Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Celebrating

Emily and I have been friends since college, and she's one of the most amazingly generous people I know - the sort of friend who shows up at your house with takeout and champagne on a Wednesday, just because you're having a bad week. I knew that a traditional shower would make her exceedingly uncomfortable, but her friends and I wanted to plan a party that would honor her, show her how much we love her and celebrate this moment in her life. It wasn't a surprise (surprises are a complete no-go, for both of us) but we kept all the details completely secret.

We ended up with an intimate and leisurely lunch for twelve, with good drinks, plenty of food and lots of talking. Absolutely no games, and I don't think anyone missed them. I didn't get as many pictures as I normally would, because I was busy hosting, but here are a few snippets. And for those of you who want details, I'll give additional info at the bottom.

invitation
{invitation}

welcome table
{welcome table}

drink tags
{drink tags}

getting started
{getting started}

china - from Em
{china - photo from Emily}

dessert
{dessert}

cat in a globe!
{cat in a globe!}

:: I made the invitations using a wash of watercolor and some gold accents, which set up the color scheme for the party. The text and envelopes were grey and I used patterned gold paper to line the envelopes.

:: Our apartment is upstairs and in the back of the building, so I set up the welcome table at the top of the flight of stairs so guests could see it as they arrived. It made it easy to spot the correct apartment and it gave me a location for the drinks (my apartment is a decent size, but there aren't all that many places to set up various stations!).

:: Do the drink tags look familiar? D made the template for Thanksgiving dinner, and we used it again but printed them out on some leftover watercolor paper that I had used for the invitations. I love drink tags because it lets you keep track of your glass as you move around the party.

:: Appetizers - roasted asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, dates stuffed with chevre and wrapped in applewood smoked bacon, rosemary and sea salt roasted almonds and a selection of marinated olives and cornichons.

:: Food (not pictured because we were busy eating) - Several varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches and a large salad. We had a seated meal, which I think makes conversation so much easier. Grilled cheese sandwiches are sort of a thing for us, so I was determined to make them even though I knew it was a little impractical because they had to be grilled at the party. It worked out fine.

:: The table decorations came together very randomly. I'd seen this post and marked it because I know D would kill for a squirrel candleholder (and now I've ruined that surprise - oh well). And I like to tease Emily about turning into a crazy cat lady, so I thought it would be funny to incorporate cats into the decor. The closest thing I could find at the party store was "baby jungle cats" so I sprayed them gold and stuck them in these globes that I already owned (they're from CB2 and I bought them before the holidays) along with a little confetti.

:: My philosophy with party decorating is that you want a few high impact areas rather than trying to hide or modify your entire space. I made liberal use of gold fringe backdrops and crepe paper (more info on the lanterns coming soon, I promise) and I bought the cat figures, but that was it really. D made the letters for me after I mentioned I wanted some but completely ran out of time. He just printed them out, traced them on cardboard and then wrapped them in crepe paper.

:: DESSERT! Clearly, the most important part of a party. I made an ombre cake (you'll have to pop over to E's post to see it) mostly because I've had various images of those marked for ages and this is the best possible excuse for that sort of craziness. A good friend made a dulce de leche and mexican chocolate crepe torte that was to die for. And we also had white chocolate chip cookies (because they're E's fave) and brownies to go with the ice cream. Because yes, we had a full ice cream sundae bar with homemade hot fudge and salted caramel. Except it ended up being more of an ice cream free for all because I ran out of time and just plunked everything down in the middle of the table and let everyone pass it around. It's more fun that way, right?

Whew. Sorry for the extreme wordiness. I had so much fun planning and thinking of ways to make it perfect for Em. And now I can't wait for the wedding!

Update - drink tag template is available here. And the invitation tutorial is right here. Fringed lantern tutorial is here. Cherub's cup drink recipe is here.

66 comments:

  1. i bow down at your amazing hostessness. and what a lucky lady miss emily is - i would die to have such a beautifully planned party all for moi!

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  2. Wow! So impressed with your decor skills. I love gold fringe background! I am definitely borrowing that idea in the future. Thanks for posting these awesome pics and for the detailed explanation. So helpful!

    -adria

    adriahope.com

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  3. This looks amazing! I hope to host a shower like this someday soon! Shower games are so silly, glad to hear its ok to opt out of them!! Thanks for sharing :)

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  4. such an awesome bridal shower. aren't you glad you got that china?!

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    1. So glad we got the china! I count it as table decoration and figure I don't have to put in much effort because it does such a nice job dressing everything up!

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  5. A+! This is the kind of shower I'd like to have, honestly! Thank you for having the prettiest ideas.

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  6. This is absolutely perfect and definitely provides plenty of inspiration. Relaxed, pretty and fun. Lucky Emily.

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  7. Perfection! And so fitting for the stylish Miss Emily! YOU DID SO GOOD. Bravo!

    p.s. We used those stamps on our wedding invitations! <3

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    1. I am hoarding those stamps from our wedding and using them whenever I can. I bought out an entire PO so that we would have enough for everything and I guess I overestimated because we still have several sheets left.

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  8. Watercolour invitations! I love it. Something I never would've thought to do.

    You have me wanting to cover a wall in gold fringe now, just for the heck of it. Seriously. I love the section that has the photos clipped to it, too.

    (You realise that you could easily go into party planning, right? Just in case you get sick of your day job. ;)

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  9. Wow it looks so chic, but so fun and inviting at the same time. You did such a great job! I love the little mini terariums with animals in them =)

    - Sarah
    http://agirlintransit.blogspot.com

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  10. it looks perfect! i love the invitations.

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  11. lovely! i really like the drink tags. i was at a party this year where we wrote names on the glasses with a marker and it washed off, but champagne glasses are probably too delicate for that.

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    1. So smart and simple, Julia! I love using sharpies on everything.

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  12. it's picture perfect! it's girly without being too frou frou or fussy. great job!

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  13. amazing and perfect. this is not overboard girly but still screams fun!

    xo the egg out west.

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  14. I absolutely LOVE all the details that went into this bridal shower! It all looked very personal and intimate, and very girly which is a plus! What a great job!

    xoxo,
    Maritess
    www.tuesdaychronicles.com

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  15. so impressive. i especially love the watercolors. been doing a lot of thinking about water colors myself lately. you might have convinced me to take a plunge.

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    1. They are so much fun. We contemplated them for wedding invitations, but honestly it was too much work for the 100+ invites we needed. Twelve I can handle!

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  16. What a sweet post and such a special day to share with friends! I love all the little details, so beautiful.
    xo K
    www.lilieslattesandlace.com

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  17. predictably, i love the cats in the globes (it's the spray-painting-and-dollar-store combo, not just the cats, really!). i also really love your strategy, which maximized impact and resonance so beautifully - no wonder emily was so touched. i'm officially going to start WWRD?ing all of my get-togethers; you're truly the master.

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    1. Totally thought of you when I was spray painting the cats! We are kindred sisters of spray paint.

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    2. and i thought of you when i was spraying a frame bright teal last night. team aerosol!

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  18. Wow, what a great party and a great friend! This is so beautiful.

    My jewelry blog: joliejouel.blogspot.com

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  19. What a beautiful shower! You guys did such an amazing job with all the details! I love the coloring you went with!
    http://lindseyyoung.net

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  20. This all looks so nice!! I have been following Emily for a very long time through FB, Twitter, blog... and through her I found you, who I have been following too since a while ago :)

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  21. I've been reading both your blogs for a couple years now, and this seems to be a great expression of both of your personalities. I CANNOT wait to see pics from the wedding. Also, kudos on the ample use of watercolor, its so fresh yet also traditional. Love

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  22. beautiful! You are suce a great hostess!

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  23. You are an amazing hostess. I love that you have the confidence to try unique and impressive appetizers. Sometimes I fall on the safe side because I don't want to intimidate my guests or appear to be "putting on airs." Isn't that silly? I guess it stems from people telling me in the past that my efforts were neither necessary or appreciated. O_o

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    1. Jules, no one should say something like that! I think the only time guests are put off is if the hostess doesn't seem welcoming and I can't imagine you ever being anything other than warm.

      Also - I was a bit flummoxed with appetizers for this party. My usual (only) route is to put out a bunch of cheese and crackers out, add some good cured meats and olives and call it a day. But since I was doing grilled cheese for lunch I felt like more cheese would be overkill. I hunted around for some more veggie based options and then later realized that the two I'd picked both had ham of some sort! Which is not everyone's taste. However, no one ever died of hunger because they couldn't eat the appetizers at a party. Or so I tell myself.

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    2. I know, I thought it was pretty rude, too! Some people take pride in their "I drink cheap beer from a can" mentality. Oh well. You've inspired me to ignore them.

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  24. Hooray for no dumb games!! :) Love the color scheme, works perfectly for Emily's personality. How funny that you two should both wind up as bloggers! Congrats on pulling off such a lovely event.

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  25. This is gorgeous! Such a great color palette. Do you know where you got the tablecloth for the welcome table from? I love it!

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    1. It's actually just a random piece of cloth that I had in my fabric stash! I realized at the last minute that the tablecloth I had planned to use had a huge tear in it, but I ended up liking this cloth even better. Sometimes it helps to be a bit of a fabric hoarder.

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  26. sorry if i missed it, but i would love the cake recipe. it looks so feminine & frothy. absolutely delicious & totally irresistible! if you could pass along, i'd appreciate.

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    1. I used Dorie Greenspan's celebration cake recipe from this book.

      It's perfectly white (so a good base for whatever ombre color you want to use) and fairly tasty. I wouldn't call it the most exciting cake ever, but we all enjoyed it.

      I won't be posting the whole recipe here because it's too long!

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  27. I loved your party!!

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  28. Absolutely beautiful images! Sounds like a wonderful party. x

    Kate {Something Fabulous}
    http://thesomethingfabulous.blogspot.com

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  29. What a beautiful shower! Where is your gold flatware from?

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    1. My gold china is the Gilded Weave pattern by Vera Wang for Wedgwood.

      The flatware is actually silver (although it's hard to tell in this post!) and it belongs to my family. I borrowed it for the party but it normally doesn't live with me.

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  30. Rachel, Can you please post info on how you made the pompoms? They are so fantastic!

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    1. That will be up soon! I'm just pulling a quick tutorial together.

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  31. great! fantastic! perfect! love it!

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  32. This is beautiful! I know from my experience 3 weeks ago that having your best friend throw you the perfect shower is the best treat a bride could ask for. :)

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  33. that cake is killer! whoa i about fell over when i saw it. lovely shower... lovely friends :)

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  34. Looks like a really beautiful gathering. I love the invitations! Any chance you could share how you painted the paper and made the invites themselves?

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    1. Thanks! I will try to do this as well - it should be pretty quick and I'm happy to share the resources.

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  35. what a lovely party.. it looked like so much fun. i love the gold and pink. and the glass name tags. im excited to throw some garden parties in the summer. im new to hosting ;)

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  36. This is such a beautiful party! I especially love the golden cats--such a funny touch. I just made the candle holder version myself and they turned out great!

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  37. Love all the details for this party! Can you share where you got the champagne glasses?

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    1. Thanks, Emily! They are the edge flutes from Crate and Barrel.

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  38. i love reading cupcakes and cashmere because of the great ideas/inspiration/etc... and mostly thankful because it brought me to your blog.

    love it!
    www.honeyandsting.com

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  39. Love it! Can you please tell me were I can buy those amazing champagne glasses?? :)) / www.nathalieahlander.blogg.se

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    1. Hi, Nathalie! They're the edge flutes from Crate and Barrel - there is a direct link in my response a couple comments up. I love them!

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  40. What an excellent shower... thank you for posting! Can you divulge where that incredible gold fringe came from? I could stare at it all day.

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    1. I picked up the gold fringe at Party City. They often have it in a weird aisle that is all metallic decorations and it can take a little while to find, but most party stores stock it, I think. It's fairly cheap and I used two packs for this wall.

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  41. I absolutely LOVE this! It looks like several have already commented and asked you about the invitations so I hate to ask again but I HAVE to! I've been attempting watercolor invitations for the past week or so and just can't seem to get it "right". Your invites are Perfection! Any tips or resources you might be willing to share would be so helpful. Thank you!!

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    1. Sorry! I totally dropped the ball on that. I know I have a draft post started somewhere and I'll try to dig it up and get it finalized in the next couple weeks. Thanks for reminding me!

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    2. I would love to see that tutorial, too! Those invitations are incredible, but I can't figure out what kind of paper to use or what printer to use. And my washes are a little funky. OK, I think I need a lot of help.

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  42. Love the colour combination and the decorations, Great work!
    I know you said the candle holder are from CB2, how much were they?

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    1. I honestly don't remember - sorry!. I bought them around the holidays and I think they were $4 or $5 a piece?

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  43. Cute shower! Great job! Would you mind sharing the cookie recipe? :)

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