Bridal Shower for Twelve

the table set for twelve dinner guests, bistro lights strung overhead from flower covered trellis to flower covered trellis

Several weeks ago, we showered my oldest daughter’s best friend bride-to-be Stephanie with a lovely cocktail hour and sit-down dinner in our city garden back yard.

I also moved our other terrace furntiture out onto the lawn and covered it all in white linen; one linen duvet cover on the sofa, and for the two chairs I took a damaged white linen tablecloth and cut it in half, two pieces covering two chairs

There were only twelve of us, and it was divine. Caroline, along with Alexis, Marilynn, Taylor and myself, set the scene by moving our square table (composed of two rectangles) out onto the lawn and placed them end to end, creating one long table, with six cushioned chairs on each side. I express shipped the cushions in from California after trying to locally source them with no success, thinking women in dresses at a bridal shower should probably have a cushioned chair to sit on.

The tablecloths I actually picked up at Ollie’s, and they were $7.99 each, machine wash on cold. Lavender linen napkins I sourced last Thanksgiving from one of my favorite entertaining supply spots, Hudson Grace in San Francisco. All of their linens are exquisite, would love to collect multiple color batches.  At 22” square, a good gutsy size, I machine wash them on cold, hang to dry. Of course, they come out all professional looking when sent to the dry cleaner, and for this party Alexis handled that runaround detail.

I knew I wanted a to extend the dining table area upward to the sky and stars, so while out on one of my daily walks I thought ‘why not buy the tallest garden trellises I can get, decorate those with fresh greens, and string bistro lights over the table?’, so that’s what I did. Caroline filled her online cart at Home Depot and off Big Red went (our red pickup truck) to fetch our supplies.

Alexis, Taylor, and Caroline, with little Peyton lending a hand
fresh greens and fresh flowers were used to create a feminine step and repeat
here Peanut is draping a tablecloth over a household ladder to protect the blooms from the hot June sun
we created a little flower enclosed dining area
we worked all day, polishing silver, removing wax, filling votives, a true labor of love

Alexis bought buckets of fresh flowers from Trader Joes, and she organized and implemented the fresh floral step and repeat and the fresh floral end cap trellises, in effect making a little enclosed intimate dining area. We did this all the morning and afternoon of the party, even polishing the silver. It was all hands-on deck, even little Peyton got in on the action. To protect the flowers from the hot sun, I brought step ladders out from the garage and hung sheets to shield them a bit until party time. I also bought four large pots of vivid red geraniums, two for the patio to decorate cocktail hour, and two flanked the step and repeat to add another pop of color. I’m not a lover of red in my city garden, much prefer a softer palette, so those pots got moved out to the country house a little after this party.

vintage dinnerware, potted rosemary plants I brought home from Greenville SC after using them for two different college graduation parties we hosted for Elizabeth, one dinner, one brunch (I like to reuse as many resources as possible) the tablecloths have a little sparkle in them, picked those up at an outlet site

On another one of my daily walks, I stopped into our local home consignment store and saw some vintage dinnerware that called to me. Never one for vintage, at least not until now, I just couldn’t not take the plunge. Hey, it was service for 21! With soup bowls, luncheon plates, covered vegetable dishes, two coffee pots, the works! I asked the shopkeeper if I could take a photo to consult with Caroline about mood vibe (what we say when we are setting the tone of a gathering, and this was Italian Tuscan countryside), and consult we did. She thought they were great, I called back and said, ‘I’ll take the set’. Now I’m the proud new owner of a previously owned 142 piece set of Royal Winton Summertime Chintz Welbeck Dinner Set, yippee, lots of pretty parties to plan down the road.

mother daughter
stunning family on the linen covered seating area
I moved this buffet outside from our dining room to create the bar, all set, almost ready to go

So for the long table we had glowy inexpensive tablecloths, vintage china, lavender linen napkins, polished silver, tons of Reidel Performance wine glasses, and bowls of fresh lemons instead of fresh flowers. We bought bags of lemons at the grocery store, lemon leaves at the florist, and Alexis built beautiful full centerpieces. I had ordered large ornate candelabras for the table as well; they just didn’t fit. We really wanted to use them for the party, so after thinking for a bit I decided to bring them out at nightfall, creating a kind of ‘after-party’ mood, they were so great, even with light green wax dripping all over.

Our usual caterer, Giancarlo’s, did a great job with passed hors d’oeuvres and a seated three course dinner. One of our guests provided the wonderful wines, thank you Mary. Caroline ordered a fabulous frou frou cake from Lombardo’s, so delicious

Caroline wore yellow, Stephanie is of course white, and Taylor is soft floral
gold sequins for entertaining at home

I helped Caroline find her dress while we were in Greenville SC at one of our favorite boutiques August Twenty. She looked so beautiful and fresh in yellow, one of my favorite colors this season. I wore a gold sequined midi dress, a dress I would probably never wear to a party outside of my own house. I think when you are hosting you have a bit of ‘dress liberty’, and can kind of wear something a little unusual, so gold sequins was it. Everyone looked so pretty, and we had such a nice evening, loved having a small intimate group.

I placed small oranges inside of the hurricane lamp and we lined the entry table with the housemade Lemoncello

In keeping with our Italian Tuscan Countryside Dinner theme, Alexis made batches of scratch Limoncello and bottled it up for take home favors, personalized with custom stickers and tied with festive ribbon.

when the sun started to set I placed the candleabras on the cocktail tables
a view from the upstairs window after putting Petyon to bed 🙂
we all had such a great time
a beautiful early summer evening
Stephanie and her handsome groom

We partied together through the sun set and into the moon rising, the handsome groom swooping in towards the end for a romantic late-night kiss.

the bistro lights were so good
late night self serve bar (we sent the wait staff home), candleabras, and pottoed red geraniums
so much love for Stephanie and Klye

Every day dress, bridal shower for twelve.

ps. really wish we had hired a professional photographer, most photos are from my iPhone, it’s hard to wear many hats.

Recommended Posts


  1. Thank you for providing such a detailed description of the magical Tuscan bridal shower you and your “team” put together. The flower-covered trellises and bistro lights are so creative and pretty! Alexis and company did a great job with them. The vintage dinnerware, the rosemary plants and the lemon centerpieces all go so well together, and you look stunning in your gold sequined dress. Where did you get the dress, by the way?

    Since you couldn’t entertain last summer, it seems like you’re going all in on entertaining this summer. I admire your “use what you have on hand” philosophy and creative approach to entertaining.

    • Hello Rachel, thank you for your nice note. Gold dress is by Lafayette 148, my newest affiliation, I do seasonal trunk shows for my small group of beautiful clients. Happy Summer 2021 to you and yours! xoxo

Leave a Reply