Hey everyone! Today I’m sharing a bridal shower that I styled last month for Dan’s cousin Christina, who is getting married in October (be sure to stay tuned for the post on her wedding preparations—it’s going to be a beautiful event!).
Dan’s mother and step-father have a lovely vacation home in Bellaire, MI, and we have at least two big family gatherings there every year, one in August and one over the break between Christmas and New Year’s. Dan has a huge family, and there is almost always a new baby or a new wedding every year—when we are all together, we try to have showers and celebrations for these events as much as we can, so we planned Christina’s shower for the first Saturday in August, at the end of our first big family trip of the year.
One of the things that I love about Dan’s family is that, as big as they are, they make a huge priority out of getting together for these types of events as much as possible. We’ve never had an event like this with less than twenty family members, and this summer we had close to thirty here. Even some of our extended family made the trip.
I had just finished doing Sterlingfest the day before we left Rochester to come to Bellaire, and I didn’t think to bring any of my décor pieces with me for the shower decorations. I had to come up with a good plan kind of on the fly, which was actually really fun. I love visiting the thrift stores all around northwest Michigan, and I found some awesome treasures and one great new store (more on that later) as I was hunting for things for the shower.
Because it was late summer and Christina is having a rustic barn wedding anyway, I pretty much immediately decided to use wildflowers for the centerpieces. This meant I needed little vessels for the centerpieces instead of big vases. I started my hunt close to home, at the Nifty Thrifty in Bellaire. I found a small white creamer and a few medicine bottles, and that became my inspiration for the centerpieces.
Dan and I drove over to Gaylord the next day for a little lunch date and some more hunting, and we found several more medicine bottles in the half off tent outside The Resale Store, and then a few more tiny white creamers inside. I also bought a nice chair there for only $2:
The Gaylord Salvation Army was a bust that day, but I love the Habitat for Humanity ReStore there, and even though I didn’t count on finding anything for the shower, I scored this amazing headboard and footboard there for my newfound bed bench obsession:
Hobby Lobby supplied tiny bags and Thank You tags for the luxury soap favors that I found at Mrs. B’s, as well as a little chalkboard sign for the favor table and some burlap for runners. I splurged and bought some pre-cut linen hearts as well, to sprinkle over the runners.
The next morning I drove over to Mancelona to check two thrift stores there. The first was the Mancelona Food Pantry and Resale, where I found a couple of bottles, some small milk glass vases, and a vintage gossip bench, which was my first of the summer and something that I’ve been dying to find this year.
I love this particular shop because their prices are amazing. I spent $0.40 on a set of eight glass tea light holders for the table, so, basically nothing. The gossip bench was only $15.00, which was also a great deal. The only other time I’ve found one that inexpensive was at a random garage sale in Armada on the way to my brother’s wedding rehearsal five years ago. It was pretty special. I may have done a happy dance.
The second store was on my way back to Bellaire, the Community Lighthouse. This one is hit or miss for me, but I did find a few more bottles and a small white bud vase (that was later broken by a stray soccer ball before I got to use it–these things happen in a house full of happy cousins), so this time was a success.
Here’s my array of tiny glassware for wildflower centerpieces.
I wasn’t completely happy with the burlap runner idea because I felt like it was too predictable, but with limited options for creating something awesome (I had no access to a sewing machine or hot glue gun), I broke down and bought a little roll of it. What I was really hoping to find was some chippy painted barn wood or rustic wood slices.
Enter Deer Creek Junk, my new junk store find of the year.
It was one of the best salvage stores I’ve ever been to, and there were so many cool pieces and different ideas and inspiration I got from walking around. I’ll definitely head back there before long. I had to limit myself to what I would buy for the shower, and I ended up just grabbing some wood slices and three letterpress Q’s, since Christina’s new last name will be “Quick.” I wasn’t sure exactly what I would do with them, but I thought they would be cool.
I still feel like the wood slices were a bit predictable, but at least they aren’t as ubiquitous as the burlap.
Every time I felt like I was done shopping for the shower, I managed to find one more cool piece that I couldn’t resist buying. I justified the wood slices by telling myself that I’d also use them at church for the tables at the Bible Journaling event I was in charge of last month (which I ended up using something else for–ha!), so I wasn’t buying them for just one purpose.
A few days before the shower I soaked all the bottles in warm, soapy water to get the stickers off and get them nice and clean. I played around with the design until I figured out something I liked—of course I had overbought for the centerpieces, but I used the rest of the pieces for other areas. Some of them ended up going up on the mantel—we piled the gifts all around the hearth as people arrived.
The biggest bottles I planned on using for the favor table, along with the letterpress Q’s. The last thing that I really needed was something to prop up the bottles and letters so that they could be easily seen. I was thinking a small wooden crate or a stack of books with the covers ripped off, which would be simple to find if I just went back to the Nifty Thrifty on Friday if I couldn’t find anything better.
Fortunately, on the way out to Friske’s Farm for a day with the cousins, we found one last garage sale that we didn’t even know we needed, and that supplied the final element for the favor table–a cherry lug (that’s the wood box in the photo). In addition, I picked up a few more medicine bottles, including some really tiny ones that ended up being absolutely perfect and a few vintage hankies for my Etsy shop.
The last thing I was in charge of was the cake, which I ordered from a bakery in Central Lake, A Touch of Class. I told Tracy about the theme of the shower and that we were doing rustic favors and decorations, and she came up with the idea for a naked cake with flowers from the Bellaire Farmer’s Market. Everyone absolutely loved the cake–even Christina, who is not much of a cake person. I must have been subconsciously remembering her wedding board on Pinterest–she’d pinned a naked cake there before she ultimately decided to go with cupcakes.
It fit in so perfectly with the theme that I decided to use it as the centerpiece for the biggest table, with two of the smaller set-ups on either side, and it looked really beautiful. I loved being able to use items that I gathered from around the Bellaire area, and I’m actually glad that I didn’t plan out a bunch of pieces ahead of time, because it gave me an excuse to drive around and do a little junk shopping, which is one of my favorite things ever.
The wildflowers mostly came from the side of the road right in front of the house–there’s a hill there that slopes down from the golf course, and only the edge of that gets mowed, so there were plenty to choose from. Charlotte helped me pick the flowers and fill the little bottles with water–she loves anything that has to do with water or the sink–even doing dishes!! We also used some of the hydrangeas that grow like crazy in the front and on the side of the house–no one really sees the ones on the side anyway, so I grabbed them from those bushes–they get so heavy with blooms in July and August that a lot of them droop over onto the ground!
We had great weather, played some fun games, and had a really good time together celebrating Christina’s upcoming wedding.
Thanks for reading everyone!