Frenchy-French Bridal Shower – Part 1

My best friend is getting married this September. She and her hubby-to-be have been dating forever. FOREVER. So the wedding is becoming a big deal. (I am not saying this sarcastically because I myself had a ridiculously “big deal” wedding as well.)

As the Maid (Matron, whatever) of Honor, I am in charge of the bridal shower and bachelorette party. I have no problem coordinating all this since I am, at heart, a compulsive planner. The tough thing about planning and hosting these kinds of events though is how expensive they get very quickly.

In my case, the other bridesmaids are flying in from Alaska (Yes. THE Alaska.) for the wedding, staying in hotels, purchasing dresses and funding all the beauty prep that inevitably comes with a bridal party. Long story short, I feel like a bad person asking for them to contribute to an event they won’t be around for and probably at this point cannot afford.

So this one time, I am doing something that I do not suggest any of you do unless there are extenuating circumstances, I will not only be funding but hosting and planning both the bridal shower and bachelorette party by myself.

Do not get me wrong, I love the Bride. I have no problem doing all this for her. It just stings a little when the creditcard gets swiped. If you are not in a situation like mine, but you feel “weird or awkward” asking people for money, get the hell over it. If the other bridesmaids didn’t want to contribute to the party than they need to get out of the way and shut their mouths. Also, they shouldn’t have accepted the position in the first place. If the bridesmaids are truly that lame, there are usually aunts/attendants/etc that are more than willing to help. My bridal shower for example was hosted by a combo of two aunts, two adopted-aunts and three local bridesmaids. My bachelorette party was hosted by all five of my bridesmaids. In the end, very little money was spent by anyone individually.

AND SO I present to you a multiple segment collection on the planning and execution of a “Casual French” themed bridal shower on a reasonable budget. And later, the detailed planning of an as yet un-themed bachelorette party.

The Background:

The current wedding theme is “Vintage French”. The decor includes hanging parasols and cafe lights.

Her colors are “blush pink” and a “minty blue.”

The couple’s style tends to be “low-key hipster.” Her Groom will be wearing a brown tweed suit for the wedding and sporting his infamous mustache.

The Shower Basics:

Trying to keep the party on a budget means the shindig is going down at my house. FREE.

Between my weird work schedule and the Bride’s, we settled on a Sunday in July. Generally speaking you host the bridal shower 2 to 3 months before the wedding on a Saturday. Recently I have hosted and frequented more and more Sunday showers. They seem to workout the best for busy schedules.

For this party, approximately 30 invitations will be going out.

The group will be a collection of the Groom’s family, the Bride’s friends (mid 20‘s to mid 30‘s) and Bride’s mother’s friends (40’s to 50’s). The Bride’s family live on the other side of the country and will not be flying in for the shower.

Out of the 30, I am estimating about 20 people actually attend. On average you should plan on about 1/3 of the people invited, not attending. This usually applies to wedding planning as well.

Currently I believe the only child at the shower will be mine. And she is too small to care about finger foods or non alcoholic beverages (aside from boob milk).

The Bride *appears to not care about theme, food, etc. She simply requested booze and that “you not stress yourself out too much.”

*I say “appears” because alot of brides act like they don’t care about “such things” but then flip out or resent you later for not doing things like they really wanted. For this reason, I suggest asking several times during your planning process if your ideas sound good. If they have no critiques…then they will have to be an adult and deal with the consequences. That being said, be nice. Brides can be horrible, hormonal, pain-in-the-ass lunatic bitches. Having been one, I know this personally. So when your bride begins to panic and treat you like a servant or pet, check yourself and do the best you can.

The Plan:

In an effort to stick with my Bride’s theme of “Vintage French” I started Pinteresting the hell out of French desserts and recipes. I started to feel overwhelmed as I realized pulling a Julia Childs recipe out of my ass was not going to fly for this party of 20. But other French recipes were uninspiring.

After a few weeks of mulling everything over, it dawned on me during a message (always my best ideas) that “French” doesn’t have to mean frilly and complicated. My husband and I visited France briefly during our honeymoon and what I remember of Paris is exactly the opposite of frilly and complicated. France has an effortless cool factor that only movie stars and royalty can afford. French food was simple and ingredient focused. Less contrived and more casual. I thought back on the breakfasts and lunches we had in Paris. Meats, cheeses, fruits, desserts and wine. Little more than a croissant or baguette was needed to finish out any meal once you had collected your favorite combination of fatty cured meat and soft smelly cheese.

And suddenly there it was. Casual French. Boom. Blew my mind.

The menu practically wrote itself. A combination of carefully selected cheeses, meats, fruits, crackers and breads. All paired with 4 or 5 different wines. Desserts would be the star ofcourse, with a selection of eclairs, macaroons, cheesecake and creme brulee. For the non-alchies, I would serve lavender-infused water over ice, cucumber water and a lavender tea. Lavender ofcourse being essential in southern France, I felt like it deserved a special place at our party as well.

In the aftermath of my epiphany, I felt very much like Hannibel from the A Team. Chewing on my cigar and snickering, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

I’m definitely the idea man. Next round I would have to be the detail lady.

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