I am so excited to finally be sharing some details from my May baby shower at Hotel Monaco. I coordinated a wedding at Hotel Monaco last May and have attended several events there and am just completely in love with the hotel as an event venue. I held my shower in the Rialto Suite which has access to the rooftop deck - major selling point! Though I know that I am having a boy, I am not a huge pink and blue girl, so I opted to go with black and white as my color scheme. It worked out great because there are so many adorable black and white decorations available. I went a tad crazy on Etsy. The day was a whirlwind, but I had such a wonderful time! This baby is beyond lucky to be surrounded by so many people that love him already! A huge thank you to my family, Matt's family and my wonderful friends for dealing with my Type-A planner personality and helping to pull together such a great day. And thank you to Sarah from Rose Colored Creative for capturing such gorgeous, candid images. My dress was ASOS Maternity - on sale here - and many of the decór items are linked below!
There are few things I love more at a party than a great dessert table. Dessert tables offer guests a variety of sweet treats to choose from and are a great place to incorporate your party colors and theme. My talented friend, Valerie of Valerie's Custom Cakes and Cupcakes (she also made my gorgeous gender reveal cake here), graciously supplied the most mouth-watering cupcakes including a Vanilla cupcake with Nutella flavored icing (to die for). Bella Christie, with locations in Aspinwall and Lawrenceville, is one of my absolute go-to's for custom cookies, gorgeous cakes and beautifully designed sweets stations. To say I was obsessed with the custom cookies they created would be a huge understatement. At one point, I saw three of my event planner friends styling the cookies on striped napkins and snapping photos for Instagram - no bigger compliment! Bella Christie also created gorgeous black and white cake pops to tie in the theme. They were simple, elegant and oh so tasty!
I found these adorable cupcakes wrappers and these bowtie cupcakes toppers on Etsy. I also found these favor bags on Etsy. It's always nice to add some to-go bags or boxes to a dessert table, so that guests can take a treat home with them. Buying or renting table linens can become pricey, so I was really excited to find rolls of black and white striped fabric at Michael's. They were the perfect width and length to work as table runners. I bought these large 30" balloons on Amazon and added some black bows. Amazon is also a great place to find inexpensive cupcake stands. The white trays were mine - I typically have really good luck finding inexpensive trays and serving platters at Home Goods.
The black and white theme worked out great at Hotel Monaco as they already had black linens and pretty white chairs available. I did the favor box, drink ticket and raffle tickets at each place setting. I used a variety of white flowers - roses, peonies and hydrangeas - and added black and white ribbon to simple Dollar Tree vases (yes, they are really only $1). I debated on assigning tables to guests, but in the end, I felt it made things a lot easier. I am always running late and hate walking into a shower or other event to find that all the seats next to my friends are taken! I did really simple table lists and used clip boards from Target's $1 section to display the lists. The hotel also set up an adorable mimosa and coffee / tea area.
I always waiver back and forth on the idea of party favors. On the one hand, it's always nice to offer your guests a little "thank you" for coming. On the other hand, if we're being totally honest, a lot of favors end up in the trash and can ultimately be a big waste of money. In my experience, the best favors are edible (candy), serve double duty (think mini bottles of champagne that double as place cards) or are a part of the celebration that guests can easily take home (to-go bags on the cookie table / flower arrangements from the tables).
For the baby shower, I opted to go the candy route. These adorable striped boxes (yes from Etsy) added a little something extra to each place setting and helped to pull in the black and white theme. I filled each with candy, tied with black ribbon and then used a combination of Thank You tags and Thank You straws. I also wanted to serve mimosas at the shower (because let's be honest, watching someone open fifty presents is not the most exciting thing in the world). However, opting to serve alcohol can quickly add up in the cost department. Creating a simple and fun drink ticket is a great way to treat your guests, while also keeping costs at a manageable level.
Baby shower games are another area where you want to tread carefully. Many traditional games can get really cheesy really quickly. Sorry, but no - I do not want to eat chocolate out of a diaper and try to guess the type of candy bar. I like my chocolate front and center - on the dessert table. Also, be sure not to overdo it with the number of games. Two to three short games is more than enough. We opted for a "He Said / She Said" guessing game and Baby Pictionary. The Baby Pictionary ended up being a lot of fun and made for some hilarious photos!
I've been to many showers where prizes are given out to the winners of each game. However, just like the favors, the prizes can end up being things people don't really want and it's simply another waste of money. I recently attended a baby shower for a friend that opted to do gift baskets with raffle tickets rather than small individual prizes. Here's why I like this idea: 1. If you place raffle tickets at each place setting, it gives guests something to do as they are arriving. They can check out the various baskets and put their tickets in for the prize they hope to win. 2. Instead of a bunch of small prizes, a few people get to walk away with some really nice gifts. For anyone that won the games, we gave them an extra strip of raffle tickets. Baskets themes included pool / beach, picnic, gardening, Italian, Netflix, spa and doggie goodies. Of course, you'll need to have a few family members and friends that are kind enough to put together a basket and donate it as a prize.
I actually bought this adorable gold "Baby" balloon on Etsy (surprise) for my gender reveal party. Since the balloon stays inflated, I was able to reuse it for the shower. Hotel Monaco's rooftop has this awesome faux grass wall and the spot became the place to take photos! I love the idea of setting up some sort of photo backdrop, so the wall and balloon worked perfectly! For my friend's baby shower last year, I bought a dry erase board and had all the guests write a message or advice to the parents-to-be or to the new baby. I then took photos of each one and used Shutterfly to compile all of the images into a book. I loved the idea so much, that I decided to use it at my shower as well. I think it will make for such a great keepsake when my son gets older and we can go back and read the messages together.
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