an ARCH’d baby shower
My sister, Kristen, and I have not always been the close friends we are today. Don’t get me wrong. We’ve always loved each other. That family bond and fierce sibling protectiveness has always existed. Just growing up, we didn’t particularly like each other very much. At least not all the time. More often than not, I served my role as pesky annoying little sister all too well. I was Kristen’s little sister almost more often than I was Lindsey. Always there in the background. Always eager to be included in whatever the big kids were doing. Always happy to serve as the guinea pig…which brings us to my first vivid memory of my sister and our good friend, Angie.
While making a tribute video for their cheerleading squad in middle school, a videographer was needed. As the only
willing victim available body, Kristen and Angie were stuck with my amateur skills. I had the pleasure of trying to balance the oversized video camera on my shoulder while they belted out their own rendition of the 90s Spice Girls hit, Wannabe. Over and over. Pretty is not a word I would use to describe the outcome. Funny? Absolutely. It’s definitely a memory I will never forget. We even have the VHS tape somewhere to prove it.
Luckily, as Kristen and I grew up, the lines separating my friends from her friends began to blur. Instead of serving as the annoying tag along, I like to think I’ve now upgraded to at least the side kick. So, when we found out Angie was pregnant with a baby boy, we didn’t hesitate at the chance to throw our lovely friend a baby shower.
The first detail I think of when I find out I’ll be hosting a shower—baby or wedding—is the invitations. As the graphic designer of my family, designing shower invitations is one of my favorite parts of the entire shower planning process. Plus, it sets the bar for the entire shower theme and decor. For Angie’s baby shower invitations, Kristen and I imitated the bedding Angie had picked out for her nursery. Using similar colors and playing off the giraffe motif, I added a little boy twist by making a custom bow-tie out of ribbon and lace to adorn the top of the baby shower invitation.
Invitations are also a great shower decor idea. You can simply set up the invitation for display, or even frame it to dress up a table. Both are shown below.
I carried the same bow tie design over to the dessert table. Foregoing the traditional cake, we went with the ever reliable Muddy’s cupcakes because they are the most delicious things to eat. Ever. To add some flair to the cupcakes, I made my own bow tie cupcake toppers by folding stiff, wide, hemp ribbon, securing it with hot glue and wrapping a different shade of lace ribbon around the middle to cover up the glue. Thankfully, I only burned my fingers once. Or twice. We also included white chocolate covered strawberries as a dessert alternative, which are surprisingly easy to make with a tray of vanilla candy coating from Kroger.
One of the hardest decisions my sister and I run into every time we host a shower, is whether or not to include party favors for our guests. However, we recently came up with the idea to create smaller versions of our wood art as a unique wedding or shower favor. So, why not test them out for our own shower? We scoured Pinterest for inspirational women quotes and overlaid them on floral and book images with vintage filters.
She saw every ending as a new beginning.
Let your faith be bigger than your fear.
She believed she could so she did.
After tying them up with hemp ribbon and personal “thank you” notes, we added them to each place setting as an extra shower decor piece.
Instead of having a free for all on the food table, Kristen loves to set up tables with individual place settings for each guest. That way, instead of everyone standing around attempting to juggle a plate full of food and a drink and somehow simultaneously eat from a fork while praying the food reaches their mouth and not our wood floors, guests can relax and visit with others while they eat. Over the past few months, Kristen and I have been slowly collecting small dessert plates from thrift stores and estate sales to use at each place settings. By sticking to clear and white plates with only silver or gold embellishments, these plates will be able to work with any color scheme at any future shower we host. They also add a shabby chic, vintage feel.
In addition to collecting the plates, we’ve kept our eyes out for white, silver and clear vases to use as center pieces. Colored burlap from Hobby Lobby also serves as a great inexpensive table runner. Because we didn’t have time to collect everything we needed, we borrowed silver napkin rings and white linen napkins from a close family friend. We then folded the napkins accordion style and slid the napkin ring to the center so they could resemble bow ties. For a low-cost place mat option, we alternated white paper doilies with square scrapbook pages from Hobby Lobby.
No wedding or baby shower decor is complete without fresh flowers. We used an assortment of hydrangeas, baby’s breath and tulips, in shades of white, yellow and blue. We highly recommend Whole Foods or the local Farmer’s Market. A wire baby carriage find from a local thrift store served as a perfect center piece and vase alternative.
When it comes to refreshments, I will never host another shower without providing a mimosa bar. When you throw a large group of women together, half of which have never met, a serving or two of alcohol is a great natural ice breaker.
For the perfect mimosa bar, I recommend purchasing plenty of champagne. We went with the ratio of one bottle for every three guests, alternating peach flavored champagne with regular. For juices, we included orange, cranberry, raspberry-pink lemonade and peach-mango. Top it off with bowls of fresh fruit (raspberries, blueberries and strawberries) for extra flavor. Be sure to label all the juices so guests can know their options.
Above the mimosa bar buffet, we have a large circle mirror hanging on our wall. AKA, the perfect place to string up baby pictures of the parents-to-be. Using mini close-pins clipped along hemp ribbon, it is an easy and simple way to add extra baby shower decor. Plus, it’s another good conversation starter among the guests. We strung up extra pictures along our mantle in the back room, as well.
Here’s proof that everyone enjoys a mimosa bar.
For our baby shower food menu, we thought briefly of connecting food with baby names. Because there are only so many baby themed foods that are actually edible, we decided against it. Instead, we served a menu full of quick and easy recipes and brought in the baby shower theme by converting the invitation design into food labels. We bought mini easels from Michaels and stained them with a cherry wood finish to display the food labels. Another quick and easy way to dress up your food table is to wrap fabric tape around toothpicks to adorn any mini sandwiches. Here’s what we included for our baby shower menu (links go to recipes):
- stuffed mushrooms (mom’s recipe, no clue how to make them…but they’re SUPER delicious)
- Captain Rodney’s Dip
- little pigs-in-a blanket (tip: use full sized hot dogs cut in thirds for larger, bite-sized pieces)
- english muffin crab cakes
- buffalo chicken dip
- edamame salad
- pimento cheese sandwiches (self explanatory)
- chicken salad croissants (self explanatory, cut in thirds to make them go further)
I bet if you polled guests on their least favorite part of a baby shower, 90% of them would answer “games.” Kristen shares that sentiment. Who really wants to look at candy mashed up to resemble baby poop in a diaper, let alone taste it? And guessing how large a mom-to-be’s stomach has grown? Not exactly the best form of flattery. Shying away from the games, we settled on a simple baby shower activity of writing messages on diapers for the parents-to-be. Angie picked out some of her favorites.
Just wait til he takes a Krystal poop!
Do you know what the Hell you’re doing? (written by yours’ truly)
Make sure I’m finished.
Oops, I did it again. (another gem written by myself)
A baby shower really comes together by not overlooking the details. Linen table cloths, burlap and ribbon runners, fresh flowers, paper straws, real plates…every little detail adds to the overall picture. With the leftover white paper doilies, I folded them in half and strung them up with hemp string for garland (not so quick, but very easy). Also, as a gift, Kristen and I transferred a copy of Angie’s ultrasound onto recycled wood. Instead of gift-wrapping the art piece, we used it during the shower as decor on our mantle.
We ended the shower with gift opening. The dad-to-be was super excited to help load the gifts into the car afterwards, especially their new Graco Baby Stroller. For our other gift, Kristen and I made custom monogram wood pieces for Angie to hang up in the new nursery. Again, we played off her crib fabric she had already picked out, to ensure everything would match.
One tip to be sure to not overlook is a drink option for the mom-to-be. She can’t exactly go crazy on the mimosa bar. Instead, grab a bottle of Ginger Ale on your grocery run for an alcohol free mimosa alternative. Another great refreshing drink option is iced water with sliced cucumbers, which we now serve at every event.
Need assistance with your own shower event in the Memphis area? We’d be more than happy to help your shower #getarchd. Contact us for a quote.
– lindsey archer