…Life isn’t always about sewing…
I have this friend. Brooke. And if you met her you’d want to be her friend too. So I was honored to host her bridal shower and have the opportunity to partake in one of the many celebratory festivities that lead up to a wedding. The largest crowd I’ve ever cooked for (not including the typical Sunday back yard BBQ) was probably 8. So I would be lieing if I said I didn’t have some anxiety over hosting a shower and cooking for 16 people.
First and foremost this was not going to be a shower of cheese-y games or miniature penises (that was taken care of at another celebration involving cross continental travel and a Times Square penthouse). It had to be special because nothing less than a proper “ladies that brunch” soiree would do for this amazing gal. So maybe a little outline of menu and activity will help someone else create the same for their amazing bride-to-be.
Brooke’s friend Lana, of Lana’s Shop, is a wonderful hand illustrator who illustrated the shower invitations. Brooke’s favorite color if you hadn’t figured it out is purple. Aren’t they gorgeous? Well, no, your important information won’t be smudged out on your cards. Also included was a cute, little square card with the registry information all complete with matching envelope.
I will note that I could not have done this all without the help of two other equally amazing woman. One of whom so graciously offered up her spectacular home as the venue complete with amazing views of the foothills and plains of Boulder. Honestly it was so amazing minimal decorations were needed which just made it a little bit easier. These two amazing woman were the bride’s mother and a life-long friend who’s known the family since before said bride was born. They planned a fantastic blessing ceremony to celebrate this transition into a new chapter of life.
CIRCLE OF STONES
After the brunch, the ladies were summoned into a ceremonial circle. The premise of which was that a woman’s life is celebrated at various stages of her journey and should be blessed and supported by other women around her. Not having experienced something like this (though I can assure you it made me realize I would love to celebrate my daughter like this throughout her life) I wasn’t sure what to expect. It started with an explanation of what the circle’s purpose was to set the stage and a passage was read from the book “Circle of Stones: Woman’s Journey to Herself.” Here’s a description of the book:
“Long ago before the patriarchal period, in many places on Earth, the Goddess was worshipped. Circle of Stones draws us into a meditative experience of the lost Feminine and creates a space for us to consider our present lives from the eyes of women’s ancient culture and ritual. Incorporating the most ancient symbol of spirituality-the circle of stones-Duerk weaves stories, dreams, and visions of women to lead each reader into a personal yet archetypal journey, posing the reflective question, “How might your life have been different if . . .”
We were then all asked to say something special about the bride. Anything at all. But mostly was there any knowledge or wisdom we could provide to Brooke, through our experiences, to help her through her life’s transition. Or maybe there was something we wanted to share about Brooke that made her special or special to us. Her mother and family friend bought her a gift for the ceremony. A ring. In true 20’s style which is so Brooke. A ring is also the symbol of eternity with no beginning or end signifying never ending love. This gift was passed around to each person as they imparted their thoughts onto Brooke in essence leaving behind a small part of themselves and the embodiment of that person’s well wishes for the bride. So in the end this gift was special not only because two people that love her gave it to her, but also because it now contained pieces of the circle of women who came together to celebrate this life’s transition. And hopefully when she wears it, she will always be reminded of those who support and love her.
LET THEM EAT (gluten free) CAKE
Actually there was no cake *gasp* but here’s a rundown of the menu. There were some dietary considerations for the bride and some guests so we did as much gluten free as we could. We set it up buffet style and let guests mingle and roam/sit as they desired. I’ll link to the recipes in the resource section at the end. I regret that I did not get enough photos of the food set up as I had all I could do to remember to pull the casseroles out of the warmer. And I am not a food photographer so let’s just get that disclaimer out of the way.
- Cheese Tray – various cheese squares accompanied by skinny bread sticks, GF crackers, chutney, salami and figs. Meant to be served as an appetizer as guests arrived.
- Yogurt Station – plain yogurt, granola & a fruit medley of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
- Gluten free mini blueberry muffins with butter and jam
- Egg Casseroles – one vegetarian, one for meat-a-saureces but both gluten free. Both casseroles were each about 8-10 servings.
- Potato Casserole – pretty simple hash brown casserole
- Tomato and avocado slices on the side
And for dessert: fruit skewers, coffee cake and gluten free lemon bars. If we did not have the yogurt bar with its fruit, I would have served the fruit skewers with the main brunch. For the lemon bars, I used my grandfather’s recipe. It calls for a shortbread crust (which is obviously not GF) so I bought some GF shortbread cookies, crumbled them up somewhat fine, pressed into the bottom of the pan and baked at 350 until lightly browned before pouring in the lemon filling. There are also numerous gluten free shortbread recipes using rice flour that can be found with a quick search.
WELL, WHAT ABOUT THE BEVERAGES?
Another one of Brooke’s good friends had found a fantastic drink recipe that Brooke took on as the wedding’s signature cocktail (which of course was served for the Bachelerotte in NY). It was prepared by first rimming the champagne glass with a mixture of sugar and spices. A cube of crystallized ginger and a star of anise were placed in the glass then a small shot of prepared ginger syrup and topped off with Prosecco (or any other sparkling wine). Ginger the symbol of love & success and anise for luck. A separate drink station was set up in the kitchen right off the dining room where the buffet was. This included wine, coffee, orange juice and water.
As guests arrived it became very clear the impact Brooke has had on her friends. A gaggle of Karoo Collection clutches and purses donned the entry table. Our bride has another journey currently happening in her life: she’s started a line of beautiful, genuine ostrich leather handbags from South Africa…her spiritual home and serendipitous enough the homeland of her wonderful and amazing fiancee. I couldn’t resist a shot of the lineup.
Here’s a rundown of the timeline too for those who are also a bit Type A like myself.
- Guests arrive, cheese tray served and cocktails made
- Eating, buffet style
- Circle Ceremony
- Dessert which flowed into the gift giving
Hot food and dishes were cleared after eating which allowed for a quick set up for the ceremony. Nibbles were left out and of course drinks always available. After the ceremony dessert was brought out for guests to enjoy while the presents were opened.
And of course there were gifts. What bridal shower would be complete without lovely lady’s unmentionables?
I could not have been more pleased. But most importantly the bride felt special and loved. And a huge thank you to Brooke’s mom and friend who helped with planning and putting together the special ceremony. Thank you to my own mother who helped me sort out all the serving wear I needed to use and providing numerous serving pieces and glasses. And a shout out to my sous-chef…you know who you are.
- Karoo Collection – A Bespoke line of 100% genuine ostrich leather handbags & purses from South Africa
- Lana’s Shop – For all your Illustration Needs
- Crustless Quiche with Ham, Asparagus & Gruyere (I doubled this and put it in a 9×13 casserole dish)
- Breakfast Casserole with Mushrooms, Bell Peppers & Feta
- Creamy Hash Brown Casserole (I did not do the layer of potato chips on top but it would have added some nice browning/color)
- Ginger Champagne Cocktail
- Nice looking Plastic Plates
- “Circle of Stones: A Woman’s Journey to Herself” by Judith Duerk