The beautiful bride-to-be at her bridal shower this weekend!
I'm back from an awesome weekend in Illinois for Molly's bridal shower! I was so happy to see all my plans come together and Molly seemed to really enjoy herself, which really was the goal of the whole thing. I can't believe the shower is already over, and today is October 20 - which means the actual wedding is only a month away! Doesn't it seem like just yesterday that she and Arturo got engaged? Wow. Time flies!
A quick administrative note: the whole weekend in Illinois was awesome, but this first post is just going to be about the shower. I'll blog about the rest of our fun weekend later this week!
When I was trying to think of a theme for the shower, I wanted to do something that was sort of a nod to their Mexican wedding destination, but wasn't an all-out Mexican theme. I settled on a margarita theme (because we do love some margaritas) with blue and green (or really, "aqua" and "lime") as the colors. The colors just seemed so happy and upbeat, which is also how I think of Molly! Perfect.
All Molly knew about the shower was the date and the guest list. We held it at her apartment, and Aunt Debbie (Molly's mom) and I flew in to Illinois on Thursday night so we could spend Friday getting everything ready. And boy, did we need that time! (More on that later!) Saturday morning we banished Molly upstairs to her bedroom while we set everything up. She did leave for a while to play tennis with Arturo, but she was only allowed to enter the shower area under these conditions:
Arturo was a great help to us as we got everything ready - he helped us run errands, clean up messes, and guide his blindfolded bride-to-be through the shower area!
Aunt Debbie and I worked furiously getting everything prepared and set up. Check out some of our hard work...
The food obviously required the most work. We served (alcoholic) margarita cupcakes, (virgin) lime cupcakes, chips with homemade salsa, a veggie tray with ranch dip, mixed nuts, a fruit platter with margarita dip, and a non-alcoholic margarita punch, complete with an adorable lime ice ring made by Aunt Debbie. We set all that up on Molly's dining room table, and decorated the table with blue and green bridal shower balloons, colorful daisies in a vase filled with lime slices, and a photo I had made of Molly and Arturo's names and wedding date written in the sand on the beach.
The table! I think it turned out beautifully.
A closer look at the food! You can also see the lime slices in the flower vase. Loved that.
The beachy photo I framed and put on the food table
Margarita cupcakes! Aren't they just so cute it hurts?
I must say, the margarita cupcakes were just as delicious as they were adorable. They're very light and refreshing - a great summery treat. If you'd like to make them yourself, I used this recipe. If you want to make the non-alcoholic version I made, just leave out all the booze and use water as directed on the cake mix box. I also added some lime zest.
And of course, what would a margarita party be without actual margaritas? We set up a margarita station near the food table, where we offered both classic margaritas (Aunt Debbie makes a great margarita) and "something blue" margaritas (with blue curacao for festive color).
The margarita station, pre-margaritas. We filled one pitcher with classic and one with "something blue."
I made signage like this for all the food/drinks.
For other decorations, we hung a blue and green paper lantern garland between the living and dining rooms, and hung a "Molly Hearts Arturo" banner I made over the fireplace to create Molly's Seat of Honor. We also put more balloons on the gift table and a festive sign on the front door.
The dining room - food table, and margarita station to the left
The banner I made, Molly's seat, and her "bride-to-be" sash
We also set up a little basket with the favors near the entryway. The favors were little "The Worm" Dessert Margarita lip balms in a polka dot bag with a lime tag.
A closer look at the favors themselves and the packaging
We also set up the "guestbook" I had put together. Instead of a traditional guest book, I made little mad-libs advice cards for each guest to fill out. I also took a photo of Molly with each guest and put the photos and advice cards in a little album for her to keep, along with other shower pictures. We set up the cards and album near the bags containing the game prizes (Bath & Body Works Margarita Body Scrub, of course!).
Advice cards, album and prize bags
This is the first page of the album
A closer look at one of the mad-libs advice cards
When we had things mostly set up, we finally allowed Molly downstairs to see it all. Her reaction was great! I was so pleased that she liked everything.
Here comes the bride!
Yay, she likes it!
VIDEO: Molly's reaction to her shower
We took a time out from shower preparations for Molly to bestow gifts upon us. She gave Aunt Debbie a wonderful photo collage and an album of childhood photos of Molly and her brother Jacob. She gave me a beautiful pair of earrings to wear for the wedding (and that was in addition to the incredible gift she gave me earlier - but we'll get to that later!). Thanks, Molly!
Awww, a mother-daughter moment!
Opening my beautiful earrings!
To add to the fun, my mom and Heather were able to check in via Skype! While Aunt Debbie and I finished getting ourselves and the food ready, Molly chatted with a couple people who really wished they could have been there in person. My mom actually ended up staying on Skype for the entire shower (wow!), and although Heather had to leave before things really got going to go to work, Zita was also able to join us midway through the shower. Isn't that so nice?
Molly with Heather and my mom via Skype (and as you can see, Heather-on-a-Stick and Zita-on-Chopsticks also joined us for the weekend!)
Molly and Zita!
Before we knew it, it was go time and guests started to arrive. Aunt Debbie played the role of bartender beautifully and got everyone set up with a margarita of their choice, and we had everyone fill out their advice cards. When all the guests had arrived we went around the room and all talked about how we knew Molly, which was very nice. Then the main events got under way.
Aunt Debbie pouring the margaritas for our guests
Molly chatting with guests Abbie and Terry
Emily, Kathy, Ginna, Lauren and Laura enjoying some drinks
I had two games planned for the afternoon. The first was Name That Tune, featuring all songs that had the word "love" in the title. We split the group into two teams and everyone tried to guess the songs on my playlist. Little did I know when I chose this game that Molly's friend Abbie is an absolute song-naming wizard, so her team (which happened to be Molly's team) won handily. Margarita body scrubs for everybody!
The second game was just for Molly to play and the rest of us to be entertained! When we were all in Cleveland for the family reunion this past summer, Heather and I kidnapped Arturo for a few minutes while Molly was in the shower and asked him a series of questions about his relationship with Molly. The way we did it was a huge hit - you see, when Heather, Molly and I were all kids, we basically liked to play "media." It all started with our reunion recap "newspaper" publication called the Reun' Tribune, which included interviews with family members, stories about reunion events, classifieds and comics. From there we moved on to HMM (Heather, Molly, Meghan) radio, and eventually to "news broadcasting." At family gatherings we would commandeer someone's video camera, and armed with a microphone fashioned out of a flashlight, we would report the "news" of the reunion. Those videotapes are classic, let me tell you. Since Heather couldn't be at the shower, this was a great way for her to be involved. When we interviewed Arturo, we got it all on video and did it in true HMM News fashion, complete with flashlight microphone and Heather's best reporter act. I did some video editing (our technology has greatly improved since 1995 or whenever we started this) and the final video was awesome.
So at the shower, I asked Molly the same questions we asked Arturo. After she answered, I played the video with Arturo's response. If she missed the question, she had to chew a big ol' piece of bubblegum. Let's just say that she had a mouthful of gum and a look of death in her eyes for me by the time the game was over!
Watching Arturo's answer to a question on video
Thinking hard over her response to the question at hand
She hates me right now.
The HMM News thing was a total hit. When the opening of the video popped up, with Heather doing her very best reporter impression, Molly cracked up. After the shower, we re-watched Heather's opening about three times. It was great!
VIDEO: Molly's reaction to her HMM New video (including picture-in-picture of the actual video itself!)
After the games, it was gift time. Molly got some wonderful things! I am sad to report that she did not break any bows (does that mean no children????), but she did say some pretty great things while opening her gifts (so we know what she will say on her wedding night)! We gave away another prize during the gift-opening, by setting a timer for a random time and giving the prize to the person who brought the gift Molly was opening when the timer went off. Gee, Aunt Debbie got pretty lucky and won that one! I also put together Molly's bow bouquet to use at her rehearsal, if she chooses to fly the thing to Mexico (uhh...no pressure there, Molly!).
Mother and daughter
With her bow bouquet!
And that was the end of the organized events. Some people hung around a bit to chat and enjoy more cupcakes, but people started making their way out. I made sure to get a photo of Molly with each guest as they left, and sent everyone on their way with a lip balm favor.
Molly and her mom
Me with the bride
We were left with quite a mess in the aftermath...
What was left of the margarita station
...but it was definitely worth it! I think (I hope) everyone had a wonderful time. I sure had a great time putting it all together!
Molly, three years ago you helped give me an awesome bridal shower before my wedding. I hope that I was able to give you a similarly great memory to kickoff your wedding festivities. I'm so honored to be your cousin, bridesmaid and friend, and I'm so excited for you and Arturo! Can't wait to see you again in Mexico in a MONTH!!!