Have you heard the expression, “Eleventh time’s a charm?”
No? Maybe I made that up, since I will be standing amidst the Bridal Party in my eleventh wedding (besides my own) in April of this year. But, since it is for one of my nearest & dearest girlfriends, Ms. Kelli, it IS a charm! Both my Hubby and I were asked to be part of the wedding party, and I was asked to be the Matron of Honor.
Yes, it’s my first wedding as a Matron. And I am so glad it is for my Soul Sister and her beloved!
OK, stop thinking of me as the real-life version of Katherine Heigl in “27 Dresses” and let’s get to the Mardi Gras party fun stuff!
So, the Maid of Honor, Julie, and I were co-hostesses in this Mardi Gras Bridal Shower endeavor. Shout out to my co-hort, my other half of our A-Team Party Planners extraordinaire, WHAT WHAT?!! (It’s better when we say that in person…sorry…moving on…).
All of the ideas below were either conceived (or respectfully borrowed) by us, The A-Team. They were put into action through weeks of shopping, planning, coordinating, spray-painting, gluing, favor-making, menu-creating, collaborating, and finally executing SUCCESSFULLY this past weekend!
This is the Bride and I towards the end of the shower, and see the big happy smiles? Ok, it’s hard not to smile when you’re about to eat King Cake.
To get into the true Spirit of this post, I highly recommend listening to some real Cajun’s singing the famous Mardi Gras Song. I loved listening to Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys when I lived in Cajun Country, so here’s what it looks like live!
The time: Bridal Shower was held midday, from 3:00-6:00 pm on the Saturday before Mardi Gras
The place: Lafayette, Louisiana at the home of the Bride’s Mother
The theme: Mardi Gras! Everything colored Purple, Yellow, and Green
The invitation said:
A Mardi Gras fan, come, join, as we celebrate the “Bride to Be”.
Dress for the theme, a bon couer, prizes for joining in the revelry!
Wear your best mask, Mardi Gras colors, costume or ball gown,
Join in the fun, making for the most unique Bridal Shower in town!
The good times need not cease, so be not afraid.
If you’re game, let’s continue, until the evening parade!
We gave the guests beads when they arrived. During that time, I enlisted the help of one of the Bride’s relatives, having all the women fill out a card in the Spiritual Bouquet – our group gift to the Bride and Groom. More on that later.
We kicked off the party with food and fun. The women were invited to participate in a mask making contest, with two tables set up with all kinds of glitter, glue, decorations, and paper masks spray painted in the theme colors by Julie.
We were happy to see so many of the guests participating! While they decorated their masks, Cajun/Zydeco Fais Do Do music played in the background, and they grazed on the large spread of appetizers.
That’s a Mardi Gras Themed Candy Bar, and it was a hit! Julie and Emily worked really hard to find candies that were only purple, green, and yellow (including lemon heads, sour apple licorice pieces, purple chuckles, etc…). My Hubby and I worked on creating favor bags – small cello bags with labels of the name and date of the bride and groom, with the tri-colored ribbon ties adhered on each bag.
Note on the decor pictured above: That’s a panel of curtain that I laid over a counter top, with some purple runners the Bride had given us to use, and lots of theme-colored bows with ties strewn everywhere.
More decor fun facts. I made that sign, “77 days until I Do” out of scrap book paper, foam board, and paint. The same scrap book paper was glued onto white cardboard scrapbook pages and placed around the sign on draped the purple ribbon, held on by clothespins. (After the Bridal Shower, I gave the Bride-to-Be the 3 metal rings to hold the scrapbook together, and the decor has now become a keepsake gift!) Across the top are hung hand painted paper masks, with the names of the couple and their wedding date, strung together with ribbon.
The appetizers could have fed the crew plus some alone, since it was a fabulous lot of food, but the A-Team knew it wouldn’t be a Mardi Gras party without a proper Gumbo – which was served while opening the gifts! With my catering background, I was in charge of the menu. It included favorites of the Bride and theme-appropriate choices such as:
BarBQ Sausage, Mini Muffuletta Sandwiches, Apple Slices with Carmel Dip and cheese tray, Veggie Tray, Hummus and Pita Chips, Tri-colored Tortilla chips & Salsa, Hot Spinach Dip, Boudin Tray, Deviled Eggs…
But what may have surprised the Bride the most, was this little stunt.
One of Kelli’s oldest friends showed up dressed like the Mardi Gras Chicken! This is a Cajun tradition, as the Mardi Gras chase after a Chicken while they run out in the country.
Our Big Chicken handed out golden eggs that held trivia questions inside about the Bride and the Groom. Each person got to answer their question, and all that participated got a pair of Fleur di Lis earrings.
Afterwards, Kelli made her good-sport-of-a-friend do the Chicken dance before departing
We then had the Bride and her Mama serve as judges in the Mask-making contest, as contest-participants paraded by them while people sang a lively parade song!
By measure of applause, we picked the winner in the middle. But all the masks showed great creativity and were super fun!
Next, we served Gumbo, rice and potato salad while the Bride opened her gifts. The gift that moved her to tears was presented at the end: The Spiritual Bouquet that we all made for her. I decoupaged/painted a pine heart-shaped box (see link to my previous post on that) and printed off cards for all the women to fill out with their Spiritual offerings they would make for the happy couple during their engagement.
We had some Bridal Shower silliness after that, and ate King Cake and delicious Mardi Gras cupcakes provided by dear friends of the Bride. The Bride gave her thanks to all at the end.
Credits: The Mother of the Bride graciously offered her home, so that was our location. Thank you, Ms. Gwen. We had about 3 other lovely ladies offer assistance in various ways, and we took them up on it – thank you, Jeanne, Cherie, and Emily!
As for my attire, I had gotten a bit daring. I stopped by the Thrift Store a few weeks before the Shower. I found a Banana Republic 100% Silk purple dress that was 50% off, so $4.99. The only thing was it was apparently made for someone 7″ taller with Pamela Anderson-like features.
I cut off the triangled-tops, and moved the elastic part up that was the empire waist to become the top. I took in the sides, cut down the straps, and sewed a sash with purple, yellow, and green ribbon that I bought at Michaels. I never got a great picture of me in it, since I was so busy that day, but here I am sitting down in my repurposed $4.99 Banana Republic dress, indulging in some King Cake!
It certainly was a unique Bridal Shower – befitting a woman who always loves unique ways to celebrate life! Everyone joined in on the fun, and the Bride and her Mom had an amazing time, which was our goal.
Mission accomplished! Chalk it up for a WIN, A-Team Party Planners!