I’ve talked about my family many, many times on here, so if you’ve read for any length of time, you may have discerned that I have two pretty fantastic younger brothers.  Even though they are most definitely adults, I will always think of them as my baby brothers.  As much as I adore them now, it wasn’t always so.  They are very close in age to each other, but several years younger than me.  Add to that the fact that they were both 1000% boy and it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that things weren’t always peachy growing up with them.  Our dad aptly described it many times as “like raising wild dogs.”  Every chance I had, I would beg my mom for a younger sister.  She was at the top of my Christmas list many years in a row.  Eventually I resigned myself to the fact that I would not be getting a sister.

Any older sister is bound to be protective of her younger brothers, but when Mom passed away and we were all still so young, it definitely added another dimension to my worries.  As they grew out of the “wild dog” phase and into the “teenage boy reeking of Axe” stage, I began to worry specifically about the girls they would date.  I was generally glad that they didn’t seem overly preoccupied with girls, and that Davy never seemed to have an official girlfriend.  Finally around Davy’s senior year of high school I caught wind of a girl in his life – Rebekah.  I remember the first time I met her vividly because I was so, so nervous.  I worried that I wouldn’t like her for any number of nebulous, vague reasons, or that she and Davy would seem like a bad fit.  But all of that worrying was for nothing.  I loved her from the start and even better, I could tell that she loved Davy.  He’s definitely a unique personality in many ways but every time I see them together, I’m reassured because she so totally gets him.

I have loved seeing how much he clearly adores her.  He has grown so much into a man (still baby brother, though) that I am incredibly proud of, and I know Rebekah deserves at least some of the credit.  I normally try not to pry but it they had been together for a long time and I just couldn’t resist anymore so one day I asked Davy, “When are you going to marry that girl?”  To my surprise he responded, “As soon as possible.”  I was overjoyed to help pick out her engagement ring and help Davy plan a surprise proposal.  Now we’re just a few weeks away from the wedding and though she has really been part of our family for some time it feels awesome to say, I’m finally getting a sister.

I was honored when Rebekah agreed to let me host a bridal shower for her friends and some family.  Since our families are from Bloomington and many of her friends are still there, we decided that would be the best location for the shower.  I pondered a few different venues for the shower and inquired at Deer Park Manor, a former mansion-turned-wedding and party space that seemed like it might work.  I was delighted when the person responding to my inquiry was none other than my former Girl Scout leader Sue, now the event planner at the venue.  I could not have asked for a better situation!  I toured the venue and decided yes, it was exactly what I was hoping for.  By the time all the details were worked out, I was already in a bit of a time crunch so my amazingly talented friend Courtney whipped up some invitations for me.  Rebekah had suggested a pink champagne sort of theme at some point along the way, so Courtney came up with this beautiful bubbly motif that was so perfect.

The manor at Deer Park is an amazing, spacious, and ornate home, and it provided a lovely base that required only minimal decoration for hosting an elegant shower.  In addition to the invites, Courtney created coordinating printables including this adorable bunting.  It was just the thing to decorate the head of the room where we played games and opened gifts.  (Side note: My standard prize for winning shower games is sitting there on the mantle – Godiva truffles and Starbucks gift cards.  You can never go wrong with coffee and chocolate :)

Since this was a bridal shower and not a baby shower, a champagne bellini bar was totally appropriate and very, very much enjoyed!  We had raspberry, blackberry, and peach puree available for making the bellinis.  They were all great but the classic peach was definitely my favorite combination.

I also made sure to include a non-alcoholic option for the expectant moms in attendance.  This sparkling pink lemonade has long been a favorite of mine and is every bit as fun as a cocktail, in my opinion.

To help the girly up the room where the food was served, I floated two dozen balloons over the food table and cut the ribbons to an appropriate length.  This added a nice festive touch and I think carried that bubbly theme through a bit more.

Since the shower was at lunch time, I wanted to make sure there was plenty of food.  I served a few savory items and then had a small array of pink desserts to round out the menu.  Almost everything was able to be made in advance, which was essential for this party since I wasn’t in my own home.  The full menu was as follows:

Cucumber Bites with Salmon Mousse (a hybrid of these two recipes)
Pineapple Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Tortellini Veggie Salad (just something I threw together, no real recipe)
Mac and Cheese Bites (I made and assembled these in the morning and then baked them at the venue just before party time)

Raspberry Lemonade Bars
Strawberry Shortcake Parfaits
Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes (I did a riff on this recipe)
Fresh Raspberry and Vanilla Macarons

I’ve seen macarons before with a piece of fresh fruit inside (usually a raspberry) surrounded by buttercream.  I decided to try it this time and wowza – these were my favorite macs yet.  Davy also agreed when he tasted the leftovers.  I just loved the surprise of the fresh fruit inside.  (If you do this, just assemble them the day you plan to serve them.)

Can we just talk for one second about how gorgeous ranunculus is?  I love the graceful swirls of the petals.  I swear, I could just stare at them for hours!  Also, a little entertaining tip – hurricane or other large candle holders also double spectacularly as vases.  Don’t go buying new vases if you have good candle holders around.

After we had all finished eating, we refilled our champagne glasses and then gathered round for some shower games.  I try to keep these fairly short, sweet, and non-embarrassing for anyone involved.  One game was a cooking knowledge quiz from a Hallmark book of bridal shower games from the late ’70s.  It was actually fairly challenging!  The next game is what is pictured above, The Price is Right.  (I played this once at a shower and loved the idea so much, I had to use it myself.)  I bought a variety of household items for the bride and groom to keep – mostly cleaning supplies, headache medicine, dental floss, etc.  Everyone writes down their guesses for the prices of the items (I also tell them what store the items were purchased at, since prices vary) and the person with the closest total price without going over wins!  I am personally absolutely terrible at estimating things like this, so I was incredibly impressed with the winner.  She came within about $1.50 of the total!  Lastly, I had asked Davy 15 questions before the shower and I asked Rebekah the same 15 questions. For every answer they matched up, I gave them a $5 toward a date night out at a restaurant of their choosing.  They did really well at about eight!

Then Rebekah opened her gifts.  It’s always such fun to see brides getting fun equipment and dishes to stock their kitchens.  Rebekah is a fantastic cook so I know all of it will be put to good use.

After gifts, many guests lingered a while longer and we made sure to finish off the leftover champagne.  I had little boxes of caramel corn as favors, spruced up by some gold glitter ribbon, gold twine, and cute tags from Courtney.  I was sad for the shower to end but it’s okay because in no time at all it will be the big wedding day!  What a wonderful day that will be.

Venue: Deer Park Manor
Flowers: Gillespie Florists (Indianapolis) – supplied flowers, I arranged them myself
Invitations and party printables: Courtney of Cook Like a Champion
Envelopes and liners: Paper Source (I made the liners myself out of these sheets because paying $14 per set of 10 little liners is cah-razy!)
Popcorn boxes, gold twine, pink dot straws, pink stripe baking cups: TomKat Studio Shop

  • How lovely, I love the whole thing of ‘getting a sister’ – I’m sure you’ll make a wonderful one!

  • Pat Erwin

    Your attention to detail is amazing! I so enjoy reading about your recipes and ideas. Pat

  • elalderson

    You amaze me with your party skills- everything looks gorgeous!

  • Amy

    This is such an amazing shower! I especially love the Price is Right game idea…so fun!
    I bet your new sister feels just as blessed to have a sister like you, too! Congratulations to your brother and SIL!

  • So SO pretty!! Looks like is was a beautiful party!

  • Aww this is sooo nice!!

  • LisaR @ Who Stole My Baby?

    Wow, those bellinis look amazing. I would like one right now, actually. Too bad it’s 7 am.

  • So beautiful! I’m with you, Annie. I have two younger brothers and we lost our mom when I was 10. You want the best for those boys as if you were their mom (which I feel like, sometimes). Enjoy having a sister!

  • annieseats

    Aw, sorry to hear of the loss of your mom but it’s always nice to know of someone else who can relate. I was also 10 when Mom died. Being a big sister and feeling like a mom sometimes isn’t always easy, but it’s nice to be there for them, isn’t it? :)

  • She’s lucky to have you! This is a beautiful shower.

  • Shanon Lacy

    OK. I’m totally hiring you for Sam’s bridal shower next summer. K? K! Looks absolutely beautiful, Annie.

  • Monica Ma

    What a gorgeous bridal shower!! Everything looks beautiful (and I love Lorina lemonade)!

  • SoDomesticated

    What a lovely shower!

  • annieseats

    Yes! I’m so in. Thanks babe :)

  • Angie

    We played the Price is Right game at one of my baby showers and it was actually very fun (coming from someone that isn’t a huge fan of shower games!)

  • marcie @ flavor the moments

    Everything looks so beautiful. All those pretty, pink treats looked SO delicious!

  • annieseats

    I totally agree! I dislike most shower games but this one is my favorite (even though I suck at it).

  • What an amazing and fun bridal shower thrown by a fantastic big sister!! I always wanted little brothers, but have 3 younger sisters instead. The family bond is always there no matter what, and I’m so happy that you are finally getting your little sister. You two will have lots of fun in the years to come.

  • Caroline L.

    Oh wow, this is such a stunning shower! You have such an eye for planning gorgeous events & of course, the food looks nothing less than perfect. Congratulations to your brother and your entire family for getting to welcome this beautiful woman! :)

  • Elizabeth Arnold

    You throw the most adorable, sweet, thoughtful showers! Everything looks gorgeous and delicious!

  • Such a gorgeous event, Annie! Every detail is, of course, perfect. I love that Courtney got in on the action with the invitations :-) So glad you’re finally getting the long-awaited sister!

  • Anne Jbara

    Annie, this is so fun to see! I got married at Deer Park Manor in 2011 and loved it (and Sue!). It’s great to see your take on it and your springtime decor. I am definitely going to use some of those shower games for my sister-in-law-to-be’s bridal shower this summer.

  • cmacolini

    Had never seen ranunculus before. Thanks for the introduction. When I shopped at Whole Foods yesterday and was looking at the floral offerings they immediately caught my eye. Now I’m enjoying a bouquet in my kitchen window.

  • annieseats

    Yay! I always get so excited when I find it in Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

  • cmacolini

    Been reading about them this morning. I’d like to try growing some in the kitchen garden this fall. Thanks again!

  • lissa

    So impressed—everything is so beautifully classy and gorgeous! Could you share examples of the questions you asked your brother? I’m probably about the age of your mother and we would remember getting 3 tea-towels or a set of measuring cups for a shower gift!

  • mpetermann1

    Girl, I just don’t know how you do it. You are a doctor – a DOCTOR – so you probably work a million hours a week & you still are able to cook magnificent food, take fantastic photos, do fun stuff with your kids & throw parties like this. You are someone I really wish I could know in real life. Of course, I’d hate you – but I still wish I knew you :)

  • What a gorgeous shower! Ranunculus are one of my favorites, too.

    I’m definitely going to make a note of the shower games. I have a feeling several of my friends will be getting engaged in the next couple of years, so I’ll need plenty of shower games in my arsenal!

  • mireille

    Everything is lovely! What caught my eye, thought, is the dress the guest of honour is wearing! Do you maybe possibly know where she got it?

  • Tiffany

    Annie, what a beautiful party! I wondered, the cupcake cups you have with the pink stripes. Do you find when you bake the cupcakes in there, the liner gets soggy or loses its color? Or do you bake the cupcake in a regular liner and then slide it in there? Thank you :)

  • What a beautiful bridal shower! Ranuculus are lovely, and maybe underused in my group of friends, I had pink ones in my bridal bouquet while most of my friends opted for all-rose bouquets. I love the idea of “The Price is Right” game with household items!

  • annieseats

    Some of the baking cups like this can get grease marks after baking, but they usually aren’t too bad. The liner doesn’t get soggy. The problem with baking them in something else and then slipping them into the cups is that the cups are a slightly different shape than other baking cups or the pan itself (narrower and taller), so the cupcake wouldn’t fit if put in afterward. For me they still look cute enough to use on occasion :)

  • annieseats

    I checked with her. It’s from a store in Atlanta called Lizard Thicket and the brand is Addie.

  • annieseats

    Some questions were about him and some were about her, basically to see how well they know little facts about each other. Favorite foods, favorite movies, pet peeves, dream vacations, how many kids do they want, etc.

  • Angela

    This party looked so beautiful and full of love. Congratulations to your family!

  • mireille


  • Laura Campbell

    Annie, you did an amazing job with the bridal shower… so, so happy for Rebekah and Davy, and for you as a family :) I wouldn’t let my bridesmaids throw me a shower (I’m very non-traditional and I hated the idea of being fussed over… they had to completely twist my arm to have a hen’s night!) but I do love planning such things for my friends who enjoy them. After all, it’s (hopefully!) once in a lifetime and it’s a beautiful opportunity to spend quality time with the women you love. Thanks to you and Rebekah for sharing this event with us! x

  • What a beautiful shower, for a beautiful bride, hosted by a beautiful sister!!

  • Siffat Haider

    Your blog is beautiful, such an inspiration

  • sweetsugarbelle

    This had me smiling the entire time I read. I identify, because I have two baby brothers also. One will probably never be married, but I pitied the gal who could put up with my youngest brother for a while. He was for lack of a better word, a wild dog. Slowly but surely she’s housebreaking him, and he’s turned out to be quite a dad. Rebekah is so lucky to have you as a sister in law. I can see how much you love her in ever detail. This is beautiful, Annie!

  • joyce

    Your blog is always where I turn for cupcake recipes because every recipe our yours that I’ve made has been amazingly delicious! I’m throwing my best friend’s bridal shower in a couple of weeks, and I think strawberry champagne cupcakes would be perfect. You mentioned you did a riff on your strawberry cupcakes. I was wondering if you had more details about how you did that? Thanks!

  • annieseats

    I can’t remember the details of exactly what I did but if I had to guess, I would say I made the cupcake as written, brushed the warm cakes with champagne, and then incorporated a champagne reduction into the frosting along with some of the strawberry puree. Also, this is an old recipe but also a good option for you: http://www.annies-eats.com/2009/06/19/strawberry-champagne-cupcakes/