Baby Shower Garden Luncheon Affair
When planning a baby shower, yours or someone else’s, it is always important to consider the personality of the celebrant as well as her taste and likes. Ensure that the theme of the event pervades through the invitations, venue, season and menu thus tying it all together. And it is of course best to allow sufficient time for hosting this occasion, perhaps a couple months, prior to the honoree’s bundle of joy scheduled arrival.
The theme for my baby shower was Garden Luncheon Affair. I wanted it to be a feminine elegant ladies’ lunch set outdoors with luscious green background filled with the radiant clear September light and sweet crisp late summer air. I wanted to have one long table filled with my closest friends and family to celebrate and cheer the new upcoming chapter in my life- the motherhood. My friend Vilma graciously offered to host the shower in her beautiful home in New Jersey and the weather cooperated magnificently!
Rustic elements of decor
I had three long dark wood vintage farmhouse tables arranged in one line flanked by lovely classic fruitwood Chiavari chairs with carved legs. Long runners made from gorgeous vintage lace in white adorned the entire length of the table. I used mismatched vintage dinnerware and flatware to complete the look and was really pleased with how all elements worked in tune with each other to create my sought after atmosphere of rustic elegance. A separate grouping of Victorian McLendon cranberry chairs and a matching settee on a patio across from the table, next to the dessert station, provided a touch of old world formality. I worked with a terrific rental company called Vintage Affairs where I was able to find everything I needed including furniture, china, stem wear and utensils. While they are based in Maryland, their delivery and pick up service was super convenient and efficient.
No tablescape is complete without a touch of flora. I chose Myrtle topiaries planted in moss covered terracotta pots and put them together in groupings of various heights which helped to transform the linear plane of the long table into an intimate setting for a gathering of friends. To add a splash of color I used peach roses displayed in low mercury glass containers and mixed it all together with fluffy moss balls throughout the entire length of the table. The final arrangement looked really cool, added an element of modernity and sublimely changed the ambiance to be even more convivial.
Mismatched vintage dinnerware adds character to the table setting. Each guest will dine and wine from an individually selected plates!
Hand written name tags are always so informal and welcoming.
Victorian chairs and settee with rustic coffee table work wonderfully for the after lunch dessert, games and gift giving ceremony.
The two-tiered shower cake designed to resemble delicate autumn foliage was the star of the dessert station and channeled the theme of the garden luncheon affair.
Light as air macaroons are always everyone’s favorite and cake lollipops were also a hit.
“Flower Wall” by Blooming Bears
Did you ever want your own “step and repeat” vanity wall? Well, the “flower wall” of white hydrangeas, light pink spring roses and garden roses in a giant picture frame will certainly be one of the most interesting conversation pieces of your party and the chicest step and repeat anyone had seen. This fresh and unique feature was created by my friend from Blooming Bears and everyone wanted to take a picture in front of it.
Decide on the menu
Despite any fabulous décor and tablescape food will either make or break the party and it is always one of the things that your guests will remember the most. At the end, food and drinks are always the deciding factor on whether your gathering was a success. Therefore, make sure that the menu corresponds well with the theme and type of the event (brunch, sit-down lunch, buffet station, etc.) and reflect honoree’s tastes and favorites, if she has a sweet tooth or is a foodie, or likes comfort food, now is the time to indulge her!
When I think ladies’ get together, champagne with raspberries comes to mind. We served a magnificent pink bubbly to get the party started which my guests absolutely loved!
Tea Sandwich of lox with cream-cheese on black rye bread. It is nice to start a gathering with small bites of hors d’oeuvres.
Create an ambiance
Creating a great ambiance is one of the most important aspects and goals of party planning. Some parts are subliminal, pay attention to details and really give some thought to the seating chart; it will make a world of difference if your guests are having good conversation, bonding and having a splendid time. While at times frustrating it is also rewarding when you are able to successfully mix people together at gathering, know your guests, be thoughtful and patient and you’ll make everyone happy. If you are the host, stay in charge of the flow of the event and also be sure to stay on top of things in the kitchen!
Cold Gazpacho with corn shrimp salsa was perfect on a hot September afternoon.
My old time favorite- Grilled octopus Salad in individual cups.
Pork Belly with Quail Egg Yolks were delightful little bites!
Pick your drinks
Good champagne, wine or cocktail will enliven any gathering. Our cocktail hour was followed by sit down two-course meal accompanied by an excellent Rose Commanderie de la Bargemone 2013 from Provence and a Pouilly-Fumé Karine Lauverjat 2013 both of which really complemented the main course. Always choose couple of options for wine- one lighter and the other more full-bodied, that will accommodate even the most finicky of your guests. Ask a sommelier at the local wine shop to help if needed. Wine doesn’t have to be expensive but the right choice of one will definitely bring the party to the next level. There is of course, no shame in serving lemonade in solidarity with the mommy-to-be!
Individual Trio of Burrata Cheese Salad, Fig Foie Gras Napoleon & Beet Portabella Napoleon is a delectable first course. Feminine and delicious, the chef decorated each plate with an edible flower.
Tuna Tar-Tar in cones family style.
My friend Vilma, who hosted the baby shower, gave a great speech, filled with warmth, love and plenty of parenting advice!
Braised Chilean Sea Bass on Cedar paper with Grilled Vegetables was a winner. This fish always remains moist and flaky, ideal if catering outside.
My favorite part of the shower were the games. We had a really fun one at my shower. It turns out that Vilma, the hostess of the event asked all guests to bring their baby pictures. As the day progressed and everyone cheerfully moved on to the dessert and coffee, the guests gathered on the chairs around me and I was given the box with all of their baby pictures and had to guess which photo belonged to whom. I always loved old photographs especially of people I know but let me tell you, it got really tricky! I tried to make logical connections by carefully peering into my friends features, outfits and surroundings on the old photos; sometimes I felt like I was walking on egg shells but the explosion of laughter when I guessed right (or sometimes wrong) was well worth it! The gift giving ceremony followed right after with plenty of cutesy little outfits, baby essentials, plenty of motherly advice, accompanied by good cheer and fun.
Photographed by Gary Flom.
1. Catering and Dessert by Duet Bakery Boutique.
2. Rentals by Vintage Affairs .
3. Flower wall by Blooming Bears.
4. Myrtle Topiaries Plants by Jerome Florists.
5. Straw Placemats by Juliska.
6. Invitations and Coordinates by Kasia Creations.
6. Event planner Art de Fete.