Spring not only brings literal showers, but it’s often the season for baby and bridal showers as well! Hosting celebrations for family and friends upon special life occasions is a passion WHERE THE GENERATIONS MEET™ for Lolli and me. For us, it’s all about bringing people together, creating intentional memories, and carrying on the legacy of hospitality as exemplified by our Grandma Ruby. Whether it’s a baby shower or “Sip ‘n’ See,” or a kitchen shower for a special bride, everything we host seems to involve three core elements: fresh florals, decorative details, and fabulous finger foods. We often try to tie in a couple of “wow factor” elements, along with little touches tailored to the occasion and honoree. Here are a few examples and ideas:
Fresh florals are a simple and beautiful way to brighten your home and set a color palette for any event. Lolli and I both enjoy flower arranging, so we do a lot ourselves, but we also work with a professional florist to help with key pieces. If you’re styling your own florals, play with color, texture and size to create balanced arrangements. Start by placing the largest flowers in the vase first and filling in the gaps with greenery and smaller, more delicate stems, and don’t worry about making it look too “structured.” The flowers themselves do most of the work! Just trim all stems diagonally before putting them in water, and MAMA ALWAYS SAID™ a copper penny in the vase helps tulips last longer!
You can also incorporate flowers beyond the vase. For example, Lolli recently greeted guests for a “Sip ‘n’ See” with this beautiful monogrammed wreath in pinks and white by The Garden Gate on the door. She adorned her entry staircase with a spray of florals as well, and for some baby showers, she ties little silver rattles, teething rings, and cups onto satin ribbons, which drape down from a stairwell arrangement for even more creative cuteness.
Lolli and I both collect rose medallion and often use those pieces as a part of our tablescapes. Of course, large floral arrangements can make wonderful focal points for the table, but one of our favorite baby celebration “trademarks” is a fondant bassinet cake centerpiece, which can be filled with monogrammed petit fours or cookie favors. A custom bassinet cake is as much a conversation starter as it is a “wow factor” visual!
As you’re decorating your home to host an event, don’t forget little spaces and other spots. Even just a stem or two in the powder room or on a console can tie the event together. Lolli often pots plants for her breakfast table and in other pretty containers around the house, which provides natural elements that outlast the fresh florals cut for a special occasion. Then, for a recent safari-themed baby shower, I placed a few pink and white flowers in an elephant vase next to the sink and filled a zebra container for a sideboard in the dining room. Animal-shaped vases and containers are a sweet touch in a nursery, beyond event décor use, too!
Details and Decorations
Over many years of observing Lolli as a hostess, I have learned what a difference intentional details can make. People notice all the little touches! Setting out trinkets in-theme with the occasion catches people’s eyes in places they’re not expecting. Lolli has a great collection of figurines and heirloom silver pieces she pulls out for baby showers, such as these sweet rattles, woven into some side table displays:
Another lesson I’ve learned from Lolli is to always include something personalized for your guest of honor! It shows that efforts were made to set this event apart from other occasions. Whether it’s monogrammed napkins and petit fours, or personalized party favors, your guest of honor will feel even more honored by your intentionality. (NOTE: A bride’s married name monogram should not be used until after her wedding. For bridal showers and engagement parties, use her maiden name monogram or the logo from her wedding invitation. Having napkins made with the honoree’s wedding hashtag – i.e. #marryingmarshall – is another modern way to personalize a pre-wedding event!) We also like to add visual interest to a table with a mix-and-match assortment of porcelain plates.
One of the details you can’t forget at a “Sip ‘N’ See” is a bassinet for baby, the guest of honor, where he or she can nap as onlookers adore and swoon! Lolli kept the bassinet she bought for my brothers decades ago, which we still use for my children as newborns! You could also use an antique pram or bassinet as a place to gather gifts at a baby shower if the little one has not yet arrived.
When we celebrated Liza’s arrival, she wore an Elizabeth Layne Heirloom gown and bonnet. Her crib pillow accented the bassinet’s blue and white dotted canopy (and matched the faux one in the bassinet cake!), and she enjoyed her brothers’ musical train pillow which soothed her with a lullaby, as she briefly laid in the bassinet during her “Sip ‘n’ See.” It nearly became a “Sip ‘n’ Scream” at one point when she was overstimulated by all of the attention, so I recommend keeping some pacifiers or a bottle nearby just in case your little honoree needs a bit of quick comfort throughout the party!
For afternoon and cocktail hour events, Lolli and I generally serve bite-sized snacks that are easy to enjoy while standing and don’t require lots of silverware. We usually offer something passed, something sweet, and the rest savory, like a crudité platter, nut mixes, a cheese board, and finger sandwiches.
Our favorite sweets to serve at showers are monogrammed petit fours from Stein’s Bakery. These are a great way to personalize the treats table for your guest of honor. Iced cookies are another go-to for showers, as they come in all sorts of shapes and can make great party favors if you put them in individual cellophane bags with ribbon!
MAMA ALWAYS SAID™ to greet your guests with the very best! Lolli has taught me to pass mini toasts topped with a bacon and cheese mixture straight from the oven upon attendees’ arrival (They never disappoint!) and always have an assortment of drinks offered in a mix of crystal glasses. Servers can then come around with refills as needed. Bite-sized is best for any type of passed hors d’oeuvres, and it’s typical for Lolli to offer sparkling water and wine along with a rosé option in the spring and summertime (We usually only serve coffee or red wine upon request at a large event, since those are the riskiest as far as staining your rugs in case of a spill!). Last but not least, have fun hosting! Attend to your guests and honoree, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself, too.
VOILA, Y’ALL!™ Be sure to reference our Hostess Countdown as a template for planning any event on your social calendar this season. And finally, a shower is all about “showering” the honored bride or mother with gifts! Scroll below for a selection of gifts for a baby or bride of honor, and remember you can always visit our SHOP for more baby, wedding and hostess gift links!
Please tag @lolliandme in your own photos related to SPRING FLOWERS AND SHOWERS! We want to know about your hostess tips, décor details and gift ideas, too!