A Tuscan Inspired Bridal Shower: The Details

Parlor City Photography

Very early on in our wedding planning process I spent a small amount of time trying to convince Joey [with photos and figures] that I had the perfect plan for our wedding. Just picture it: rent a villa in Tuscany for a week, get married there with our parents, siblings, and closest friends at our sides on like a Tuesday or Wednesday, and then spend the rest of the week celebrating with our guests. After, just he and I would stay for a second week to honeymoon. I had all the details worked out in my head: a small and intimate experience surrounded by our closest humans, in one of my favorite places on earth. After the time in Tuscany we would return home to host a very casual back-yard-bbq-type-party with our extended family and friends to celebrate the nuptials; è più che perfetto, no? After a handful of lengthy conversations and talking through logistics we both realized the plan was just not feasible. Instead of us going to Tuscany, however, I made it my mission to bring Tuscany to Upstate New York.

The bridal shower itself was a Tuscan dream. My mom, sisters, future mother-in-law, and step mom were the masterminds behind the details. My bridesmaids also orchestrated a few beautiful surprises throughout the day. I decided early on that I was going to step back from the planning process and let them take the lead as they were offering. It was no surprise, however, that the entire event was meticulously planned: from the venue, wishing well, and gift display, to the floral arrangements, menu choices, and the Italian rustic wood frames, no detail was left unattended to. My sister even hired a professional photographer, Parlor City Photography, to join us for a few hours to capture and archive the details. Every component was a reflection of mine and Joey’s relationship and our combined interests.

Parlor City Photography

For example! It is no secret that I love to cook and bake. As a wishing well, the guests were asked to bring a recipe card and/or a spice with them. What a great idea, right? I have attended a handful of showers where recipes are requested, a classic and heartfelt way to give a gift that keeps giving. I had not, however, heard of the idea of bringing a spice. Joey and I now have a secret arsenal full of popular, and some obscure, spices that we will be able to use now and well into our marriage. [ I recently just took inventory of all of the different spices, creating an index and count of how many of each kind we have. I never knew how happy I would be to have a stock of 3 bottles of dried basil and 6 bottles of ground cinnamon, among many, many, other spice varietals.]

Parlor City Photography | Sterling Stems Flower Farm + Design Studio

Now, let’s discuss these beautiful floral arrangements. Natural greenery, pops of delicate white flowers, and [real!!] lemons in a vase that looks like it would be found on a city balcony in the heart of Florence. I was floored. Expertly designed by Sterling Stems, these centerpieces gave the perfect pop of color and aesthetic interest to transform the space from a [already quite beautiful] dining room of the restaurant to an Italian Villa. Quite honestly I would love to recreate one of these beautiful arrangements to have on my dining room table all year round.

Parlor City Photography | Reclaimed Oregon Etsy Shop

Moving to… the card box! I spotted this gorgeous card box while scrolling through Etsy; I immediately knew that it had exactly the right amount of rustic elegance, almost reminding me of a keepsake you may see in family member’s home. And that was just it! It will, in the future, be able to be a keepsake in mine and Joey’s home. I have been trying to add little elements to the day that are both functional and sentimental. We were able to use the card box for the Bridal Shower, we will use it at our wedding, and then will be able to use it in the future to display on a shelf, store trinkets, and commemorate our wedding day.

Homemade Sugar Cookie Favors: baked, decorated, and photographed by yours truly

Finally, we arrive at the favors. Although I wasn’t involved much in the planning process, I felt strongly that I should be the one to take care of the favors; after all, I personally wanted to thank all of the guests for attending. I decided a labor of love would be the best way to do that. We had about 63 wonderful humans RSVP ‘yes!’ to attend my bridal shower, so I made about 72 of these beauts, just in case. It took me much longer than I would have liked and to this day I still think there was an imbalanced icing:cookie ratio, but they were done and they were homemade. A very humble attempt at expressing my deep gratitude.

When I have been asked what Tuscan actually means with regards to our “theme” or overall “vibe,” I often times describe it as a certain amount of simple elegance with relaxed rustic elements [Italian villa rustic, not American barn rustic]. A kind of “effortless” elegance. In my mind it somehow balances the formal pomp and circumstance of a wedding, with the warmth, love, and familiarity you feel when arriving at a loved one’s house for a holiday dinner. And, even though this entire post is about the little details of an event, what is most important is the time that everyone was able to spend together. Through out the process Joey and I both have been reminding each other that it isn’t about the venue, or the dress, or the fanciness of the floral arrangements. With the bridal shower, and most definitely through the wedding planning process, we have been striving to create an experience which, when people walk in, they immediately feel welcomed, appreciated, and ready to have a good time.

Julia Xx

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