Monday, June 4, 2012

Maggie's Bridal Shower

Frank and I had a big scare Friday night because tornado warnings in DC caused our flight to Chicago to be rescheduled to Saturday afternoon. We managed to switch to a flight out of Baltimore Friday night, which meant we had an hour and a half to catch a plane in an unfamiliar city an hour away, all while driving in drenching rain and bad traffic. That was one heck of a tense car ride! I was afraid we would miss it and have to drive to Chicago through the night. (I wasn't afraid we would miss the bridal shower because that was never an option in my mind). But I prayed a Rosary in the car and found out our flight was delayed, so we made it to the airport in plenty of time. I love when Our Lady pulls through like that.

Frank and I stayed up late on Friday night helping my mom cook for the shower. We also printed up score cards for a fun game of Bridal Shower Bingo and hand-dipped several dozen chocolate-covered strawberries. On Saturday, Frank was worth his weight in gold while we were setting up. Every time someone had to reach something high up or lift something heavy, we would call "Fraaaaank!" and he would come over and take care of it. He helped me fold napkins and set the tables, carried the pianist's keyboard around, lugged tables and chairs back and forth. Then he bowed out just before the guests started to arrive to go fishing with my dad and brother.

The bridal shower was absolutely dreamy. I don't even have the words to tell you how lovely it was so I'll let the pictures do the talking. And keep in mind that my mom and Lillian did 95% of the prep for this celebration. Frank and I each did half of what was left, so I'm only responsible for about 2.5% of what you see here.

For decorations, Maggie's sisters (she has 4 sisters and 3 brothers) brought photos of her in lovely frames. We placed them on all the tables and scattered throughout the party. The one below shows her fiance holding her hand with the engagement ring on it.

You can see the pretty pastel napkins that Frank and I folded in the background. Lillian made the centerpieces using stuff we already had around our house: Mason jars and little bowls. She bought the flowers and pastel candies plus ribbon to decorate.

Caroline was the designated photographer. She snapped pictures of everyone and everything.

We borrowed dozens of glass champagne flutes from friends who have a catering company. We mixed at least 40 mimosas in those babies!

My mom and Maggie's mom made all the appetizers. Lillian and I recruited our little sisters and their friends to walk around serving appetizers to the guests. They were very good little waitresses and we were grateful for their help.

Frank in one of his many helpful roles before the shower started... opening up all the champagne bottles as Maggie fixed Lillian's hair. Mum put a string across the doorway to discourage guests from going into the kitchen, which was a good idea since the kitchen was abuzz with activity!

 Maggie's oldest sister, Hope, looked like she had just stepped off the pages of an Anthropologie catalogue in the prettiest lacy pink dress, wedge sandals, a fun mix of jewelry and her gorgeous red curls.

 Maggie's aunt Kelly came with her newborn 12-day-old baby girl... her tenth baby. The oldest is 22. That little baby was the life of the party. We all begged to hold her and she was passed from person to person.  Her mom hardly held her at all.

Several women commented that it was so nice to have a baby at the shower to remind us what marriage is really all about. Maggie's mom declared that "Every bridal shower should have a baby at it!" and we all agreed, as you can tell from our happy faces. We couldn't get enough of that sweet little girl.

The guests gathered on our back deck to mingle and chat. Fortunately the weather was perfect.

Me, my sisters and Maggie's sisters all gathered by the front door to greet guests. As soon as a guest arrived, we would hand her a mimosa and direct her out to the sunny garden.

The self-appointed greeting committee:

A few old friends from high school came too. It was a delight to catch up with them and introduce a few to Frank after the party.

 Caroline, hard at work. She took her photographer duties very seriously.

 My sister Cathy, waiting for guests to arrive.

Finally it was time for lunch. We gathered outside and Maggie's mom led us in the noontime Angelus prayer and thanked Our Lady for the beautiful day. Then the ladies lined up inside for a French-themed buffet: chicken crepes, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, fresh baguettes and a fruit salad. My mom cooked almost everything and it all turned out delicious.

The ladies gathered in the garden just before lunch.

After lunch in the garden (and I can't believe I don't have pictures of the lovely table settings with the napkins Frank and I folded!), Mum put out a selection of tea, coffee and desserts.

Maggie's mom and sisters made most of the desserts, with the exception of the cake in the middle. That one is a white chocolate mousse from our favorite local bakery. Maggie and I have always talked about featuring that cake in our weddings because it's both delicious and very pretty. Since her wedding will be in Nebraska (in her husband's hometown), we had to have it for her bridal shower instead.

Her mom and sisters made delicious lemon bars, Bailey's truffles, strawberry mousse and chocolate mousse cups, and the most exquisite chrysanthemum cupcakes. Seriously, those cupcakes. 

Each one was individually decorated by her sister Meredith, who runs a small baking business. Those cupcakes tasted better than they looked, if that's even possible - light as a feather. If you're in Chicago and need a baker, I definitely recommend Meri!

Here is a close-up of Mrs. Whitten's delicious strawberry mousse. That stuff was addictive and very light and creamy - perfect for a garden party shower. 

On the other table you can see the chocolate-covered strawberries that Frank and I hand-dipped the night before. We had a great time doing it, especially eating a few extras.

Frank decorated some of the white chocolate ones with milk chocolate squiggles. They came out looking so elegant. 

As the ladies left the party, each one received a favor of floral-scented hand lotion wrapped in a white flower pot with a bag of truffles (made by Maggie's sisters) tucked underneath. Lillian purchased all the supplies from Hobby Lobby and the dollar store and assembled the favors herself. She did a spectacular job and they were a big hit.

 Finally, after the party was over, we collapsed on the couch. Three best friends - one bride and her two Maids of Honor. We were overflowing with happiness at how well everything had gone.

During the party, I overheard one lady say, "This is the quintessential bridal shower! It's the prettiest one I've ever seen." I'm sure she was flattering us but of course I had to repeat the compliment to Lillian, Maggie and my mom, which made them all smile. Almost every thing at the party was homemade, hand-made or borrowed for the day. We had perfect spring weather and everything turned out beautifully. We were so happy that the day went so well for our Maggie.


  1. Looks like an exquisite afternoon. You and all the ladies look simply gorgeous. God bless you!

  2. Everything looks lovely and all the details make such a difference! How blessed your friend must be to have 2 maids of honor (=