So kittens, I plotted and planned for months and had a host of help! Finally, on Saturday, April 8th, we executed the plan for my daughter’s Bridal Shower. Now you’ll notice that although this wasn’t technically a couple’s shower – everything was incredibly groom inclusive. My thought process was to plan according to my daughter’s wishes yet arrange everything with the groom in mind as well.
After our quick tete a tetes what I discovered was that the kid wanted something elegant, upscale, family friendly (no stripper situations, no penis cakes, none o’dat mess) yes you can cringe! Thank goodness she was not about that life and I’m not being a prude I’m just like seriously, save all o’ that for the bachelorette party!
Anyhoo here are some unique finds that might enhance your wedding or bridal shower, depending on your plans for the event or simply give you ideas so you can expand and do your own thang!
First off, I wanted a unique and very personalized centerpiece and theme. I fell in love with the Gatsby Cottage so I used that small idea to create a bit of a theme. Now I didn’t go all out, I created small, elegant touches all around Mingles (our Queens bar/lounge and chosen venue.)
The Inside of the “cottage” which was actually a lantern housing that I bought previously and modified as a Christmas present for the kids, served as the main focal point. I added the pebbles and rocks (also purchased from Amazon) to create a natural pathway to the cottage. I bought a set of apothecary jars from Amazon and the wedding card bird cage, added the custom cakes and voila – you’ve got the start of something quite elegant and an amazing photo op!
Here’s the inside of the cottage that I’ve dubbed “The Vow.”
If you’d like to see more of the inside of “The Vow” please check out my Youtube video called The Vow Lantern House. You’ll notice that I had Deven in a wedding dress in the original however she didn’t quite dig that look so of course, I changed it to the current version you see above.
If you’re interested in recreating the look see below:
The cakes I ordered from a bakery in Brooklyn (that delivered – $85 for both cakes.) I certainly didn’t want the responsibility of getting it to the venue in one piece.
The small cake had fresh in season berries and cream for the filling and it was Delectable! The large cake (first two tiers are actual cake, large bottom tier is Styrofoam to give the cake some height) was a yellow sponge cake with hazelnut filling. I preferred the berries and cream cake, but they were both delicious. By the by, you could have all three tiers actually made of cake but the cost of course would increase.
The flowers were divine. I purchased them the night before in my hood. Yes you heard me, the night before. I simply filled a bucket with a couple of inches of cold water, threw in a packet of the flower food they gave me and placed the flowers still wrapped in their plastic and paper directly into the bucket. Might I mention, it’s Thursday 4.13 and those flowers are still going strong in my house!
I believe I bought five different bunches and the total cost was $65. Frankly it was cheap for what I received! CHEAP-O!!! I doubt very much I’ll ever buy flowers from anywhere else. They have an abundance of colors, the tiniest most unexpected hole in the wall shop one could ever imagine. I nearly dropped dead to discover that they even have a website!
I bought a few elegant tablecloths from my favorite Jacks 99 cent store and that completed the look for each of the four tables!
Well the joint was sizeable, so I wanted to construct a specialty area in every corner in an effort to get people walking and talking and mingling.
One area of the room I created a unique guest sign in! I found this gem on Etsy! The idea is for everyone to use their thumbprint like a leaf on the beautiful canvas customized for the lovely couple, and sign their print with their initials. The couple can hang up their work of art and recapture their special day at any time!
I bought the thumbprint colors on Amazon, the markers from Staples, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Darth Vader figure on Amazon (because the kids love those characters and though it wasn’t a child’s party, it was nice to elegantly display those simple touches where I could.) I purchased two plain frames from Amazon and printed instructions so anyone could figure how to work it out. Throwing one of the colorful dollar store tablecloths beneath and borrowing one of my vases from home and placing a colorful bunch of flowers completed the look in this corner.
This was probably one of the most talked about pieces throughout the evening. No one ever saw this before (which honestly was what I was going for.) It’s nice to bring something new to the table, both literally and figuratively!
I’ll be honest with you, just like Jesus had to fish for the souls of men, so shall you too. I think when people are drinking and having a good time, and they come across something with more than two lines of instruction, they admire it and keep it pushin. I decided to grab a small group, about 3-4 people at a time, and personally walk them through the instructions, helping them every step of the way. All in all, it was a fun process and by the end of the night, Dev and Matt’s tree had many lovely, colorful leaves!
Don’t forget to purchase a packet of baby wipes so that people can wipe the ink off of their thumbs. My sailor thought of that little helpful tidbit!
The next area we concentrated on was the food setup and a photo-op area.
Even though I ordered the two custom cakes from the bakery, let’s face it, that would only feed maybe 30 people and I was expecting at least double that number. So what the sailor and I did was make a pit stop the day before to BJ’s and purchase 4 different cakes, and three different kinds of cookies to place on my three tier stand, black and whites, chocolate lace and frosted cake cookies. By elevating two of the cakes and having the three tier glass stand to bring height and color with the cookies, the arrangement looked very elegant and tasteful. I also bought the plain white tablecloths – pack of four and chose to use that for the food tables. It kept the entire look swanky and elegant rather than splashes of color which might be attributed to a child’s party.
We also bought two bags of salad from BJ’s and placed a tray of ice underneath the tray of salad to keep it fresh and cool. My parents blessedly purchased the food (which everyone raved about) from Carifesta. This rather killed two birds with one stone, as the food was delicious and whether you’re Muslim or not, most people prefer the taste of Halal food – just ask the Halal chicken and rice guys peppered all over the city!
I double checked all of my items before purchasing with my sister as her head for details is phenomenal. Dinner napkins, dinner plates, dessert plates, bowls for the barra and samosa, serving utensils as well as proper forks (this is a must – do NOT buy flimsy forks after all, you want your guests to thoroughly enjoy their meal.) A few other important items are two types of salad dressing, and perhaps salt and pepper. They have huge containers perfect for such occasions at BJ’s. We also were able to buy all of the aluminum trays, and the warming aluminum food frames as well as the heat gel tins for the bottom. No one had cold food that night!
The photo-op background as well as the frame and hooks I was able to get at Amazon. I did however learn an important lesson: the best pictures using the photo-op were a couple sitting in front of it. The picture comes out full and romantic.
But if you’re sitting or standing and part of a large group, it does not serve a purpose at all. Had I known that I probably wouldn’t have taken pictures with large groups in front of it. But hey, you live, you learn.
There are a million different backdrops to choose from on Amazon. Simply search photography backdrops and make your choice!
We strung lights against the backdrop for added effect!
Of course no photo-op is complete without photo props. I bought two sets from Amazon, saving the swankier one for the actual wedding reception. I opted for Gatsby photo-props and honestly barely anyone used them. So in the future, as people are taking pictures I will point them out and perhaps even demonstrate how fun they can be!
If you’re looking for photo props simply type that in your search box on Amazon and choose the props that best work in tangent with your theme!
The last scene that we cultivated was the favor table. My daughter said she was in love with the “Watch Our Love Grow” seeds. If you’re not aware of what that is, it’s simply packets of seeds that you can plant easily, all you have to do is add water. Well of course I wanted to give her what she craved but I needed to include my own flair as well. So (you already know) that I sourced quite a few of the watch our love grow packets and quite frankly, they’re expensive. I looked into buying a large pack of flower seeds from Home Depot and purchasing small bags or boxes separately and doing the work myself but somehow it wasn’t quite the look I was going for. I discovered exactly what I was looking for on (ya might have guessed) – Amazon. Paper seeds in the shape of hearts and the earth. Not only was it unique and beautiful but with the earth paper seed, it was meaningful as well. I purchased the bulk packages on Amazon as well as these lovely gold swirl pouches, printed out labels with the instructions and arranged them all in a gorgeous tray I already had at home. Placing the instructions and pairing it with a gorgeous pic of the couple on a frame, as well as a delicate floral arrangement and colorful table cloth – well – voila, done and done!
Of course, no photo-op is complete without a professional photographer. Buddy Singh, who we’ve booked on at least two other occasions was good enough to come to this event and take pictures for a couple of hours. And as you can see, his work is impeccable! Some of the pictures that are not quite as crisp were taken by my sailor’s Samsung phone (like the one directly below. Please don’t confuse that with the perfect looking photos throughout this blog that Buddy took.) There are samples of his work on his website.
If you’d like to book Buddy for your event please contact him:
If you wish to purchase the paper seeds on Amazon, please search “paper seeds.”
If you wish to purchase the exact paper seeds I purchased, please click below.
Unfortunately they do not have the earth shaped paper seeds in stock currently. Below is what they looked like.
And basically that’s how we filled a very large area, by strategically setting up elegantly adorned “activities” in all four corners, leaving the middle free for seating, small tables and mingling! It was sheer perfection!
I hope that if you’re planning an event, perhaps this stirred your imagination and gave you some possibilities that you may not have contemplated otherwise.
Have a happy event, we most certainly did!