Four months into my engagement, and I’ve learned that planning a wedding is a full time job. Lesson #1: If any event — like an engagement party, a bridal shower, a bachelorette party — can be passed off to friends or family, you’d be wise to give them complete autonomy over planning.
I was originally reluctant to have any kind of bridal shower at all, but when the good folks over at Austin’s Hotel Ella offered up their stunning ballroom for a wedding event, I quickly began rethinking my stance. Suddenly the idea of a shower began to sound appealing, and well, I couldn’t help but fantasize over what my dream shower would look like. But was I really going to do the unthinkable and plan my own? Add more to-do items to my endless list?
Thankfully, the rest of the girls immediately jumped on board and offered up their talents to help create a party unlike any we’ve ever thrown — one that was all at once grand, playful and feminine. Click through to see all the details from our Marie Antoinette-themed gathering, inspired by my destination wedding in France and Sofia Coppola’s unforgettable 2006 film…
*photography by Kate LeSueur
For the invitation, I called on the talents of the newest member to the Camille Styles team, Carmen. She totally nailed it with a whimsical, feminine invite that reads:
“Let Them Eat Cake
Please join us as we shower
Put on your Parisian Party Dress
and meet us for sweets at Hotel Ella
Respondez S’il Vous Plait by April 4th”
I put the finishing touches on the table by lighting these fun striped taper candles.
We could have never pulled off this party without the help of Loot Vintage Rentals. Their Agnes Sofa and Loretta Chairs were the perfect cream-colored tufted pieces to fit our 6-foot table, while the velvet Francis Bench balanced the deep blue walls of Hotel Ella‘s ballroom.
You can’t have a French-themed table without floral china. We stacked each place setting high with mismatched china dinner plates, a pink poplin napkin, tearoom dessert plates, and mismatched tea cups and saucers, then finished it off with rediscovered flatware.
Camille helped welcome guests by breaking open a bottle of Le Grand Courtage Brut Rosé and garnishing each glass with a sprig of fresh lavender.
When the attire calls for donning a “Parisian party dress,” accessorizing with costume jewelry is a given. Any excuse to play dress up is fine by us!
Behold one of our show-stopping desserts from the day: a triple chocolate cake with ganache drizzle, garnished with greenery and garden roses.
We all pulled up a seat at the party’s main attraction, an epic desserts table.
These red velvet cupcakes with buttercream roses were almost too pretty to eat.
For serving pieces, we used cake stands and platters in tons of different styles and heights, then piled the sweets and fruit wherever there was space.
When we ran out of room on the table, we did the sensible thing and moved the surplus sweets onto the floor… the ultimate display of abundance, of which we’d like to think Queen Marie herself would approve.
Dagny went straight for the tres leches terrines with candied pumpkin seeds that Hotel Ella’s bakery whipped up for us. Yum.
I asked Carly of Margot Blair Floral to create a really lush floral and greenery garland for our table. What she made was more than I could have ever imagined: whimsical and abundant, with enormous blooms in unexpected colors.
From Carly: “The base of the garland was made using a mix of seasonal foliages, with delicate passion vines draped over the side of the table and tacked to the linens to give the look plenty of texture and movement. The floral highlights to the piece were the buttery yellow Bartzella peonies, accented by a mix of spray garden roses, parrot tulips, sweet peas, and clematis vines, all in the soft, wispy shades of Spring.”
When we needed a change of scenery, we cleared out our bench and table, creating tons of floor space for opening presents. Oh the luxurious possibilities of having an entire ballroom at your disposal!
What’s more fun than being showered with presents? I could get used to this…
We kept the party going lounge style by passing bubbly, nibbling on more desserts, opening presents and of course, playing a shower game.
If you’ve seen Marie Antoinette, you likely remember the garden party scene where the Queen and her dinner guests play a raucous game of what we now call, “Heads Up.”
To create a bridal shower-themed version of the game, Jenn made individual cards containing a person, place or thing that corresponds to my wedding.
We each drew a card, and without looking, placed it on our foreheads with double sided tape. We then took turns trying to guess “who” or “what we were” by asking yes or no questions.
Camille guessed that she was “Paris” first, making her the winner!
The aftermath of the shower was perhaps the most on-theme element of the day, with shredded wrapping paper, strewn ribbon, half-eaten desserts, and spilled bubbly. I’m sure to never forget this shower, and I’d like to think we did Marie Antoinette proud as well. Á votre santé!