Friday, March 22, 2013

The Best Bridal Shower ever! :)

The word "epic" is not normally used to describe a bridal shower.

But this one was epic, thanks to an absurd and hilarious surprise from my Grandma Elsa. Frank and I are still talking about it a week later.

Just you wait and see.

The shower started off normally. Lillian and I wore our favorite dresses and took pictures together, as the two brides-to-be:

And of course we took pictures with our fiances before they took off for a few hours to do their own guy thing (in this case, hitting up a local arts festival together).

My sweet Aunt JoAnne was hosting, and she had thought of so many perfect little details:

A darling take on turkey sandwiches...

Appetizers of gazpacho, a traditional Spanish cold soup:

Pretty flowers everywhere:

Miniature potted orchids for party favors:

A darling little "advice station" where all the married women of the family could write down their best marriage advice for Lillian and me (complete with photos of us growing up):

A little photo booth with silly props:

And a traditional Cuban rum cake ... with our faces on it! I had to laugh.

The weather was a dream: sunny, but not too warm to sit outside. And the set-up was beautiful:

(Yes, that is a pool in their backyard... so Miami!)

Best of all, my sisters and mom were there to celebrate with us:

So the shower was going along as showers do. We ate paella for lunch and drank lots of sangria (my favorite!). We played the toilet-paper wedding-dress game (I didn't get pictures but I'll be adding some later from my aunt's camera). We told our sweet relatives how we met our fiances, and all about our plans for the wedding and newlywed life (Frank and I have just about locked in our first apartment).

Aunt JoAnne had asked the boys to come back around 3:30 pm. She'd bought them some fancy eighteen-year scotch for in honor of the occasion.

But no sooner had Frank and Matt sat down on the patio with their drinks, when we heard a commotion from inside.

Grandma Elsa's surprise came walking out to the back...

She'd hired a four-man mariachi band to perform for us and all the guests at the shower!

We were totally shocked. I mean, nobody expects mariachis! So we did the only thing we could do: we grabbed some more drinks and settled in to watch them perform.

These guys were really good. They sang all the classic Spanish songs, changing the lyrics to make them about Cuban girls. They made lots of jokes about how "every man's dream in life is to marry a Cubana!" which got them lots of appreciation from the all-Cuban and mostly female audience. They didn't speak English, so I translated all their jokes to Frank. He was loving it.

Finally, it was time for their last song. "What should we play? A traditional Spanish folk song?" Lots of cheers.

But Grandma Elsa had a request: "Play La Bamba!"

"Should we play La Bamba?" Even more cheers.

"Let's let the bridegrooms decide!" The mariachis declared.

I quickly translated to Frank. He could see Grandma was still cheering for La Bamba, so he called out, "La Bamba!"

If Frank wasn't Grandma's favorite already, he sure is now. La Bamba is the traditional song for conga line dancing, and there's nothing Grandma loves more than doing the conga.

Of course, Frank didn't know that La Bamba is the conga line song. But he found out fast. No sooner had the song started when my relatives lined up and swept the boys off their feet to join in. We conga-ed all around the pool, laughing and laughing.

Then we took some photos with the mariachis (and their hats), and then they were off, probably on their way to the next Key Biscayne bridal shower.

Finally we got a picture with Grandma, the founder of the fun, and the fiestiest dancing Cuban you could ever imagine. If you're coming to my wedding, keep an eye out for her... I guarantee you she'll be cutting a rug in the middle of the dance floor, and just waiting for her moment to shine at the head of a conga line. (Grandma is always leading the conga line!)

What a fantastic day, and what a great party. I was so happy, and so grateful to my wonderful family for putting it all together.

The party didn't end there, of course. We were all hanging out, talking and eating, at Aunt JoAnne's til well after 11 pm. The party never ends on Key Biscayne. :)

The next day was St. Patrick's Day, and we celebrated that in all kinds of Cuban ways too. But more on that later.

Happy Friday, dear readers!  Hope your weekend is delightful!


  1. hahaha love the mariachis!

    1. Isn't that too much? Grandma is such a hoot... hopefully you get to meet her in May!

  2. It looks like you had a wonderful time! Great surprise!

    Jealous of that lovely weather! March is turning out very cold this year. I'm hoping I don't have to wear my wool winter coat on Easter!

    1. I feel ya—the weather here in DC has been freezing too (there was an inch of snow yesterday morning). I'm just holding out hope that March will live up to its reputation and go out like a lamb. Fingers crossed!

  3. Wow, what a beautiful Bridal Shower!! It's so neat that you and your sister were able to share a shower!! I LOVE your dress....Where did you find it, I'd love to know? Thanks for sharing your beautiful story.


  4. It looks like SO much fun. And what a gorgeous family you have!! You and Lillian are going to be crazy beautiful brides.

    Wow, it's really getting close!!!!

    God bless you! <3

    1. Thank you dear Clare! You will be such a gorgeous bride yourself—I can't wait to see pictures of your wedding!