Hosting Tips

Desert Romance Bridal Shower

By Camille Styles

Don’t get me wrong: I love girly. I adore lace, the color pink, jewels, frosting and peonies. But I think that all those feminine notions are way more interesting when juxtaposed with something a little more organic, don’t you? When we got the chance to collaborate on a romantic-themed bridal shower with the team at BHLDN (responsible for the most gorgeous bridal apparel & decor on the planet), I embraced the challenge to dream up a look that would appeal to the modern creative bride, who might prefer her soft and feminine colors through a simple, natural lens. And so our “Desert Romance” was born — a Southwestern-inspired party (that would work as well for a birthday fête, dinner party or even wedding as it does for this bridal shower) in desert sunrise shades of blush, peach and sage. Click through for all the eye candy captured by The Nichols (and prepare yourself for my favorite cake in history.)

The gals at Margot Blair Floral combined roses and peonies with eucalyptus, air plants and plenty of succulents for a look that’s soft yet unexpected.

*sources: jumbo papel picado, golden age pennants, blush mercury vessels, tracing botany vase.

Before guests arrived, I prepped our St-Germain and Champagne cocktail station. Lately, I’ve been loving the old-school elegance of a champagne coupe for serving any kind of bubbly libations.


The drink couldn’t be simpler, but it’s hard to beat. Pour 1 part St-Germain to 2 parts Champagne (or other sparkling wine) into a champagne glass. Top with club soda if desired, then garnish with orange zest.

*sources: rosy-cheeked coupes

Bottom’s up! There’s no quicker way to get the party started then greeting the girls with a tray of bubbly upon arrival.

*sources: glassware, dress

The lounge area is prepped and ready for girl talk and gift opening. Carly created the arrangements here using ivory roses, peonies, ranunculus, parrot tulips, anemones, and garden roses for the most ruffly and romantic results. Pink mercury votives scattered on the table added a magical glow.

*sources: vase, votives, champagne coupes, pennants, papel picado.

Our blushing bride Claire is the owner of stylish Austin boutique Beehive… and also happened to be a real-life bride-to-be on the day of our shoot! She got plenty of practice being the girl-of-the-hour, opening her gifts and sipping champagne like a real pro.

*source: dress, bride’s hair by heather olexa

These jumbo papel picado brought a touch of south-of-the-border festivity to our party, while their all-white palette kept things from feeling too “fiesta.” And of course, their romantic messages are especially fitting for a celebration that’s all about true love!

No gift can beat the fun of hanging out with your best girl friends all day… but pretty lingerie is a close second! Claire rips into the first box to discover this wedding night-worthy Carolina Camisole and Shorts set.

A statement-making birdcage gets dressed up with a simple garland made from eucalyptus, peonies, garden roses and succulents by Margot Blair Floral.

*source: pennants

Sometimes the most simply wrapped packages are the prettiest. We used a mix of kraft paper, satin ribbon and these silhouette place cards for a timeless look.

Cheers to the happy couple!

sources: champagne coupes and flutes

Cara wears the Gardenia Dress for a more relaxed look with a flirty hemline.

Jessi wears the fitted Shined Lace Shift Dress with metallic overlay.

*source: flags

Love the way these bright pops of orange in the flowers add a modern vibe to the otherwise soft peach and ivory tones of the flowers. It makes it all feel a little more fun and casual, don’t you think?

Natalie wears the Ainsley Dress that accentuates her waist with a chiffon bow.

Hand-painted maracas filling a woven basket are an on-theme decorative touch that doubles as a perfect party favor for guests to tote home.

Cara and Jessi prove they know how to shake it!

Claire wears the intricate, vintage-inspired lace Lilly Dress.

And now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for, that stunner of a cake! Coco Paloma Desserts crafted the 3-layered confection frosted in an ombré of peachy pinks. A cake stand piled high with Mexican Wedding Cookies complete the Southwestern vibe of our dessert vibe.

Succulents cascading over the side add the “wow” factor that makes this cake unforgettable (that, and the delicious flavor, of course.)

The Parlour Cake Stand adds a pretty pink detail to our cookie display.

A few tips for perfect cake cutting? First, measure out the number of slices you’ll need by lightly scoring the top of the cake with your knife. Use a long knife, and cut with a gentle sawing motion…

…And between each cut, wipe off your knife (or quickly dip into hot water) for the cleanest slice.

The ladies kick off their shoes and lounge, champagne in hand, on a daybed in a sunny spot.

Now the real fun begins! We blindfold the bride-to-be…

And set her loose with a giant heart-shaped piñata that’s almost to pretty to break open!

As the sun climbs higher overhead, we cool off in the shade of Claire’s lacy parasol with our feet in the pool. Clearly, no one wants this day to end.

Many thanks to BHLDN for partnering with us on this feminine fantasy, as well as the entire team who brought it to life (and made it such a blast to produce!)