guest post: a shower fit for a bridesmaid

I’ve got a little treat for you today.  Something different anyway.  Last week I posted about my bridal shower, specifically the handmade gifts and details that went into it.  Well, today my MOH is here to rehash the behind the scenes DIY details that went into the event. Take it away Leigh…

As you may know from Dana’s blogging history, she’s been to a lot of weddings. Beyond just being your standard wedding guest, Dana takes what makes Circa Dee amazing and translates those talents into the fabulous, thoughtful events for her friends and family. A 10-time bridesmaid, 3-time reader, toast-giver, bachelorette party-planner, bouquet mastermind, you name it – she’s done it. So imagine the pressure when Dana asks you to be her Maid of Honor, which means planning an event for her!I jest. (A little.)In all seriousness, helping to plan Dana’s shower meant putting some of her favorite things, ideas, and people into one room. Here are a few aspects of the shower to highlight how we did that.The Theme – As a nod to Dana’s role in so many weddings, we went loosely with a 27 Dresses theme.  We incorporated dress and bridesmaid details throughout the day.
The Invitation – Designed by the lovely Poppies and Petals, we crafted a newspaper-inspired invite. Here, we asked that ladies wear a bridesmaid dress. (While I didn’t remember discussing this much in the past, Dana admitted that she checked her closet the morning of the shower to see if her bridesmaid dresses were still there! Without borrowing any of Dana’s dresses, we still had about a dozen ladies join in the fun of dressing up.)
27 dresses themed bridal shower
27 dresses themed bridal shower
27 dresses themed bridal shower

The Centerpieces – I fully admit to stalking Pinterest for this idea, but adding our own flare. We took a page from Dana’s vintage, rustic style, and used mini galvanized buckets as our base. We then added floral foam, some moss, and a few rocks to weight down the piece. Then, we added everyday kitchen skewers (hello, re-purposing!), stuck into the floral foam. Between the skewers, we strung a piece of yarn and a few mini-bunting flags. (We even borrowed Dana’s punch for this step, under the guise of Poppies and Petals custom card order.) We chose paper in sea-glass and vintage inspired tones, with a hint of pink because, come on, this is a bridal shower! Then, my favorite part, we found a template for mini dresses and cut them out on the Big Shot. Some twine was strung around the waist of the dresses for some extra detail and attached with a too-cute-for-words mini clothespin. I really love how quickly this project came together!

27 dresses themed bridal shower

Decorations – The room at the restaurant where we hosted the event didn’t need much adorning, but we added balloons in sea-glass colors. I also stalked Dana’s Facebook, blog, and emailed ladies who had included Dana in their wedding to find pictures. I had a  blast reliving all these amazing events, and Dana’s various haircuts over the years. Some photos for framed, and others were displayed out on tables. We also asked our guests to leave a wish for Dana and Ryan. These notecards and pens were displayed in a vintage planter I found at a local vintage shop.  I’m hoping to turn these photos and notes into a little book for Dana at some point.

The Favors – Dana already showcase the Ball Jar cookies, which she’d been dreaming of having. We also gave away little tokens to the ladies that wore bridesmaid dresses, of even-more-mini galvanized buckets, filled with candy, and adorned with another little dress.

ball mason jar cookie favors

The Food – No shower is complete without a great spread. Dana’s mom selected a variety of Italian dishes that included Dana’s favorite – Caprese Salad! While Dana unwrapped her mountain of gifts, we enjoyed homemade cookies baked by family and friends. Then, at the end of the party,we enjoyed not one but two cakes – one Tiramisu flavored and one from Alice Bakery (two more things Dana loves!)

bridal shower spread

Thanks for taking time to read about how to put on a party for Dana! I think we met this immense challenge in style and made a great day happen for our beautiful bride!

Thanks Leigh!  I have to admit that it felt totally bizarre showing up to a shower empty handed.  And you should also know that it took everything in me not to bring my camera and snap pictures or instagram the whole event.  After years of bridesmaiding (yes it is a verb), it was a blast to be on the other side!  I just wanted to live in the moment without social media…shocking.  And I bet you didn’t know that my blogging originally began in the wedding world, did ya?

a winter wonderland

I don’t even know where to begin regarding recapping this weekend’s wedding.  The venue.  The bride.  The food.  Oh my!  Everything was absolutely stunning.  I had so much fun preparing for the evening with 3 of my closest friends – the bride and bridesmaids.  We met in college and all these years later we always manage to pick up right where we last left off.  My stomach always hurts from laughing so much with these girls. 

Ok let’s start with the venue.  I will try to create the scene for you…the wedding from beginning to end was held at the Stirling Guest Hotel in Reading, PA.  “Guest Hotel” is apparently code for huge magnificent mansion stocked with fine antiques from floor to ceiling.  We got ready for the wedding in suites upstairs and stayed the night there as well.  In fact, we didn’t leave until after we all had breakfast together the next morning.  Imagine staying in a mansion with 30 of your friends after a huge party.  Pretty awesome! 

See this grand staircase?  That’s where the actual ceremony occurred…on the landing with the bridal party on the lower steps below the couple.

There were 3 floors.  The processional was down the staircase from the 2nd floor to where the guests were waiting in the center hall or main room of the house.  Despite my paranoia, I did not trip down the stairs.  Thank goodness.

I don’t have any ceremony pictures to share since I was a bridesmaid but I will make up for that with pictures of antiques and DIY projects, mmm kay? Oh and for those keeping track, this was my 11th run as a bridesmaid. I know. I find it hard to believe too.

Here is the bride looking glam and working the birdcage veil. 

Her dress was a fit and flare sweetheart cut with beautiful applique and lace detailing.

Every suite had amazing antique furniture which made for perfect photo opportunities.  The red velvet chaise was a favorite backdrop.  I love the old Hollywood feel of this.

So imagine going to a wedding in a grand mansion and at the end of the night just walking up stairs to your nearly 1000 square foot suite.  And imagine that your friends are staying next door and down the hall.  Sounds pretty fun, right?  I felt kind of like royalty.  Here is a not so great shot of the amazing suite we had. It was easily 1000 square feet.  In the foreground is a large table. We found time to hold a round table meeting at the table since it only seemed right.

Each suite had something unique and reminiscent of the era the mansion was built.  I dropped the ball on taking pictures of the painted ceiling in our room and the huge fireplace.

Other rooms had ornate crown molding and archways.

European antique furniture.

Fireplaces every where.

Four separate dining rooms where guests had dinner were all cleverly named – the music room, the drawing room, the parlor and the library.  It reminded me of the game of Clue. 

Do you see the painted ceiling in the music room picture below?  And the chandelier? Gorge!

The event didn’t need much of a theme considering the mansion offered so much style on its own. The couple embraced the old world feel when pulling together details such as having the centerpieces raised about 3 feet on silver candelabra.

Purple has been such a popular wedding color lately.  It works for so many seasons including a cold winter wedding.  The flowers were purple and white; mostly stock, hydrangea, lysianthus, statice and roses.

The escort cards were attached to skeleton keys and displayed in a gold frame. A perfect match for the grand old mansion.  And an easy but impactful DIY project.

I was delighted to make the invitations and coordinating stationary for my friends. We decided on an antique style medallion which played into the mansion’s look perfectly.  More invitation pictures can be seen here.

Did I mention that it was frrreezing outside?  The favor was so appropriate and clever for a January wedding.  Hot chocolate all wrapped up to look like another sweet treat – an ice cream cone!

Our bridesmaid dresses were black one shoulder chiffon dresses. I think I am going to cut mine short and wear it again. Seriously.

We danced the night away in the center of that old house celebrating this lovely couple.  Congratulations!

We didn’t seem to disturb any of the ghosts of the Stirling either.

the flasher

Last weekend we celebrated my friend’s bridal shower.  Can you believe we actually managed to surprise her!?  It seems like brides are normally onto the surprise.  She really didn’t know until she arrived at the house.  Woo hoo! 

Anyway, here is the invitation that I put together for the vinspired bride.  I used the Stampin Up! lace ribbon border paper bunch to achieve the row of medallions.  I was pretty happy with the look and it ties together nicely with the bride and groom’s elegant wedding theme.  It is hard to see in the picture but the cardstock color is a deep eggplant, not black.

We repeated the medallions on the favors.  The punched paper acted as ribbon to dress up the box.

The paper was secured around the box and topped with a luxurious gold thank you plaque.  The plaque was also achieved with a paper punch and stamped with ‘thank you’.

The goody boxes were stuffed with chocolates.  Yum!  Can you tell I like taking pictures of the favors?

At the shower, we played a new-to-me game.  I am so over the tried and true shower games so this one was silly and refreshing!  My friend’s family invented this lively game.  Basically some bold soul wears a robe lined with things newlyweds would need or use.  It can be as simple as an oven mitt or as risqué as, well…use your imagination.  All of the items for the game can easily be found at the dollar store.

The person wearing the robe flashes some of the guests so they can see what is lining the robe.  After the robe closes, the guests can write down as many items as they saw.  The person with the most correct items wins.  In our case, they won a mini mumkin centerpiece.

Oh what fun!  Even the groom got in on the bridal shower action.  He loved wearing the bow hat.  Maybe even a little too much…

here comes the bride

I walked down the aisle for the 10th time this past weekend! Not as a bride but as a bridesmaid. I’m no Elizabeth Taylor.

Here’s the bride looking smashing in her lace wedding gown. I just love how she accessorized it or “Jessi-fied” it as I call it. Jessi always belts her ensembles so it only seemed appropriate that she had a belt added to her dress.

Her black belt coordinated with the bridesmaids. We wore any black cocktail dress we wanted. How liberating! For the first time in 4 years, I actually wore a bridesmaid dress AGAIN. I took a long bridesmaid dress from a wedding earlier this year and had it hemmed into a cocktail dress.

Back to the wedding…the couple chose a lovebird theme complete with vintage birdcages dressing every table. I had a blast helping to find unique birdcages over the last year and a half. They decided to add a pop of color inside the cages.

The color scheme was black and white with a hint of hot pink. We carried all white bouquets filled with hydrangea and roses.

Birds subtly accented everything from the invitations to the favors (wine stopper and bottle opener) and the cake…check out the cake! STUN-NING! I love how it seemed to glow! You gotta love the power of lighting. And it was yummy too.

The ceremony and reception were held at Normandy Farm. The nuptials were outside on the most beautiful day of the year! Picture perfect weather. Hopefully I will have pictures to share later of the ceremony.

Cocktail hour was outside. Then we moved inside to the rustic ballroom with cathedral ceilings accented by exposed beams and oversized chandeliers. Grand!

The bride serenaded her groom with her most amazing voice. She sang At Last by Etta James. The room froze and listened in awe. Pretty amazing stuff! Naturally, the groom ate up the moment.

Then the party ensued. And it was a party. The song Shot! Shot! Shot! comes to mind, if that is even considered a song. The dance floor was packed all night. I love a good wedding! Well, I love all weddings.

Congrats Jake & Jessi!

the lovebirds

We are just days away from my brother’s wedding. That’s right! My little brother is getting married in exactly 10 days!

I figured now was as good a time as any to show you their wedding invitations which I designed and the bridal party constructed together. The couple is working a vintage lovebird theme in a black and white pallette. Yes, I know…fabulous. I can’t wait to see it all come together.

Here’s what we came up with for the invitations. They are a 6×6 square.

The kissing birds are a paper punch. We only had a few difficulties punching out over 100 of those little things. Note my sarcasm.

They’re into the lower case fonts. I think it was a good choice!

For the rehearsal dinner invitation, I kept with the same black and white lovebird theme but reversed things. They are 5.5×4.25 cards that open up to reveal the details. I punched out smaller kissing lovebirds for the front. I like how simple these are!

Stay tuned for details of the big shabang!

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