A vintage travel-themed bridal shower

I have mentioned by girlfriends before (here and here). We have been friends for 15 years, and now another of us is getting married! Naturally, we broke into teams to plan the celebrations.

I got to help on Team Bridal Shower. 🙂 My friend Beth and I planned for weeks and still blame Pinterest for a new way to get ourselves in over our heads.

BUT, the two main goals were to:

  1. Make the bride-to-be feel special.
  2. Be friends at the end of it all.

And, I’m happy to report, both goals were met with flying colors!

Since this was such a fun experience, I figured it was worth posting, but it was also my first time throwing a shower, so I’ll also share some tips as a “greenhorn guide” of sorts (not that we’re now experts by any means!).

Choosing a Theme

We chose our theme based on the bride’s love of travel. Since it’s a love I share, it was easy to run with! We used a general travel theme, not a specific destination.

But there are many resources to help you choose. The main point is to honor the bride, so whatever she’d need or appreciate should win. I especially liked some of the personal but non-traditional shower ideas, like this lumberjack theme. C’mon, that’s cute!

Once we established our vintage travel theme, we went crazy for all the adorable details we could. Our main ideas came from each other and online.


Our first order of business was to get invitations. After searching online, we came across an airline ticket template here and decided to make our own. And after six or seven versions back and forth, we had a final to print.

We used the Microsoft Word template linked above but added all our own verbiage, icons and information. Then we converted to a pdf so there were no formatting errors between Word versions or print quality.

Since we personalized them with each guests name, this was the most efficient way we could think of.

Beth printed them at home on parchment cardstock and then we got together to cut them out and mail them.

Very early morning arts and crafts.

Here’s Beth rounding the corners and our almost finished pile. You also might be able to see that we used plain #11 envelopes but added a little pink plane and a plane trail detail. We didn’t want to spend money on the part that people would throw away, but we couldn’t leave it plain!



Finds came mainly from Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, TJ Maxx, thrift stores and Party City.

We put all the gifts in “Baggage Claim.”

We also added vintage touches using the leftover parchment paper to make the baggage claim sign, an “Arrivals” sign. The gift tags shown above were made with the help of the cutest stamp set from Michael’s onto plain paper. We used the same design for food tags.

I also tried a silly project:

Yep, that’s a glass bruschetta mix jar with caulk-drawn hearts and initials.

I primed them:

Meh…I thought maybe they had potential but was feeling ready to throw them out at this point.

Instead, I picked a hot, girly pink and stuffed a large a large flower in each one.

They were great down the center of the table!

I offset them with tea light lanterns, aka chandelier bulb covers from 1975 that I found and fell in love with for the prisms they create with the candlelight. All-in-all, I thought it turned out kinda sweet on the lace table-cloth (since no one else saw the “before,” ha).

In that picture you can also see our gift favors for the guests. We wanted to do luggage tags but after scouring everywhere, we couldn’t find any that were reasonably priced enough to buy 15 that were still pretty.

Until, we found these metal monogrammed tags for $1 each!

They were large, sturdy and already tag-shaped.

Of course, they were also multi-colored, but that’s nothing paint can’t fix!

After four thin coats of a metallic champagne color, things were looking optimistic.

All it took was some beautiful rose-colored ribbon we found (on clearance for $.19!!!) and we had pretty, personalized tag favors.

Not bad! And as an unexpected bonus, the designs were raised so they came through as a cool texture.

The day before, Beth spent hours making tissue paper flowers in pink, white and gold.

It took a little Googling + trial and error, but she was so proud.

And I was so impressed. They were soooo adorable.

Aren't they the perfect, sweetest touch?

And we set up the food table, as you can see. So, let’s talk about food next!


Food was a challenge at first, but I’m so happy with what we chose. And, my new fridge was officially put to the test. It definitely passed! 🙂

Food and drinks for 15 people plus normal groceries.

Food was also the most work in a short time and it was a crazy kitchen the morning of the shower with Beth, my Mom and me.

Busy bees!

While Beth cut plane shapes out of bread to make cucumber sandwiches, my Mom made egg-in-hole out of the shells for our breakfast! ❤

YUM. Thanks, Mom!

But it couldn’t have come together better.

An easy round table to walk around in the dining room worked well.

We served veggie cups, mini veggie quiche, mini ham and broccoli quiche, cucumber sandwiches, chicken salad crescent rolls, Jell-O Temptations chocolate mousse and no-bake strawberry lemon cheesecake.

We also had a mimosa bar and fruit water.

It was so popular, I couldn't get a picture before the ladies dove in. A wonderful sign!

We kept the champagne iced. In pitchers, we offered grapefruit juice and orange juice. In pretty clear bowls, we had strawberries, blackberries and nectarines to drop in. I enjoyed it as much as any guest!


We had six main sources of entertainment:

1. An icebreaker game for everyone–we cut sheets of paper into quarters and handed them out as guests arrived. We asked everyone to write how they met or knew the bride and sign it. The we collected and read all the cards while guests tried to guess who it was. The person who got the most correct won.

2. A guess-the-groom’s-answers game for the bride–Before the shower, we asked the groom 20 questions about himself and bought a bunch of the ugliest clothing we could find. So the shower game was asking the bride what she though his answers were.

To tie it to our theme, we packed all the clothes in a suitcase and told her that TSA’s new rules for newlyweds required them correlate how well they knew each other with how much luggage they were allowed to pack. 🙂

For every answer she got wrong, she had to put on an item of ugly clothing.

Goal #1: Make the bride-to-be feel special. CHECK! 😉

Luckily, she is a doll. And, although she is normally impeccably dressed, she was a very good sport about layering on the tacky, including wearing the thong bathing suit over chef pepper pants. It was fantastic.

3. A silly game for everyone–There are plenty of games you can play. Just one fun last one, that fit with our worldly approach, we had guests play a matching game with wedding-related words in different languages and their meanings.

4. Jen opened her gifts.

The bride-to-be was as good as any Price Is Right girl! haha

5. We read her wedding night conversation–In addition to writing down her gifts and making her a rehearsal bouquet from the bows, we wrote down her exclamations as she opened her gifts (she and the guests had no idea) and then read them aloud at the end. It went along the lines of “Oh, a family gift! So pretty. Wow, what’s with all the tape? Did you do this in the car? Oh I love this! I always wanted one.” and so forth. It is of course fitting for the gifts but hysterical to read all together under the pretense of her wedding night!   

Lessons learned:

  • Be honest with yourself and any co-planners about the time it will take. You control this, but if you wait to start establishing a timeline, it will bite you in the butt. This is something we did right, actually, and were very grateful for.
  • Discuss a budget. You don’t have to go big, but a party isn’t cheap–don’t volunteer if you expect it to be. Talking money with friends can be especially awkward so honesty and consideration are key. Beth and I really wanted to do a couple things but had to be realistic about the cost and luckily, we could talk it out for the best outcome.
  • RSVPs don’t always cooperate. Some people said yes and didn’t show. Some people didn’t respond and then showed. Some people didn’t respond at all. Scheduling is tricky and people are busy. When you add out-of-towners, it’s definitely going to throw you curve balls, so planning and balance is important.
  • Have a trust-worthy team and extended team.Even though Beth and I were the hostesses, our extended team was amazing and really made a huge difference in the whole process:
    • My Mom worked hard to clean windows and cook all morning.

      Bear was helping her from the inside.

    • My husband scrubbed the house for a week because we knew beyond wanting it to be shiny pretty, incoming guests had cat allergies. And, it was a big task that Beth and I didn’t have to do. All around incredibly helpful.
    • Beth’s boyfriend was so supportive of us talking about the shower non-stop and of her spending more time at my house than her own. 🙂
  • Have a tie-breaker plan for every game you play. All three games we planned had ties! We couldn’t believe it and ended up having people pick numbers between 1 and 10 to break them. It worked fine but was admittedly lamer than we could have been.
  • Be flexible until the very end. I think we did great on this but it was worth mentioning. Recipes may not work out, timing may not work out, you may not have time to do your hair…all three of those things happened to us. But, it didn’t make or break the day.

Goal #2: Be friends at the end. CHECK!

Jen is getting married later this year in New Orleans and you can be sure you’ll get to read all mostly about it–it’s sure to be beautiful, fun and memorable.


One response to “A vintage travel-themed bridal shower

  1. Pingback: My first oyster roast | Greenhorn Living

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