September 4, 2017
When planning a party for someone, I try my best to bring in a personal element that ties the guest of honor to the party. A random theme always does the trick but there’s something special about taking that time to really make it about them. It doesn’t have to be crazy personal or monumental -I’m not talking about planning the color scheme around their birth stone or anything- but just dig around for any source of inspiration you can find from intimately knowing the mama to be.
This baby shower is for my sister, Brooke. She is an incredible baker (see her work here) so that “bun in the oven” route was pretty tempting, but I dug a little further to find a more personal detail. She and her husband are Texas dreamers that hope to one day own and run a bee farm and for whatever reason, the second this popped into my head I knew it was the perfect theme for them. I have such fond memories of cooking with her when we were younger and drizzling honey over brie, making her tea with big dollops of honey- honey became the main inspiration for the shower and I settled on “Sweet as can Bee” for the name.
Even if I live in walking distance of everyone being invited to a party, which never happens, I like to make and send out invitations. I prefer paper over digital in a big way and just love to hang onto the keepsake of an actual invitation for things like this. I have gone many routes for invitations from custom invites to creating my own on Minted and this time I actually found the perfect invitation on Etsy from this shop. I downloaded it and was able to print them out myself. This is a really cost-effective option, but keep in mind you’ll need to purchase high quality paper, print them yourself and you’ll also be cutting each one.
I try to send out an email to let people know the date in mind 3 months in advance. That way people can book flights and start to schedule however they need to. Keep in mind- all my family lives out of state for me so there were a few more things to get in place seeing as this meant both hosting a shower for a few hours and hosting a house full of people for the weekend as well. If you know some guests will need to stay in a hotel, be sure to book a block of rooms a month or so in advance once your numbers are a little bit more firm.
If possible, try to create a menu that loosely fits the theme somehow. I initially was going gung-ho the honey route. “Honey baked ham! Honey Cornbread! Honey barbecue! Honey Mustard!” I never want the menu to be one-note though, so I settled on a Southern theme since these Texans love some southern food, especially the mommy-to-bee! Honey was a note threaded through the menu but not the star of every dish.
I always plan a cheese board no matter what I’m hosting because it’s both a gathering spot and a guaranteed win as far as food goes.
One key I keep in mind when planning a party or event is this: you can do anything, but not everything. I had big dreams of baking everything, cooking all the food, creating all the decorations and getting the house all clean and perfect for company all by myself. This is crazy talk. I have a toddler. I have a baby. I have 24 hours in a day and I have some Pride issues- OUTSOURCE, JILL! So outsource I did.
Whole Foods catered Oshiolema’s first birthday party and I was so happy with it I decided to have them cater the main dishes of the shower as well. I ordered Brisket and Ribs as well as coleslaw and decided we would make corn casserole, cornbread and a salad. If possible, I plan to have at least one homemade dish. I tried to think of a clever reason but there is none, I just love homemade food and think it elevates every get together.
We had our favorite local bakery cater the dessert and made sure they were able to deliver an hour before the start time.