Sassy Shower on a Budget

My friend Charlie is getting married in September (he’s the one who provided the lovely guest post for Valentine’s Day), and my other friend Nat and I wanted to throw him and his fiance a couples shower. The problem was Mike and I are on this aggressive savings plan, and Nat just quit her job to be a stay at home mother with her infant son Andy. This meant that while we were ready to throw a kickass shower, we didn’t have unlimited funds. We did a lot of research, and after a few months of crafting the decorations and practicing the dishes, we turned out what I consider to be a pretty sassy shower for a steal!

This is only a pseudo-food post since I didn’t actually do any of the food, but Mike and Nat did a great job and I wanted to highlight their work. First, a collage of the entire shower’s results (click to expand):

We went for a picnic theme, which turned out super cute. I had found some inspiration photos online and got crackin’ on the crafting. I knew the first thing I wanted to do was to make bunting. Super-fancy bunting has two sides (sewn like a pillow), but I loved the look of the pinked edges and denim-and-gingham alternating flags. I thought I made a ton of bunting but there was only enough for two sweeps across the living room. Oh well…it was cute. I added denim bunting with Charlie and Mylien’s names in case people forgot which shower they were attending.

Second,  I made a ton of pinwheels. Small red ones, medium white ones, and four large red ones made out of posterboard to stick in the front yard. I didn’t get any pics of the big ones, but the smaller ones we stuck in my mom’s foliage around the house. I also put a couple in the glass holding the red and white straws.

I’m glad I bought a bunch of paper and fabric, because we used it everywhere. I used the gingham fabric to line the silverware and tied them with denim fabric that I pinked…

…we used the paper to label just about everything…

…I made little packets to hold the watermelon balls that Nat did such a great job of making (I lined them in wax paper so the watermelon wouldn’t get the paper wet, and I doubled up on the paper to make sure the patterns showed)…

…oh and I made paper balls (with pinked edges, of course) to hang around the food table.

You can see in that picture too that we bought a few mason jars of varying sizes, put white flowers in them, and tied them with either gingham ribbon or red ribbon. This one had baby’s breath, the ones flanking the sandwiches on the island in the kitchen had daisies and the ones surrounding the fabulous s’mores party favors were white mums. The mum ones were my favorite!

NOW ON TO THE FOOD!

Mike got pretty excited early on about doing the main “course” for the shower, so of course I let him. He really wanted to make sandwiches because he had an idea of making flavored mayos from scratch. However, when he tried it, it didn’t work out as well as he had had hoped, so he just bought regular mayo and mixed in the flavors. He made two sandwiches – roast beef and chicken salad.

The roast beef sandwich was simple – he bought the roast beef at Eatzi’s (the good kind the deli cuts up into paper-thin slices), added red onion, lettuce, provolone and horseradish mayo, and it was good to go. The chicken salad he made from scratch and it was delicious. He bakes a bone-in, skin-on chicken breast and then cuts up the meat into fairly small pieces. He then adds mayo, green grapes, tarragon, and celery, and grates a small amount of white onion over it all. A little lettuce on the sandwich finished it off. It really tasted delicious.

Nat stepped up to the plate with every type of salad imaginable – garden salad, fruit salad and pasta salad…I thought the pasta salad was amazing but where she really got the most compliments was the fruit salad. She added white wine syrup and mint and it was just a hit!

She also made the watermelon balls and brought the cherries, which were delicious. For dessert, she bought cupcakes at Sam’s and decorated them with red and blue sprinkles. I had one before the party even started and it was yummy. Hot tip: if you want delicious cupcakes, GO TO SAM’S CLUB!! Nat has bought them for multiple showers (including my own last year) and they always get compliments! Plus they’re much less expensive than a Society Bakery or Dimples. As in…30 for $13 instead of one for $4.

There was so much food, but we (aka Mike and Nat) made the perfect amount because there was only just a bit leftover at the end. We forgot to tell people to grab a party favor so the guests that left early didn’t get them, but the ones who did thought it was an adorable idea. Nat put together the components for s’mores and tied it with a red ribbon, then added a cute label in our shower colors. I’ve been eating a pack a day since the shower…mmm, I love s’mores!!

I’ve thrown a lot of showers recently, but I am particularly proud of this one since we provided great food, great decor and a great time to the Nguyen’s on a shoestring budget. It may have been cheap, but it didn’t LOOK or TASTE cheap, and that’s what matters. In fact, we received more compliments on everything than at any other shower I’ve been to. I think the moral is, if you plan right, you can have a cohesive look and feel that goes through everything, including the food.

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