Friday, July 4, 2014

Two Parties in a Pod

My sister is getting married this summer, and my biggest responsibility as matron of honor was to plan her bachelorette party and bridal shower. I'm pretty proud of the results, so I thought I'd share some of the details here.

Note: Due to so many guests (including my sister and I) having to fly in from out of town, we held the parties back-to-back, hence "Two Parties in a Pod".

The bachelorette party was unconventional. I didn't have a bachelorette party myself, and I frankly would have been useless at planning the traditional type, so with the bride's permission, I based the party on the Midnight Dinners from Erin Morgenstern's novel The Night Circus. In the book, these dinners were sumptuous affairs with very few guests, wondrous entertainment, and food so good that the host wouldn't disclose their ingredients.

Left: I used a red ink pad and a stencil to make envelope liners, and the invitations were tri-fold, held together in the front with sticky-backed ribbon and badges with a quote from the novel; Middle: a wrapped copy of The Night Circus; Right: invitation assembly; I stenciled the backs of the RSVP envelopes and cards and found address labels and stamps that matched the color scheme
We held the party at 7 instead of midnight, but otherwise, I think I was able to capture the essence of those fictional meals. There were only 12 guests and the dinner was held in a restaurant's private room that doubles as a wine cellar. The color scheme was black, white, and red because that's the the color scheme of the novel's eponymous circus, and those colors lent themselves well to a nighttime Victorian dinner. The guests all wore black and white and my sister, the bride-to-be, wore red. Our entertainment was the sweetest violinist who was so good, my sister insisted on keeping her an hour later than we'd planned.

The Details (clockwise from top left):
  1. Chocolate mice favors from L.A. Burdick in NY, apparently the exact mice that inspired Erin Morgenstern when she was writing The Night Circus
  2. Vignette table with framed B&W pics of my sis and her fiance, a framed print of the novel's protagonist, Celia, along with a mat that guests signed, and a Wishing Tree (inspired by a tree from the novel) on which guests hung candles and made wishes for my sis
  3. My place setting, ft. calligraphed placecards and LED tealights inside real wax holders
  4. Boxed favor - L.A. Burdick was kind enough to package the mice in the party's color scheme
  5. Red bows tied around each chair
  6. The complete tablescape (everyone sat together at one table)
  7. I sent temporary tattoos to every guest so we'd all match at the party; you can also see a sliver of my black and white dress and red nail polish in this pic
  8. Close-up of tablescape ft. handmade table runner
  9. (center) Close-up of centerpieces by Red Poppy Floral Design - red carnations and lush black magic roses in mercury glass pedestal bowls
* * *

The bridal shower took place the following afternoon. The theme of this party was rain - a 'rain shower' - get it? This party had twice as many guests and a color scheme of turquoise, navy, and orange.

The Details (clockwise from top left):
  1. Instead of favors, we played a gift-stealing game in which guests had to answer trivia questions about marriage traditions; if they answered incorrectly, they got to open a wrapped present like the ones shown here; if they got their question right, they could open a wrapped present or steal a gift someone had already opened; very few people stole despite my mother's vehement encouragement that they do so
  2. The tablescape - one long table for all the guests ft. a filato paper runner and chair bows
  3. Balloon 'clouds' with ribbon 'rain'
  4. Vignette table ft. framed photos, silk flowers in watering cans, and floating candles
  5. Tablescape again - my mother planted begonias which we used as centerpieces, alternating them with tall glass vases that held parasols and acrylic 'raindrops'; you can also see the banner I made in the background
  6. Calligraphed placecards with a raincloud-inspired stamp
  7. Cupcakes with mini umbrellas
  8. My place setting
  9. (center) A custom-color m&m mix inside tiny pails lined with wax paper
* * *

Frankly, I'm exhausted just thinking about these parties again. They were a lot of work, and while I'm thrilled they went well, I'm also relieved to get back to writing without distractions.

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