This September, my little sister Ashley is getting married! She and her fiance, Justin have been together for several years. They are one of the cutest, most loving couples I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t be happier that they’re starting their life together as husband and wife in less than 8 weeks.
Of course, I’m thrilled that Ashley asked me to be her matron-of-honor. Not only do I get the privilege of standing beside her while she says her vows, I also get to plan her bridal shower! As soon as Justin and Ashley got engaged, I started scheming and dreaming about this shower. I knew immediately that I wanted whatever I did to scream “Ashley” ~ a sweet girl who loves to garden and appreciates all things whimsical and colorful. Her only real request was that we have a tea party.
I toyed with the idea of hosting an actual High Tea. But my family just isn’t that stuffy or formal. Also, the shower is in late July, which isn’t exactly hot tea weather. So I came up with the idea of a Mary Engelbreit-Inspired Tea Party. Ashley loves her illustrations; and I think they’re the perfect inspiration for a whimsical bridal shower. Originally, I didn’t plan to use much actual Mary Engelbreit branded stuff. I’d just planned on something involving cherries, teapots and daisies in primary colors and checkerboard patterns. Then in March, I went to Michael’s to get new gel food colors for my Easter cookies. Ashley’s shower wasn’t even on my mind until I spotted the perfect Mary Engelbreit invitations ~ blue and white with cherries. It was the exact color scheme and design I’d had in mind for her shower cake and decorations!
For this tea party, I’m serving a traditional menu of tea sandwiches, scones and pastries. Instead of hot tea, I’ll be making iced teas. Of course, there will also be a whimsical, colorful cake, which I plan to make and decorate. It will have 2 tiers and a topper. For the topper, I’m using a Teacupcake from Fred & Friends. I must admit I’m a little nervous about the cake. I’ve a made a few layer cakes and countless decorated cupcakes. But I’ve never made a tiered cake by myself, nor have I ever made a cake for an event as important as this. Fortunately, Mom is a great cake decorator and will be there to help me.
Also, I’m firmly convinced that cooking is a much about one’s mental attitude as it is about one’s ability to follow directions. When I lived in Mexico, my host mom was fond of judging whether food was hecho con cariño, or “made with love”. She always said that food looked and tasted better when it was made with love. Though I’d never thought about it before, I realized it was true. When I put time and care into the food I prepare, it does turn out better. This cake, and everything else I am making, are things that I care deeply about because I am making them for a wonderful girl who is my sister and my friend.
Aside from truly caring about my kitchen creations, I’ve found that confidence does wonders for culinary success. When I approach a challenging recipe or technique, I make it a point to tell myself that it will turn out well. And you know what? It usually does!
Now I’m dying to share everything I have planned for this shower. But I don’t want to reveal all the surprises yet (especially not since Ashley reads my blog). But I do want to say that things will be pretty quiet here for the next couple weeks while I make the favors, food and cake for this shower. After it’s all done, I plan to write about the shower and some of the things that I’m learning during this time.