I remember my first year out of college, it looked like a stationary store had exploded on my refrigerator. I had more Save the Dates and wedding invitations displayed on the door than actual food in the fridge. Cut to five/six years later and it seems as though most of my married friends are taking the plunge into official adulthood by helping further populate the Earth. How do I know this? Because I can’t scroll thru my Facebook feed without every other story being about my baby’s first poop or vote for my baby in the Gerber Baby Next Generation blah blah Dumbest Contest Ever!
Even though my sister and I have yet to reach either of these adult mile markers—marriage and babies—we are doing our part in contributing to our friends’ important milestones by
quitting our day jobs and becoming official party planners turning our house into shower central. After a recent baby shower and wedding shower for two of my sister’s friends, it is now my turn to play host. In lieu of last week’s Etsy Friday Finds and today’s Tuesday Transfers, I’m going to share with you today what I have spent the majority of the last month planning and preparing for—a couples baby shower for two of my dearest and oldest friends, Christine and Cory.
With Christine’s request to have guests bring a children’s book in lieu of a card, I figured a storybook theme for this baby shower would be perfect—especially considering my house is already jam-packed full of books. Once settling on the theme, this shower became a group effort, as I could not have pulled it off without the help of my two wonderful co-hosts, Megan & Andrea. Thanks, guys, for staying up so late with me and for getting your hands dirty
Since I’m a graphic designer by day, I chose to design and print my own baby shower invitations. With the goal of staying far away from the cliché of baby bump silhouettes and diaper-shaped cards, I focused more on my sister’s favorite phrase—shabby chic. I paired my typography obsession with a pink chevron pattern (if you couldn’t tell, Christine’s having a girl), brown kraft paper and hemp ribbon to design a more classy and chic invitation. I then carried that same design over to all the food and drink labels.
HINT: to add depth to a two-piece invitation, attach the top piece with a square of thick foam tape instead of just gluing the two pieces together. Also, kraft stores sell specialty hole punchers that punch two short slits that make tying ribbon thru invitations extremely easy!
I’m forewarning you that this post is rather long, so my feelings won’t be hurt if you skip along and look only at the pictures. As always, click on images to enlarge.
As soon as guests walked in, I had the coffee table in my front room set up with little advice cards where guests could fill in advice for baby Lydia and the parents-to-be. I designed the cards to be 4″ x 8″ so they could easily slip into an 8″ x 8″ scrapbook album (two to a page) that Christine and Cory could take home with them as a shower keepsake. It’s a great activity for a baby shower and if you’re looking for questions to include on your own advice cards, visit Pinterest. I also designed up some bookmarks as party favors, featuring a quote from children’s book author Emilie Buchwald:
Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.
Perfect, right? Thank you again, Pinterest.
For the baby shower menu, I only used food items I could pair up with a complementary children’s book, to keep with the storybook theme. It’s harder than you think to accomplish, so in case you’re planning your own storybook baby shower, here’s the full menu we used (feel free to copy and pretend you came up with them all by yourself):
- red velvet cake balls for Red Riding Hood
- ham sandwiches for Green Eggs and Ham
- chocolate covered strawberries (white & dark) for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- apple cinnamon muffins (Christine’s favorite) for Little Miss Muffet
- fruit arranged in a row by color for The Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar
- sausage balls for Cloudy with a chance of meatballs
- pigs in a blanket for The Three Little Pigs
- pink frosted cookies for If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
- rotel cheese dip for The Stinky Cheese Man
- a cup of just forks with the label the dish ran away with the spoon
I bought and stained mini artist easels from Michaels to display the majority of the food cards. When I ran of out easels, I simply upturned two clothespins to hold up the rest.
My best friend and fellow baby shower host, Megan, made this lovely two-tiered pink cake as the centerpiece for the dessert table. When Googling ideas for the storybook shower, I came across book garland multiple times. For the cake topper, we made a smaller version of the book garland and strung it between two kabob sticks, which we then stuck down into the cake.
Since this was a couples shower, I made sure to include alcoholic drinks. In addition to offering beer and wine, I set up the buffet dresser in my dining room as a mimosa bar. For juice options, we had orange juice (the mimosa original), cranberry juice and raspberry lemonade. To give it more of a bar look, I cleaned out old wine bottles, removed the labels, added a patch of chalkboard paint and topped off with wine stoppers to hold two of the juices. I bought one bottle of Ginger Ale so the mom-to-be could enjoy her own virgin mimosas.
I garnished all the glasses with pink and white striped paper straws because ever since I saw them on Etsy a few months ago, I’ve been waiting for an excuse to use them. They just scream shabby chic.
To tie in the storybook theme, I made a Where the Wild Things Are label for the mimosa bar. I also propped up all the vases (for the other tables, as well) on hardcover books. I searched my bookshelves for books that would fit in with my color scheme after slipping off the decorative paper covers.
If you’re short a large book collection to sift thru, you can simply cover any book with colored wrapping paper to fit your theme.
I borrowed my mother’s glass beverage dispenser and filled it with water, ice and cucumber slices for a refreshing, non-alcoholic beverage option. Bonus: cucumbers in water just look pretty.
As you can see from the mimosa bar, as well as the mantle and ceiling shot below, I made my own book garland for added decoration. There are plenty of online tutorials out there for making book garland, but I’ll give you a quick rundown of how I did it. I paired sheets of colored card stock with slightly smaller scrapbook writing pages (you can also use photocopied or old book pages). I stacked a few sheets of each together (colored paper on the outside), folded them in half and stapled them together to form mini books. I punched a small hole in the top of each and strung them up using the same hemp ribbon from the invitations. It took a few hours and may have caused a paper cut or two, but all-in-all not very complicated.
Similar to previous parties held at my house, by simply adding a short message in chalk, the mantle chalkboard in our back office/library became gift central.
As my sister has taught me, you can’t throw a shower—be it wedding or baby—without fresh flowers. I got a great deal on the pink vases, courtesy of the clearance aisle in Michaels. I paired them with clear vases I already owned in order to display tulips and white & pink roses (a few of Christine’s favorites). For another display piece, I borrowed a candelabra from a family friend and instead of candles, I topped it with stemless wine glasses alternately filled with clear and pink glass stones, lemons and pink flowers.
As an added touch, I laid out children’s books across the high bar in my kitchen and borrowed a few book-themed stuffed animals from my nephew. For decoration, as well as a shower-parting-gift for the parents to be, I transferred cover images to wood from a few of Cory and Christine’s favorite children’s books: Harry Potter, Shel Silverstein and Cinderella. I figured they’d make a nice addition to Lydia’s growing nursery. As you can see below, Cory and Christine really enjoyed opening their presents.
Here’s me with my fellow co-hosts and the mom-to be (from left: Andrea, Christine, Megan, Me); followed by a laughing image of me with my two best friends (from left: Megan, Christine, Me); and lastly a shot of me with my sister, Kristen, since I wouldn’t have such a lovely home to host showers in if not for the other half of the Archer Creative team.
I had a blast making everything for this shower. There were a lot of late nights, group text messaging sessions and long hours spent browsing Pinterest. But to see Christine and Cory’s faces when they walked in my house on Saturday made everything worth it. As I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t have pulled this shower off without the dedication from my two co-hosts, Andrea and Megan. Thank-you so much and I love you both! And thank-you to Kristen for taking all these lovely photographs. You can see more of her photography here.
I do have another shower coming up later in the summer, though this time for a wedding. So, if you have any wedding shower ideas, please send them my way or leave them in the comments below. If you’re throwing your own storybook baby shower and want to know more about anything I did here, please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions.
Oh, and I almost forgot. Kristen and I are now accepting investors to start up our own party planning business. If interested, just send money straight to my Paypal account.
Haha, just kidding. A few times a year for people we like? Sure. For a living all the time? Um, no thank-you.
- lindsey archer