Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Photo-Heavy Post Examining Every Detail of Sarah's Shower, Because (Some of) You Asked For It

Let me start off by stating that this shower was extremely thrifty. The girls and I are proof positive that you can throw a beautiful bash without spending much cash.

Holy moley, that rhymed, and I'm not much of a rhymer, but it seems too serendipitous to correct...

Let's start with the tables, shall we?

We used several banquet tables, along with 2 rounds. We knew from the start that we wanted to use vintage china and drinking glasses. (I have collected $1 plates for years from garage sales and thrift stores and the other girls had some, too. Even Sarah herself contributed a stack of plates to the cause.) Because we were using "real" plates and such, it was important to us not to have the metal banquet table legs showing...but buying or even making tablecloths was out of the question. Someone came up with the brilliant idea of using white sheets, which Holly scored for a couple of dollars apiece at a local thrift shop. We then topped the sheets with some of Lois's smaller, vintagey lace toppers.

Next item of business - napkins. Again, everything else was "real", but we did not have a stash of 30 cloth napkins at our disposal. So, we went with paper, for $2.49 a package. Thank you, Tuesday Morning!

I fretted and frittered over the mixing of so many patterns, but the paisley spoke to me. In the end, the soft blue was the perfect contrast and brought out some of the blue shades in the plates and it looked perfect against the vintage sheet music.

(Am I the only one craving an apple fritter donut?)

Speaking of the sheet music - I found it for peanuts at the antiques store in town. I sorted through the big stack and snagged only those 1) without words 2) without too many crazy notes (trust me on this) and 3) with brown tinged paper. It was purely bonus that the titles I wound up with included "Romance", "Lover", "Spring Morn" and so forth.

The favor bags/place cards were from the Martha Stewart line, found at TJ Maxx for $3 for 8. The included white ribbon, but I used a fiddy cent spool of vintage pink seem binding (is that what it's called?) because I thought it needed lipstick.

The favor bags held a lone Garden Shortbread cookie (only one would fit inside the little paper bag) and a packet of zinnia seeds.

These cookies smelled like a dream while they baked and they were unique and tasty and perfectly befitting the Garden Shower theme.

For the seeds, I bought 2 regular packs of seeds ($1 total). I then cut a small portion of the original seed packet to fit the size of the paper bag and color-copied it. I cut them out, taped them on with double-sided tape, tossed some seeds in, and stapled the bag closed.

So inexpensive and charming and Gardenesque. Plus, who doesn't love Zinnias?

Apparently nearly everyone at the shower, since they almost all left them behind.

One more reason not to break the bank on this stuff, folks.

But back to the really fun stuff...

As I mentioned earlier, the flowers were mostly cut from our respective gardens. We used my collection of garage sale milk glass along with plain, old soup cans as vases.

Lilacs from my yard, rhododendrons from Loey's. Roses courtesy of Meijer.

The flowers were utter perfection and I am convinced that they would not have turned out better if a fancy-pants florist had put them together and charged us an arm and both legs.

The food labels were an extra, cost-free touch of whimsy. We labeled "Meat" (sandwiches), "Greens" (fun salad), "Potatoes" (potato salad), "Sweets" (dessert table) and "Drinks".

Speaking of the sandwich...the sandwich caused us much consternation as we were on the hunt to find something more special than ordinary cold cuts, but it needed to be inexpensive, too. We all dilly-dallied on our search for recipes, so I dreamed one up: Regular old sandwich buns with sliced turkey, a smear of spreadable Brie, sliced avocado, sliced strawberries, baby spinach and dijon mustard. It was purely luck that avocados were on sale for $1 each and strawberries are in season. The Brie was an unnecessary splurge, but one $4 container was all we needed.

The other girls did a spectacular job of baking up the treats.

Don't they look phenomenal perched up on Loey's cake stands?

He thought so.

Can we take a moment to talk about Ralphie?

In all of the planning I did for this party, I never once considered that Ralphie would be a problem.

To say that he was a "problem" would be an understatement.

This brute paraded through the ladies with a half-dead mouse in his mouth, then he leaped up on the fully-loaded dessert table. (God bless my SIL, who has the reflexes of

Just when we thought his antics were over, as Sarah opened gifts, he commenced in attacking a baby bird, resulting in a raucous dive-bombing from Baby Birdie's kin.

Tears were shed by more than one guest.

We promised a serene Garden Shower in the country. We delivered a back-woods bash, complete with multiple varieties of wildlife carnage.

Bad Ralphie. Bad!

The final detail worth mentioning is the vintage handkerchief line. I have seen it done before and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it for myself.

It was my favorite aspect of the whole shebang. I wanted to leave it up forever. And the only expense was a batch of new clothespins, which I needed anyway.

Dare I say...swoony?

So, there you have it. I hope I have answered all of your questions. Thanks for the fun feedback on what we created together! My advice? Go all out, when opportunity knocks. Pull out those Tea-With-The-Queen pieces and use them!