#MyBestFriendsWedding Chapter 5: The Bridal Shower

Ok guys, so by this point I’ve shown you the invitations and the place tiles, and I’m going to try to make this as short as possible so – welcome to my best friend’s Moroccan Bridal Shower!

AH! The first big event I’ve been preparing for for MONTHS as Maid of Honor finally came and went and I have to say, mishaps and all, it went so well and the most important part is that Michelle loved it and had an awesome time! Michelle’s mom and I planned it together and she was a crucial part in all of it turning out as nice and great as it did, so thank you Marta for all of your help and support with it! Some behind the scenes info:

  • Michelle had mentioned she wanted a Moroccan themed bridal shower before she was even engaged, so I knew that would be the theme, BUT it usually comes with an extremely colorful scheme. When I started my Pinterest board, I tried to focus on the ideas that had the most white, orange and pink to make it more bridal. And then, Michelle fell in love with rose gold, so that became the main accent color next to the white.
  • A few months into the planning, Michelle said to me: “you know I want people to actually come dressed in Moroccan attire, right?” and I was like no, I did not know that, but we can absolutely make it happen! And so we did, as almost everyone came donning their best kaftans and headpieces ❤

With this all said, let’s split the party in sections so that I don’t keep you reading for three hours:

  • Custom Glasses: when Marta and I were looking into tableware, I didn’t want to have plastic cups because they would cheapen the look, and then I remembered the acrylic stackables I used for my Friendsmas party a couple of years back. The problem was, people don’t usually keep track of their cups at parties, so I decided to use vinyl to put their names on it, solving the missing cup issue and also adding a favor they could take home! Win, win!
  • Décor: all I will say here is that I depleted Home Depot of their rose gold spray paint (but good thing rose gold/copper is in because I was definitely able to find TONS of things that were already rose gold, and in some cases, Moroccan too!)
  • Favors: I found these jumbo tea lights from IqraMehndiDesigns on Etsy. She was so great to work with and made the order to fit our color scheme beautifully. Did I mention she’s all the way in Bulgaria and thank God for planning with due time, because it takes two months between making and shipping these to arrive?!?! After the timely arrival, all we did was put them in boxes with filler, a ribbon and a tag 🙂
  • Food & Desserts: Marta took care of ordering the food from a Mediterranean restaurant and it was very yummy! I also asked the groom’s mom, Mayda, to make her infamous Greek salad which is always a hit at parties, and it absolutely was! For dessert, we ordered baklava, and also had some delicious “bundtinis” from Nothing Bundt Cakes, as well as some Ferrero Rocher chocolates, which you guessed it, we sprayed them rose gold too 🙂

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  • Games: I asked the rest of the bridesmaids to help me figure out games that were fun, and we came up with: wear the ring and don’t say bride/Michelle, how many kisses in the jar, Michelle trivia, and find the groom (a picture of Brian hidden somewhere in the party, which he hid himself and it was hilarious!) The prizes were baskets filled with a small bottle of Rosé, a picture frame, a notepad, and a pen – all rose gold of course.
  • Guestbook: since Michelle didn’t want to have a traditional guestbook at the wedding, I thought it would be cute to get her a photo book with pictures of her whole relationship with Brian, and ask guests to fill it with advice for her. She absolutely loved it and it wasn’t a big expense since Shutterfly constantly runs free album offers, so all I had to cover was shipping (plus a few extra bucks for a specific theme that had rose gold, of course).
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The digital proof of the guestbook cover ❤

  • Setup: from the moment I started thinking of the party, I knew that I wanted it to be in my backyard because I had a very specific vision of the table setting around the pool, with a tent for the weather + vibe. It all came together so nicely and Michelle kept telling me she thought the layout was genius, and she loved it all! With a little math figuring out table sizes and organization, it all worked out great!
  •  Snapchat Geo-filter: after Michelle’s engagement party, her sister Andrea was like “we forgot the filter!” and ever since then, I had a mental note to do it for the bridal shower. I worked with DesiPaperThings on Etsy to bring it to life, of course, in white and rose gold.
  • Welcome Sign: I had spray painted my silver easel to make it rose gold for Michelle’s wedding, so I figured we could use it for the shower as well. And because repurposing is queen, I recycled a canvas from a “Paint With a Twist” party that I didn’t like by using gesso to flatten the surface, and with the stencil I created for the failed backdrop I turned the whole thing into a welcome sign 🙂

Of course, I also made props, including a big frame. Marta brought over a portable speaker for the music (we used a Latin music Spotify playlist). We made frosé as the signature drink of the event, and everyone genuinely seemed to have a great time ❤

Because I really try not to make everything seem perfect as we tend to do in social media, here are some of the things that didn’t go as planned (but of course we didn’t let it tamper with the day):

  • Restaurant forgot falafels, which Michelle was looking forward to the most
  • The weather: the amount of wind we got that weekend, we’ve seen only for tropical storms. It was INSANE. The setup was a mission, the tent people got there late because they had to buy sandbags for everyone they set up that day, and it was madness. We also got some rain the morning of while we were setting up the linens, but thanks to the unruly wind and the sun that came out later, everything dried off in time for the guests’ arrival.
  • A table flipped: the wind was so crazy that one of the tables flipped AFTER we had set it up with plates/place tiles/cups (and we used bottles of water and the tiles as weights to prevent things from flying off, but this entire table fell into the pool). Michelle’s dad helped us fish everything out of the pool, but a couple of the place tiles remained under water until the next cleaning… Action shot of the fishing out!

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ALL IN ALL – amazing time, so happy with how it all turned out, and I know Michelle enjoyed it so: Mission – ACCOMPLISHED!

Check out this 1-minute video slideshow that showcases the whole event in just 60 seconds 🙂

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Moroccan Bridal Shower Invites

Hello friends! Now that the year has begun and we got our goal-setting in order, let’s start strong by tackling two head on: make things I haven’t made and make more videos!

With my best friend’s wedding fast-approaching on March 24th, the first big event leading to it is her bridal shower, which I’m planning together with her mom, Marta, and hosting at my house. The first step to get the event going: Invitations.

I wanted something that went with the theme and that was truly personalized, and after my search, I found this invitation image on Pinterest, which was a total “YES YES YES this is it!” moment. I couldn’t find the original maker, but it seemed they were in the UK and so it wasn’t really plausible to get it from them. Hence, the decision to DIY. Now, how?

My friend Sandy mentioned that heat-reactive foil worked on ink that was laser-printed when ran through a laminator. Unfortunately (and I’m still not sure why) when I attempted it, it didn’t work 😦

Then my friend Dorcas recommended I try heat embossing (and Sandy had actually gifted me the embossing tool about a year before) so when that attempt worked out, I knew this was the way to go. I bought the card stock and printed the invitation, and now, onto the fun of embossing. Embossing is a technique where you use an adhesive fluid, heat-reactive powder, and a heating tool that melts the powder to create a metallic effect. I made a video of the process for you all to enjoy, so here it is:

Wasn’t that cool? I swear after 40+ invitations, I was still mesmerized by the effect every single time! The list of materials I used can be found at the end of the blog 🙂

Now, onto envelopes –

I follow a few calligraphers on Instagram, but I think one of the best ones is @calligkatrina, who works on all surfaces and has some stunning fonts as part of her portfolio. When I saw this envelope layout she did, I immediately knew that I was going to use that as inspiration. Because my calligraphy skills are limited, I created a template to keep my lines straight, and I’m actually extremely happy with how it all turned out!

Now off to the post office, lets get some ladies to join us for the bridal shower, shall we?

Have you tried heat embossing before? Here’s a list of the materials I used and where I got them:

1. Card stock (which I cut down from 7.5 x 5.5 to 7 x 5 because I didn’t realize they wouldn’t fit the envelopes otherwise: Hobby Lobby

2. Rose Gold Embossing Powder: Amazon

3. Versa Mark Ink Pad: Michael’s

4. Circle Pattern Stamp: Michael’s

5. Embossing Heat Tool: Michael’s

6. Inkadinkado Anti-Static Pouch: Amazon

7. Pink recycled envelopes: Amazon

8. Rose gold metallic Sharpie marker: Amazon (comes in an assorted 3-pack)

9. Celebration Boutonniere Forever Stamps: USPS

Hosting Friendsmas 2016!

Back in 2012 when the world was going to end, my friends and I decided to throw an end-of-the-world ugly/tacky sweater Christmas Party on the night it was all supposed to go down – December 22nd, 2012. We had a great time, and it was one of the last times we “raged” like college students – most of our party time nostalgia goes back to how rowdy we were in 2012, so that was the last chance we got to show it that year.

Funny enough, the party became an annual thing, but it has evolved a lot from that first rager-style party, to a more sophisticated dinner/gift exchange situation with close friends. This year, it was my turn to host, and I really love to host events at my house and entertain my friends. The best part is, last week during my office Christmas party, I won a $300 gift card, so I was feeling all types of ready to splurge on this party. Let’s look back at what I put together for this fun night!

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The invite! 😉

First of all, I decided not to put up a tree this year (again) because I’m leaving on the 23rd to Colombia, so there was no point in doing that, but that also meant I had to go the extra mile in creating the Christmas ambiance. Also, there were 11 of us total, and I was not going to move the big tables like I did for Friendsgiving two years ago, so with my newly acquired raffle gift card, I purchased a folding plastic table from Costco, which we already had one of. I also got an extra two chairs, since I had 10 at home. So sit down set up? Check.

This is crazy but, from previous set ups from other events years ago, I have two hollow cardboard columns in the garage that were already covered in red and silver fabric, so that decided my color scheme for the party. I brought out the two columns and put them by my mom’s room to block the door, and added a table there which would be where the gifts would go for the exchange. I didn’t put  up a big tree, but I did have a small white tree I used to use in my office cubicle, so I decided to add that to the table.

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I made “snow” out of packing peanuts! Also included the candle favors with a little ribbon ❤

Within my fabric collection I found a piece I did not even know I had, which was long enough to cover the length of both tables stretched out lengthwise, and it was a beautiful red with silver polka dots, keeping the theme cohesion throughout.

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For the silverware/cups/plates – I got the nice-looking plate set from Costco that is white with a silver rim and looks almost like china from afar, but it’s plastic. I got silver plastic cutlery, festive napkins, and for the cups I ordered these acrylic stackable stemless flutes from Amazon that were the hit of the party!

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For the food, since it was 11-12 of us, I decided to get Olive Garden’s buffet catering for 10 people (there’s always more food than necessary), and it was perfect. No cooking, they deliver and set up, all for $115.

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The delivery guy from OG did the buffet line set up and they included the trays, tongs, even brought plates, napkins and cutlery for all!

For the final touches, I got some white and red roses to create thin centerpieces, using some silver leaf stems I had from decor in previous years, and I also got a small candle favor for everyone that smelled like gingerbread cookies!

For the gift exchange, I set up our Secret Santa on Elfster (an amazing one-stop shop platform that does all the sorting work for you), and everyone walked out happy with gifts they had included in their wishlists. I’d say this Friendsmas was a total hit!