March 8, 2014

A "palabras de amor (words of love)" Bridal Shower

My most recent event was the Bridal Shower of a very special bride-to-be - Kiki.  This lovely young lady holds a special place in my heart as she is like a little sister to me and is now getting married to her prince charming who lives far away in a distant kingdom, one she will soon join him in...Therefore, this party was two-fold it was not only a bridal shower but a farewell party. Bittersweet to say the least. 

When I began brainstorming the concept for this special event, I drew inspiration from the long-distance correspondence of these two love birds. Using social media as one of their main forms of comunication, Kiki would often post love quotes/words  on her time-line so that her beloved who lives in this far away kingdom could read them. Her Prince Charming is Latino, so all the love quotes were always in Spanish, always full of emotion and longing and most of all love. I knew then that embracing this exchange of love using words would be the main foundation for my party concept, color scheme and feel. 

Here is a collage of the end result of the months of hard work and hand-made decor details. A "palabras de amor" (love quote) bridal shower: 
(click to enlarge)

But let's pause and rewind a moment and start from the beginning of this event planning journey. As always with any event I plan,  it always begins with a main idea, (see above), I then choose a color scheme and finally I put together an inspiration board of these ideas with pictures I find on the interwebs or have in my archives. Here is the initial design plan I came up with: 

(click to enlarge)

The invitations were a no-brainer for me, I knew that this beautiful rose still-life print from my fine art shop would serve as the ideal backdrop to an invitation that would set the tone for the event to come. I designed the invitation, had them printed and then embelished them using pieces of doillies, construction paper and scrap paper I had left over from other projects. I was really happy with the end result, as was the bride-to-be, her mother and her bridesmaids!

Table Scape/Centerpieces

Moving on to the centerpieces and table scape decor. I wanted this to be a layered vignette with varying heights, textures and colors while staying within the confines of the classic black, white and red color scheme I had chosen. I also wanted to ensure I tied in the "love word" concept to make it all cohesive. The first element I chose were the wine bottles turned black vases that with a special treatment would become another surface from where to incorporate the love quotes. (more on that below)

After gathering various empty wine bottles  (no, we did not consume all this wine ourselves:) from family and friends, I went to work removing the labels. This is no easy process. I had to soak the bottles in soapy warm water over-night.  Once the labels were moist, with an old tooth-brush I began scrubbing off all the labels and sticky residue left over from the wine labels. It is a great arm-workout let me tell you. The next step was to dry the bottles off thoroughly, sand them down to make the glass porous and then paint them with chalkboard paint. It took about 3 coats to completely paint the bottles and it took me two to three nights in between coats. (pictured here my hubby's man room/den that also serves as my crafting area:)

The hard  work paid off however, because I loved, loved the end result..amazing what a little bit of chalk and some semi-decent cursive letters (I'm not the best caligraphist I tried) could do to transform a simple wine bottle into a piece of art. I chose words of love in Spanish to tie into the theme...some bottles also received a special dedication with the bride-to-be's name, her groom's name and their wedding date. 

I then went to work filling out each vase with a fresh organic element of flowers. I chose beautiful red roses for some, red carnations for others and white mini daises for others. Here they are on my somewhat messy kitchen counter (which became crafting central two during this time:) waiting for me to transport them and begin setting up for the party. 

As for the second elment of height for the vignette, I wanted to again incorporate this "words" theme by upcycling paper back books into lovely pedestals. Remember how in this blog post Iprovided instructions on how to DIY a book pedestal of your own?   Well I went to work creating no less than 18 book columns/pedestals for this party, beleive it or not although a bit time consuming, I find the process quite cathartic. My husband would laugh at me because if we ever sat down to watch some TV he'd see me absent-mindedly folding pages after pages until completing my book pedestals. These too were a great hit with the party guests who got to keep take them home as an added gift. 

Speaking of folding, book pedestals were definitely not the only "paper" element of this fiesta. I decided   early on that although I would incorporate fresh flowers into the centerpieces, the "flowers" that would give the most visual impact and color would be these gorgeous tissue paper flowers. There are plenty of videos on you-tube on the how-to of these tissue paper projects which are usually used for pom-poms, but I created a little snippet of my own on my youtube  channel as well,  here is the video if you'd like to view
I promise to beging adding many more interesting how-to videos and decor content soon. 

I also made larger scope paper flowers that were used to decorate the entrance of the venue. 

At home before transporting everything to the venue I did a quick run-through of how I would set up the table scapes. I do this run through for each event I plan. 

Love how in the final set up everything came together so beautifully....

As for the favors, I wanted something that would closely reflect my kiki's other love, coffee. She and I have that in common:)  I purchased individual packets of Starbucks coffee and then decided to wrap them in a  sheet of paperback book tying in the book pedestals (I used pages from The Memory Keeper's Daughter one of my favorite books that I've read over and over) with a bit of modge podge, some pretty decorative ribbon and a recipe I printed out for an espresso martini (another love of kikis are martinis), part one of the favors were complete.

Espresso Martini
1½ oz. Kahlúa
1 oz. Absolut Vodka
1 oz. espresso/coffee

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Enjoy

The second  part of the favors were these gorgeous cocktail/wine glasses I found with the help of my savvy mother that served as the ideal nest for these espresso packages. I loved how everything came together, these unique favors were also a huge hit!  I still have guests asking me were to get the individual starbucks coffees:)

I purchased pretty decorative disposable plates in black/white and red/white  for the appetizers and desserts, love how they tied into the decor without breaking the bank.

For table numbers I found these lovely frames with a little added bling in the color scheme of choice. Under each number is a love word in Spanish. I chose words like" amor (love), passion (pasion), emocion (emotion), alegria (joy)  romance (romance) sentimientos (feeling), etc... to identify each table.

The venue was a lovely historical women's home in Rutherford, NJ, and served as the ideal setting for our party decor set up. I love how the black edged chairs, simple white linen table cloths, paper doillies (that served as ther "runners"),  allowed the black and red centerpieces to pop beautifully against all the white. 

Sweets Table
Last but certainly not least was the sweets table chosen for this event. The mother of the bride-to-be is amazing with her hands and she went to work creating and baking the most beautiful wedding-dress cupcake  cake as well as putting together an array of delicious and beautiful treats. 

I wanted to make sure we gave the sweets table special attention which is why I went to work creating this garland out of sheets of paper-back books (again tying into the book pedestal and "word" theme) and buttons. This was another time-consuming project that involved a whole night of folding sheets of paper accordian style, gluing them together, fanning them out and then adding a button to the center. When I finished more than a dozen  of these, I then hot-glued each "fan" to a piece of twine so that it could hang above the sweets table. 

Loved the final result. 

I also  made sure to have enough blackboard treated wine vases with flowers, book pedestals, tissue paper flowers and love frames to  accent the gorgeous cucpcake cake and other apothecary jars of sweets.

During the transport from my house to the venue, some of the words I wrote with chalk on the bottles began to smear. Although I contemplated erasing them and starting over  from scratch, I actually liked the imperfection of the smears, it gave the bottles more character;)

I wanted to make sure to add a bit of candle-lightlit ambiance to the tables, especially when the dancing would commence and the room would be lit dimly, the glow from candlelight always makes for a more beautiful setting. However, with all of the paper elements of these vignettes, I wanted to avoid possible catastophres with the use of real flame, so I opted for these battery operated candle votives that turned out to be the perfect compromise.  I will be reusing them again for future events.

Needless to say, the sweets table was a major hit with all of the guests (especially the kids who made sure to stay within reaching disance so as not to miss out on the announcement giving them the go-ahead to devour the candy!)

Some close-up shots of the amazing cake, I adored the bling factor she added to the "belt" and all the beautiful details. She's a master at her craft.

These delicious morsels were made by another friend of the bride-to-be.  I love how she tied in the color scheme we chose. I had a bite of these and they were as scrumptious as they were pretty.

The bride-to-be making her entrance... She had the most amazing night, and we couldn't be happier!

The bride to be and her gorgeous family.

My gorgeous Kiki on her special night! 

Kiki was blown away by the decor, the sweets, the food, the event and the party, those of us who worked fervently to make this night a special surprise she won't soon forget couldn't be happier!   Now in less than a couple of months this beloved bride-to-be will soon be a bride! Stay tuned for pictures of that special event as I will be taking some special wedding portraits of the new couple, an honor I cannot wait to fufill...

Stay tuned for upcoming  posts on many fun, exciting and new decor, event and photography projects.

If your looking for creative, capable and always affordable party planning advice, or need a detailed-oriented Day-of-Coordinator, look no further. Please email me to, or message me to my Facebook Page and we can get started planning an unforgettable event night of your own!


  1. The flower in the black bottle is very nice! You are very detailed (like me). Great job!

  2. Lovely bridal shower!! Have never seen such an elegant bridal shower before. It reminded me of my friend’s bridal shower arranged at New York wedding venues. Event planners were hired there who made all preparations awesome.