how to throw a shabby chic bridal shower

I love to throw showers.

As a co-host of my last wedding shower, my friends and I planned every small detail via a Google Doc and text messages. And, trust me. A truly great wedding shower is all about those little details.

I assure you my bank account does not appreciate my tendency to have no little detail go unnoticed. I should preface this with the fact that when I throw a shower—be it baby or wedding—Party City is not on my shopping list. Ever. Paper plates and plastic table cloths? Those things in no way scream, “shabby chic.” Therfore, no thank you.

The payoff, however, arrives when I watch the bride-to-be’s face as she first sets eyes on the decor. If tears follow, I have succeeded. Wanting to go for the cry, yourself? Need some wedding shower tips? Here are a few of those little details that truly make all the difference.

1. SEATING: I prefer banquet table style versus everyone grabbing a plate and squishing together on the couch or living room furniture…where they will inevitably spill their mimosa or leave chip crumbs to be discovered months down the road. A banquet table transforms an ordinary shower into more of a big family sitting down to eat brunch together type of gathering. But don’t forget the most important part of the banquet table— the center decor and place settings. I encourage you to have fun with it.

Shabby Chic Bridal Shower Floral Arrangement Vintage Vases Teapots kristen archer photography getarchd

For my latest wedding shower banquet table, we used a burlap runner (thank you, Hobby Lobby) atop vintage white linens.  Fresh flowers lined the center in clear & milk glass vases and white teapots, most courtesy of thrift stores and estate sales.

Shabby Chic Bridal Shower Banquet Tables Vintage Vases Teapots Kristen Archer photography getarchd

I found square “placemats” at target in the dollar aisle (aka BLACK HOLE OF DOOM). I mixed up clear and vintage glass plates (also estate sale finds) over each placemat. Then, each plate held a tera cotta pot labeled in chalk with the wedding date and a packet of wild flower seeds inside for each guest to take home as a favor. The party napkins and happy hour and round gold coasters were a surprise find from Marshall’s.

Bridal Shower Place Setting Shabby Chic Vintage Glass Plates Kristen Archer photograhpy getarchd

Shabby Chic Bridal Shower Place Setting Party Napkins Happy Hour Coasters Wild Flower Favor Kristen Archer Photography getarchd

Shabby Chic Bridal Shower Vintage White Teapot Flowers Kristen Archer Photgraphy getarchd

Fresh flowers are a must for every shower. I suggest Whole Foods or your local Farmer’s Market (downtown Memphis has a wonderful flower selection every Saturday morning). Again, most of my vases have been collected over the years from various estate sales, Marshall’s or the T.J. Maxx Home Good Store.

Bridal Shower Wedding Flower Vintage Vases Teapot Roses Carnations Kristen Archer Photography Getarchd

2. DRINKS: If it were up to me, we would only serve alcoholic drinks at showers because weddings are a crazy time for everyone involved. A few drinks also helps loosen up the conversation around guests who may not know each other. I love mimosa bars. Get a few juices, some champagne (our group prefers the oh so classy Andre) and fruit. The guests can mix their drinks as they please. Though, be sure to keep an eye on the lushes. Pouring champagne over an orange slice does not make it a mimosa. I won’t name names. Around 1am the night before this shower, I found it hilarious to label the berry mix juice “Berry Good Juice.” Feel free to develop your own labels.

Bridal Shower Mimosa Bar Juice Kristen Archer photography getarchd

Bridal Shower Mimosa Bar Grey White Straws Orange Juice Andre Champagne Kristen Archer photography getarchd

Bridal Shower Mimosa Bar Kristen Archer photography getarchd

Bridal Shower Shabby Chic Andre Champagne Lemonade Burlap Lace Kristen Archer Photography Getarchd

Next, I like to add a personal touch on every table.  For the mimosa bar, we included a few framed engagement photos and a piece of coral wood art (currently for purchase in my Etsy shop here). The eye chart reads “Love means never having to say your sorry.” So, not exactly 100% accurate, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Bridal Shower Shabby Chic Wood Art Love Means Never Having to Say You Are Sorry Coral Kristen Archer photography getarchd

 3.  ENTERTAINMENT: I am not a huge fan of playing games at showers. Nothing is worse than being forced to answer a million questions about the bride while thinking to yourself, “Am I that crappy of a friend?? Clearly I need to start asking her more questions about herself when we hang out…” Save the trivia games for the bars where there is an actual prize. Photo booths, however, are usually a huge hit! Plus, they help you capture some great candids of all the guests in attendance. I Googled photo booth props and found an array of free downloads. I edited some of them in Photoshop to say what I wanted and then printed them on card stock and attached them to skewers with gaffers tape—a very simple, low-cost, DIY project. My favorite prop was the number one finger I bought from the craft store.

Bridal Shower Wedding Photo Booth Props Kristen Archer Photography Getarchd

Bridal Shower Wedding Photo Booth props kristen archer photography getarchd mimosas

Bridal Shower Wedding Photo Booth Props Women Kristen Archer photography getarchd

 4.  FOOD: I am not a good cook, nor do I have a desire to ever be one. My contribution to the food at this shower was buying Muddy’s Cupcakes, AKA the best cupcakes on planet Earth. My co-host, K. Ryan, substituted the sour cream in the spinach dip with greek yogurt and it tasted just as good, maybe even better. The other hit was the chocolate chip cookie dough dip. Click here for the recipe.

Bridal Shower Shabby Chic Spinach Dip with Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Recipe Kristen Archer Photography getarchd

Bridal Shower Dessert Receipe Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip Kristen Archer Photography getarchd

My other co-host, Katye, made this cute banner to put over the food table with brown craft paper and white doilies.

Bridal Shower Love Banner Brown Craft Paper White Doilie Kristen Archer photography getarchd

We went to the woods early the morning of the shower with an ax and cut a log to display the cupcakes. No, I kid. We found a hot lumberjack to do it for us. Duh.

Bridal Shower Shabby Chic Muddys Cupcake Bakeshop Kristen Archer Photography GetArchd

One of my favorite little extra detail was the heart sparkler candle I bought at Muddy’s Bake Shop to help the bride-to-be celebrate her future milestone.

Bridal Shower Dessert Muddys Cupcakes Sparklet Heart Candle Kristen Archer Photography getarchd 2

Bridal Shower Dessert Muddys Cupcakes Sparklet Heart Candle Kristen Archer Photography getarchd

5. GIFTS: Since I have started making wood art, I always like to buy something little from the registry in addition to a special piece of wood art or other Arch’d work. It also serves as great decor. For this shower, I made the bride-to-be, Molly, a set of 3 small wood blocks featuring her engagement photos, along with 6 coasters of Nashville-area scenes.

Bridal Shower Gift Table Shabby Chic Wood Art Engagement Photos Kristen Archer photography getarchd

Bridal Shower Shabby Chic Gift Table Burlap Kristen Archer photography getarchd

Bridal Shower Shabby Chic Gift Table Mason Jars Kristen Archer photography getarchd

Bridal Shower Shabby Chic Gift Table Kristen Archer photography getarchd

As you can tell, shabby and chic threw up in my friend’s backyard. Or, in other words, the shower was quite a success. Thank you for everyone who came and made Molly feel special during this awesome time in her life!

Shabby Chic Bridal Shower Flower Arrangement Mimosas Kristen Archer Photography getarchd

Shabby Chic Bridal Shower Kristen Archer Photography Getarchd

My sister and I have a baby shower to plan for May, so check back at the end of next month for baby shower tips!


– written by kristen (then edited by lindsey)


1 Comment

  1. Elizabeth Ennis says:

    I am obsessed with this shower! I love all the small details and everything! I definitely got some great tips for my next shower to host! Thanks!

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