Four years ago we were planning my son’s summer wedding. It was a fairly large wedding with just under 200 guests and we had over a year to plan it, but we were quite busy the whole year.
My two daughters were bridesmaids as were the bride’s two cousins, her maid of honor was her high school best friend. We all assumed that the maid of honor would do her duty and plan both the bridal shower and a bachelorette party. The bridesmaids offered their help about 7 months before the wedding; the MOH said she’d get back to them.
We were all shocked when one month before the wedding the MOH told the bridesmaids that the bride didn’t want the shower nor party, and she, the MOH, didn’t have time to plan them.
A week later as we were putting welcome bags and favors together a discussion about a shower and bachelorette party ensued; the bride was waiting for her MOH to throw both. We didn’t have a choice but to break the bad news to the bride, thankfully she didn’t quite have a melt down! Instead she called a meeting with her bridal party for the next day, I was invited along. It was an awkward meeting, but the MOH agreed she could make time to plan the parties, that is until she sent a text to the bride later that evening quitting! She stated she was just too busy to take on MOH duties and didn’t like the bridesmaids.
This unnecessary drama was upsetting, but the bridesmaids stepped up to the plate. The MOH was replaced by the bride’s cousin and another cousin was appointed bridesmaid, thankfully the gown fit the new bridesmaid and the old MOH returned it!
Once the dust settled we realized we had 2 weeks to plan and execute a bridal shower and a bachelorette party; and we didn’t even have a guest list! Undaunted the girls set to work with the help of their mothers. Together with various friends and relatives we were able to throw both events without anymore hitches! Thank goodness for Party City!
Thankfully when my daughter got married the following year her bridal party planned her bridal shower and bachelorette party well in advance. The Las Vegas themed bridal shower was held at our house in honor of the Las Vegas wedding. The bachelorette was in Las Vegas and didn’t require a whole lot of planning other than transportation. The bridal party was very much on the ball and got everything done. Their drama didn’t start until the day before the wedding! But that’s a different story!
I hope no one else has to go thru the wedding drama we did, but if you do rest assured you can still plan and throw a great party at the last minute. Whether the bridal shower you’re planning is last minute or not here are some ideas to help you get started.
*clicking on product links will take you to our Amazon affiliate.
A Paris/Chanel Bridal Shower is perfect for the bride who is a fashionista, is off to Paris on her honeymoon, or both.
You can get inexpensive Paris themed decor, like the Eiffel Tower, at Ross, TJ Maxx, discount stores and on Amazon.
You can change up the colors, but keep the black, it’s tres chic!
Serve dainty finger food, French macaroons, and don’t forget the champagne!
An Italian Themed Shower for a bride who loves to cook, is going to Italy for her honeymoon, or both!
Set up food stations: Pasta Bar, Italian Soda Bar, Bruschetta Station, Wine Bar, and even a Gelato Bar.
You can decorate with herbs planted in tomato sauce cans, and jars of assorted pastas, they can double as party favors and game prizes!
We did an Italian themed “Despidida del Soterra” (good-bye to singleness) when my daughter got married. We served different types of pastas and sauces and lots of breadsticks and garlic bread.
Beach themed parties are always fun. It’s the perfect bridal shower theme, specially if the honeymoon’s at some romantic tropical island like Hawaii or Bora Bora.
Decor can be dreamy and bright, calling to mind tropical breezes and gentle ocean waves.
Use shells, wind chimes, and sandcastles to create a romantic background.
Serve fresh salads and seafood. For dessert offer tropical fruit mousses or sorbets.
Nothing screams romance more than a vintage garden tea party. If you’re bride is a romantic it’s the perfect bridal shower theme for her.
Have it outdoors if weather permits. Instead of tables and chairs lay out a pretty cloth to sit on and make it a picnic.
You’ll have ready made decor with the surrounding trees and flowers, enhance them with pretty lanterns you can hang from low tree branches. Wildflowers in vintage bases add romance.
Serve tea sandwiches, scones, and other tea party fare on vintage china and teas in silver or pretty china teapots.
Don’t forget to line serving platters with paper doilies for added cuteness!
A Las Vegas theme is popular for bachelorette parties, but it works for a bridal shower as well.
The girls had one for my daughter, her wedding was in Las Vegas. Decorating was easy and inexpensive; lots of playing cards, dice, and crap table/blackjack printed felt used as tablecloths.
Serve fun foods such as sliders, chips, dips, and mini tacos.
Pamper the bride and her guests with a spa bridal shower. It’s a great way to unwind and visit with her friends before the big day.
You can set up DIY stations for facials and mani-pedis. Your supplies can serve as decor and favors.
Serve fresh salads and infused water and play soothing background music. With treatment like this everyone will be ready for the wedding on time!
Learn how to make your own bath salts click here! They make great favors, pack them up in small jelly jars, too cute!
For the bride who loves to cook and bake or the bride who needs to learn how, a kitchen/cooking shower is a great idea.
You can plan on a cooking/baking demonstration as part of the event. Have each guests bring their favorite recipe written on a recipe card to share with the bride.
Decorate with kitchen utensils and gadgets, they can double as favors or the bride can take them home for her own kitchen.
You can serve the bride’s favorite foods or just about anything you like.
For the elegant bride plan a Breakfast at Tiffany’s shower. It’ll be extra special if she happens to be an Audrey Hepburn fan too!
Your colors are set, Tiffany blue and white of course! Decorate with strands of faux pearl necklaces, over sized “diamond” rings, and other bling.
You can set up a breakfast or brunch buffet, don’t forget the Mimosa or Bloody Mary Bar!
For the bride going on a honeymoon cruise send her off in style with a nautical themed bridal shower.
Decorate with fishing nets, lighthouses, anchors, oars, and other seafaring gadgets.
Serve fresh seafood and salads, and set up a Bloody Mary Bar.
Throw a Floating Umbrella Garden Party, it is a shower after all! I just love this idea of using umbrellas for decor, it looks so fun! I think it’s a great idea for a spring bridal shower.
You can make it a tea party and serve finger foods and tea cakes. Use bright colors to make it fun.
This month we hosted an 80th. Birthday Party for my Mom in her Texas home. Guest seating was outdoors and mosquitoes were a concern. To keep these nasty bugs away my mother had her yard man spray mosquito repellent and we incorporated these Citronella Jars in our centerpieces, it worked out well, no one got any mosquito bites that night.
These jars are so simple and inexpensive to make and will fit any party theme or decor. I’ve used them for outdoor barbecues, birthday parties, and pretty much any outdoor event. I find them much prettier than store bought citronella candles and torches, cheaper too! You can use ribbons to match your color scheme or for a more rustic look use burlap ribbon or twine.
I fill the jars with fresh herbs that are have natural mosquito repellent and citronella essential oil. I try to use herbs from my garden when possible making these jars even more economical. Mosquito repelling herbs include Lavender, Mint, Lemon Balm, Basil, Catnip, Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, and Lemon Verbena. There are other plants and herbs that have natural mosquito repellent qualities, but I like to use the ones I listed as I have them in my garden. I like to use 2-3 different herbs and choose herbs with leaves that look good together. I add lemon and lime slices for color and a floating candle at the top to keep the herbs from floating over the jar rim.
If you use homegrown herbs each jar cost about $2 or less to make. I got the Citronella Essential Oil from HEB for just a bit over $5. I made a dozen jars and still have more than half the bottle of essential oil leftover. I got the Mason Jars (about $1 each) and floating candles (6 for $4) from Walmart. If you need to buy fresh herbs you can buy small amounts for about $2 – 3 a package in the produce section of most grocery stores, but if you need to make a lot of jars you will probably get a better deal at your local farmer’s market. If you can’t find a farmer’s market nearby consider buying pots of herbs from the garden department of Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, or your local garden shop; it’s less expensive than buying sprigs from the grocery store and you can plant leftover herbs to use next time.
Here are directions for making your own Citronella Jars, the best part it you can reuse the jars for other events, just change the ribbon to fit your decor!
Quart Sized Mason Jar
Sprigs of Fresh Herbs – Lavender, Rosemary, Mint, or any other mosquito repelling herbs
5 drops Citronella Essential Oil
1 Lemon – sliced in circles (optional)
1 Lime – sliced in circles (optional)
Ribbon or Twine
1 Floating Candle
1. Snip sprigs of herbs to size you want; rinse off any soil.
2. Place herbs in mason jar and fill jar half way with water (herbs will float).
3. Add Citronella Essential Oil to water and shake gently to evenly distribute the oil.
4. Add more water to fill the jar.
5. Add lemon and lime slices.
6. Gently push herbs and fruit slices into the water and place floating candle on top.
7. Tie ribbon or twine on the jar.
8. Light candle when needed.
When it’s very hot outside store jars indoors or in a cool area to keep the candle from melting.
Herbs will last in the jar for several days depending on the temperature. When the herbs wilt just toss them out, wash the jar in warm soapy water to remove oil residue, and make another batch when you need them.
Make these jars in a well ventilated area and avoid inhaling the Citronella Essential Oil, it’s unsafe and has been reported to cause lung problems.
Wear gloves when handling this oil as it can cause allergies in some people.
Keep the jars and citronella oil away from children and pets. It is safe to use around children and pets but ingesting large amounts of the oil is very harmful.
Now that summer is here and the kids are out of school many of us will be spending more time outdoors at the beach, park, lake, and other outdoor venues. Some folks will be hitting the highways for that annual family road trip.
We’ll be swimming, camping, hiking, and really just enjoying the warm summer sun in the great outdoors. Whatever activity you choose to do it won’t be complete without a picnic! Picnicking is definitely one of my favorite outdoor activities, one I indulge in every chance I get.
It doesn’t take a lot of planning to throw a picnic together, we’ve done it in less than half and hour by emptying the fridge and pantry of cold cuts, breads, cheese, and chips; or even stopping by the nearest KFC for a bucket of chicken and fixings.
Almost anything can be picnic food, except maybe your Thanksgiving turkey, although I’ve known someone who actually brought a roast turkey to the beach for a Thanksgiving Day picnic; very messy and I wouldn’t recommend it, the turkey was not only cold it ended up covered in sand. Perhaps turkey sandwiches would have been a better choice!
There are many kinds of picnics: family reunion picnics that involve every member of the family you can muster, picnic with just hubby and the kids, play date picnics, girls day out picnics, romantic picnics with your significant other, and more. Whatever the occasion you can turn it into a picnic!
Other than food there are other picnic essentials for a great picnic. Here are a few ideas, recipes, and tips for your summer picnics. Just remember the most essential part of a picnic is to have fun!
A picnic basket, cooler, or sack to carry food and beverages.
You can pick one up at Pier 1, TJMaxx, Walmart, or any other home goods store. Or you can make your own like these pretty baskets made from apple crates by Style Me Pretty.
Click here for instructions! [spacer height=”-20px”]
A picnic blanket.
We use an old large quilt. You can use any kind of blanket or sheet you have at home, buy one at any discount store, or make your own with this video tutorial from Design Love Fest. A pillow or two will make the picnic more comfy, great idea for a romantic date night picnic!
Click here for tutorial!
Here’s a tip: Stitch on a cheap plastic shower curtain to the back of your blanket to keep it dry. If you don’t sew just lay the shower curtain under the blanket when you set up the picnic and use clothes pins to attach it to the blanket to keep it from slipping.
Napkins and eating utensils.
You can keep them neat and clean in these DIY pouches made from brown lunch bags from The Gunny Sack.
Click here for instructions! [spacer height=”-20px”]
Music sets the stage.
Load your smart device with appropriate music and plug it into an external speaker. If you or someone in your party is musically talented ask him or her to bring an instrument and provide everyone with live music, fun! [spacer height=”-20px”]
For evening picnics lighting and mosquito repellent are must haves.
Combine both with this DIY Summer Citronella candles from Adventures in Making.
These simple to make dual purpose candles keep the bugs at bay while providing romantic lighting. They’re easy to transport, just screw the lids on the mason jars and drop the candle in before you use them. Don’t transport them with the candle in the water, the wicks will get wet and won’t light up. Click here for instructions!
Don’t forget hand wipes to clean up after the meal and trash bags for all your disposables.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Food & Beverage Ideas:
You can of course pick-up a bucket of chicken or deli sandwiches on your way to your picnic venue, but for and extra yummy picnic here are some ideas.
One of the easiest things to prepare are sandwiches.
Wrap them individually in parchment or wax paper to make them look pretty.
Here are a couple of ideas from Delish.com!
You can make wraps instead or sandwiches. [spacer height=”-20px”]
For lighter fare try this salad in a cup by 247 Low Carb Diner.
Perfect portion size and easy to take on a picnic! [spacer height=”-20px”]
For an early morning picnic bring breakfast in mason jars.
Try this Granola, Jam & Yogurt parfait from By Stephanie Lynn.
You can pack your favorite pasta salad, or any other food in mason jars too![spacer height=”-20px”]
Don’t forget dessert, that’s the best part!
You can make these no bake cheesecakes by Family Feedbag, or make your favorite dessert in a jar.
Click here for recipe![spacer height=”-20px”]
You can even pack your favorite beverages in individual jars.
Chin Deep has some yummy recipes![spacer height=”-20px”]
DIY drink pouches like She Knows does.
You can fill small ziploc bags with your favorite summer beverage and freeze them until ready to go, makes for cool slushy drinks.
For a drink with an adult kick try She Knows’ Vodka Lemonade.
Click here for recipe![spacer height=”-20px”]
Re-purpose egg cartons to neatly transport deviled eggs, filled strawberries, and other small goodies.
Here’s a recipe for picnic deviled eggs from Recipes.com![spacer height=”-20px”]
Watermelon is a great addition to summer picnics.
Keep them neat and easy to eat with this idea from Tidy Mom.
June is National Rose Month. Did you know that on November 20, 1986 then President Ronald Reagan signed a resolution making the rose the national floral emblem? And he signed it at a ceremony held where else but the White House Rose Garden!
Almost everyone loves roses, these beautiful blooms come in many sizes and colors, and have a wonderful scent. They are the symbol of love and romance, after all who can resist a gift of roses from their significant other?
Celebrate National Rose Month with a Vintage Rose Garden Tea Party! This theme can be used for anything from an intimate tea party for two, a bridal or baby shower, birthday party, and what ever occasion you like. Roses and tea parties are an awesome combination. Here are some ideas to inspire you!
Set up tea service on an old dresser. You can paint the mirror with black chalkboard paint and write or draw anything you want. Drawers filled with roses make it extra sweet.
This would work well for a small get together, perhaps a tea for the bridal party.
Use a wheeled tea cart for sweets.
For small parties, like a tea for two, forget table and chairs, spread out a pretty floral blanket and add some pillows for an intimate tea party.
Set up an intimate tea under a rose covered arbor or between the roses in your rose garden.
For larger parties set up a tent and decorate with paper lanterns and bunting. You can set up a buffet or place stands of sandwiches and sweet treats on each table.
Learn how to make your own tiered stands click here!
A vintage tea party isn’t complete without pretty dainty cups and tea pots. Find them at discount stores, thrift shops, and even garage sales.
You can use them to serve tea or as decor!
Setting up a beverage station is a great idea for a children’s tea party. Adding lace makes it super cute!
Finger sandwiches are a tea party must. Serve them on tiered stands decorated with fresh roses.
Learn how to make your own tiered stands click here!
Should your baby shower have a theme? Here we’ll help you find the perfect theme to kick off your new life with your baby as you explore dozens of creative baby shower theme ideas.
Picking a baby shower theme should reflect the personality and interests of the parents, but narrowing down all of the options can be a hassle. Depending on if your shower is a neighborhood potluck, a gender reveal or a simple Sunday brunch, we’ve gathered hundreds of baby shower theme ideas that will delight any parent-to-be.
This gender neutral baby shower theme features vintage toys, sweet baby’s breath flowers, and white decorations.
Elephants make great baby shower themes for girls that your guests will never forget!
Your favorite iconic children’s toy is great inspiration for a baby boy shower theme, like the classic sock monkey.
Skulls and cactii from the desert are the ultimate decor for a modern chic themed baby shower right now.
An amazing boy baby shower always includes adorable decorations, sweet printable details, a delicious assortment of desserts (cake, cookies, and candy) and charming details. This yellow vintage baby shower features the cutest duck printables, old children’s books, gingham checks and vintage glassware. You will be smiling over all of the bright, cheerful details.
A new baby definitely calls for tossing some confetti in celebration! This confetti baby shower is a unique theme and fun way to honor an expectant mother. Recreate the look by incorporating plenty of confetti inspired dots throughout the decorations and treats. You can DIY paper circle garlands by punching circles of varying sizes in party colors and sewing them into strings for hanging. Wrap boxes in polka dot paper to display a variety of delicious treats like cookies, cupcakes and cake pops.
Memorial Day is always the last Monday in May. It is of course the day to remember all the brave men and women who gave their lives in service to this great nation.
But it is also marks the beginning of summer, Yay!
Traditionally it’s the first day one can wear white colored pants (remember back in the day when wearing white pants was only acceptable between Memorial and Labor Days?). It’s a day of rest and relaxation; a day to spend with family and friends; and a day to barbecue!
A Memorial Day barbecue was something I always looked forward to growing up in New York. It was the first day my dad would fire up the backyard grill and the women would bring out all sorts of meats to grill, tons of side dishes, and my favorite part all the dessert! Yes Memorial Day was a big deal at our humble home in Queens.
I’m not too sure if it was a big deal because my grandfather was a Captain in the Philippine/American Army led by General MacArthur during WWII, or that my great uncle survived the forced march to Corrigedor with his fellow soldiers (American and Filipino) during that same war, or if we were just a house full of first generation immigrants thankful for the welcome we received from our newly adopted country and all the opportunities it offered. Whatever the reason my family took to celebrating Memorial Day (and all the other American holidays) with a gusto only grateful immigrants can muster. So for us a Memorial Day barbecue was a definite must!
Now a Memorial Day barbecue doesn’t mean you’ll just throw some hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, although you can if you like, it can be so much more fun! You can decorate using a patriotic theme, grill all sorts of meats, have all types of sides, and whatever desserts your heart desires. Think of your Memorial Day Barbecue as a trial run for the big event…your 4th. of July Barbecue! Here are some ideas and recipes to get you started!
Decorate the front door (or anywhere) with a basket of flags!
Just grab a bunch of small flags from Walmart or Target and fill up a small basket and tack it to your door. Or if you prefer grab some larger flags and fill up a basket you can place on the table top or even on the ground.
You can even stick the flags in potted plants!
Paint wooden pallets of any size in patriotic colors. You can add a wooden star, or not, or paint on the stars if you’re so inclined.
You can get small pallets at craft stores or even Walmart’s craft department. They make great wall or door plaques.
You can find larger pallets at home improvement stores or ask your local stores if they have any from their deliveries. They’ll more than likely be happy to give you a pallet or two just so they don’t have to throw them away.
Paint mason jars in patriotic colors using acrylic paints. They make great vases and utensil caddies for your table.
You can also paint cans to use as utensil caddies, napkin holders, vases, centerpieces, etc.
This is a cute and inexpensive way to decorate for your Memorial Day Barbecue.
Colored Water Vases
Don’t want to paint? No problem turn clear jars or bowls into patriotic vases with food coloring. So simple yet so pretty!
Of course the most important part of any Memorial Day Barbecue is the food! Here are some yummy recipes you can try for your Barbecue!
Try these Butter Burgers they are the best burgers ever!
Click here for the recipe!
Kalbi Beef Kebabs
Looking for something other than burgers and dogs? Try these Kalbi Beef Kebabs, they are awesome!
You can even use them to fill small corn tortillas. Add some shredded cabbage and sprinkle with chopped green onions and you’ve got the perfect Kalbi Street Tacos! Click here for the recipe!
Chipotle Lime Corn On the Cob
No barbecue is complete without some corn on the cob.
Try these Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob, they are super delish!
Click here for the recipe!
Skillet Frozen Corn
Prefer your corn off the cob? Try this Skillet Corn dish using frozen corn.
Use the same seasoned butter used in the Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob (click here for that recipe)
Melt the seasoned butter in a cast iron skillet.
Add Frozen Corn
Sprinkle with 1 Tbs. Smoked Paprika and 1 Tbs. Chipotle Pepper Powder
Keep mixing the corn so it doesn’t burn and evenly distribute the seasoning.
When the corn is cooked sprinkle with chopped cilantro and squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lime over all before serving.
Garlic Parmesan Asparagus Spears
Take advantage of summer veggies like asparagus.
These Garlic Parmesan Asparagus Spears are super easy to make in the oven.
Just take 2 lbs. spears with bottom ends cut off and arrange them in a baking pan.
Mix together: 1 Tbs. Lemon Pepper, 2 Tbs. Olive Oil, 1 Tbs. Minced Garlic and drizzle over asparagus spears.
Sprinkle with 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake in 425º oven for 15 -20 minutes.
Click here for more Memorial Day Barbecue ideas and recipes!