit tarts

If you’re inspired and brave enough to make your own desserts though, try to strike a balance between decadence and freshness. This honey tea cake could be paired with fresh berries and whipped cream, while these shortbread tea cookies would be perfect for dipping (though the Queen would disapprove).011 honey tea cake 012 tea bag cookies Have you heard of a champagne tea? Well, now you have! Champagne teas are actually quite common (and traditional) for celebratory events. Start the party off with a glass of pink champagne, move onto your tea, sandwiches and cakes, then cycle back to champagne to keep the guests in the spirit.

pink champagneYou’re hosting a tea party, so you’re going to need tea things. The ideal situation is that a friend or relative has a tea set you can borrow, but as social calls no longer seem to involve much tea, you may have to purchase a teapot and set of cups for the event. Beautiful vintage pieces can be found on Etsy, some at surprisingly affordable prices, or you can buy modern pieces (many of which still look vintage). I particularly like the selection of patterned teacups at Anthropologie.

anthropologie teacupsWant to play a party game that doesn’t involve toilet paper wedding dresses? I’m sort of in love with this tea-leaf reading kit.019 tea leaf reading kitFor your gift to the bride-to-be, I love these personalized teacups with a custom sketch of the happy couple.020 custome couple teacupsFor guest favors, give tea! The cute little packages on the left come filled with chai tea (my personal favorite), stamped with a sweet slogan and wrapped in twine. Loose tea is so beautiful by itself, so test tubes are the perfect way to show it off. Plus, it’s an easy DIY project—all you need is loose tea, test tubes, corks and gift tags.

tea party favorsFor more inspiration, check out my tea party bridal shower board on Pinterest.

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A Rustic Vintage Bridal Shower in Utah

I’ve been trying so hard to sum up this absolutely stunning shower shared by Alixann Loosle Photography and finally I realized that it just contains too many things I love. Bride Maddie’s parents with the help of her friends pulled everything together in their home in Lindon, Utah. The decor is vintage classic at its very best, with heirloom suitcases stacked to display party favors, an old washtub re-purposed as a drink cooler and a weathered chest of drawers serving as part of the buffet. The ambiance is sugary sweet with rock candy, soft pink roses and a dainty fruit pizza bar, but the delicate lace panties strung up across the porch add just the tiniest touch of naughty at a shower that is oh-so-nice. From the ballooned bicycle welcoming guests to the backyard to the miniature potted plants waiting for each guest as they leave, this shower is utter perfection. 005

Bridal Shower Favors from ModCloth

Uhm, you guys, I am so freaking excited. And may I tell you why? ModCloth has started a line of home goods! When did this happen and why did I not know about it before Christmas?? They are clearly selling everything like hotcakes as new items are appearing daily and sold-out items reappearing due to demand. We’ll soon be rolling in delightfully cute elephant salt shakers and world-shaped cork boards. I’ve brought together some charming little creatures that would be perfect as bridal shower favors. All work out to less than $15 a guest, and sometimes much less. The mini mason jars are $50 for a set of 12, including straws! My personal favorite? The vintage-style birdcage hooks.

ultimate bridesmaid bridal shower favors from modcloth

Shop the entire ModCloth home goods collection here.

Gift Guide: For Foodies and New Yorkers (and Brooklynites!)

ultimate bridesmaid gift guide for foodies and new yorkers

New Yorkers and Brooklynites: Jim Datz City Series Brooklyn | Rifle Paper Co. 2013 Cities Calendar | City Storyteller Scarf | Pixelated Brooklyn Bridge Tee | Manhattan Pillow

Foodies: McClure’s Pickles | David Rio Tiger Spice Chai | Cast-Iron Bacon PressDIY Cheese Kit | Wine Ice Cream

Gift Guide: A Book for Every Person on Your List

books ultimate bridesmaid gift guide

1 Edible Selby | 2 Mrs. Queen Takes the Train | 3 The Year of the Flood | 4 Mr. Boddington’s Penguin Classic Alice in Wonderland |  5 How to Be a Woman | 6 Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore | 7 The Newlywed Cookbook | 8 Zone One  | 9 Harry Potter Moleskin

Gift Guide: Fashionistas and World Travelers

fashion and travel ultimate bridesmaid gift guide Fashionistas: 1 Liberty Crystal Braid Bracelet | 2 Embroidered Clutch | 3 Flocked Penguins Cardigan | 4 Happy Socks | 5 Hepcat Shades | 6 Fair Isle Leggings | 7 Printed Briefcase

World Travelers: 1 Backup Battery for iPhone | 2 Scratch Off World Map | 3 I Was Here: A Travel Journal for the Curious Minded