By Grace O’Neil
My mom, bridesmaids and soon-to-be mother-in-law recently threw me a garden party bridal shower that I’ll never forget. Everything was absolutely perfect from the decor to the weather to the family and friends that joined us for the afternoon to celebrate. But, before I spill the details, here’s the background to my special day….
When I was little, my mom would plan tea parties toward the end of every summer as a fun way for all of my cousins, friends from school and neighbors to get together. It was always a great excuse to dress up, sip lemonade, enjoy the sunshine and play lawn games in my backyard, and I looked forward to it every year.
Fast forward twenty years: My mom knew that throwing another tea party in my honor would be the absolute best way to ‘shower the bride.’ My shower was just like those small tea parties I grew up having, but even better. I honestly couldn’t have dreamed up a better day. Here are some of my favorite things about the party:
Dress-Up Photo Booth
Complete with vintage tea party hats, white gloves, floral crowns, golden frames and strands of pearls, my mom and bridesmaids set up the most elegant and fun photo booth area I have ever seen. The homemade, Pinterest-inspired backdrop was created using Mod Podge to secure moss to an oversized bulletin board. The top was decked with peonies, my favorite flower.
The long table where we dined was truly a show stopper. Long banquet tables stretched throughout my parent’s summer home yard and were decorated with my great grandmother’s antique porcelain plates, coral napkins and crystal, floral arrangements filled with snap dragons, Queen Ann’s lace, daisies, stock, and spray roses, and framed pictures of Paul and I throughout the years.
Tea Sandwiches and Mimosa Bar
The menu consisted of assorted quiches, fruit, pasta and green salads, individual bags of gourmet potato chips and the most delicious sandwiches catered by Seven Stars Bakery. A do-it-yourself mimosa bar was also set-up, stocked with fresh juices, champagne and sparkling spritzers.
Party Activities and Favors
For activities, a couple of stations were arranged asking family and friends to share a date night idea and advice for Paul and me. For favors, each guest received a small organza bag with Fresh Cut Roses and Wedding Day votive candles from Yankee Candle, a personalized matchbook with Paul and my wedding date and a ceramic flower bottle stopper from Kate Aspen’s line.
Capturing the Moments
My mom’s good friend Paula offered to share her photography talents for the day, which was so appreciated. We also used our wedding hashtag #PaulisGraced for those guests who were posting pictures to Facebook and Instagram.
When it comes to thanking everyone for all the coordinating and planning that went into making my shower such a success, there aren’t words to express how grateful I am. What I can say is that I don’t think that I have ever smiled quite so much and I’ve never felt so surrounded by love. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of my friends and family who joined us, to my bridesmaids for always being there for me, to my soon-to-be mother-in-law for making the sweetest toast and, most importantly, to my mom — I love you to the moon and back. The countdown to September 6 continues!