The official start of Summer is June 20th, but it sure does feel like the season has arrived early here in Vegas! For expectant mothers due in the next few months, there's no better way to welcome their new first mate than with a nautical-themed baby shower! I adore the Mod Nautical Anchor collection by the WH Hostess, pairing several shades of blue with a bright and refreshing pop of yellow, which I utilized to style this bright and cheery luncheon for The Party Dress Magazine's Summer 2012 issue. I decided to focus on a mature feel to honor the mother-to-be, with the infusion of playful and sweet details. The beautiful invitation set the mood, inviting guests to join the celebration seaside.
The dessert table was set-up along the waterfront, providing a gorgeous view and anchoring the party. It was not easy finding water in the desert! To avoid obstructing the scenery, I created a backdrop inspired by a window at Anthropologie that not only resembled a sail from afar, but at closer look, also simulated coral from the ocean. With the use of chicken wire, I constructed the shape and then inserted white folded coffee filters to develop coral designs. As a juxtaposition, I propped up a rattan anchor that, with the burlap tablecloth, added a natural, sandy feel to the crisp and vivid colors. I also created smaller versions (again with chicken wire) and made coral to use as table decor, with the additional of colored cupcake liners. An "AHOY" pennant banner hung in front of the table.
The sweets centered around the nautical theme and coordinating colors. Due to the Summer season and outdoor location, I thought it would be refreshing to utilize several lemon and fruit treats, along with some traditional desserts. I hollowed out lemons, added lemon custard topped with blueberries and displayed them in a seaside lantern. I also inserted the collection's cupcake toppers to add height and decor to the oversized container. The colors of the fruit matched perfectly! Small mason jars were filled with milk and lifesaver donuts sat perched on the rims with the help of fish drink stirrers.I dipped Oreos to make cookie pops and decorated them with fondant to resemble portholes. I love using different types of containers and props to display the food that add to the theme and decor, rather than traditional plates and serving dishes.
Lemon cupcakes were embellished with fondant sailor onesies, bibs and baby bottles, nestled in sugar sand, along with chocolate sea shells in a nautical steering wheel tray I found at Home Goods. I also dipped marshmallows in chocolate and added fondant strips and numbers to make buoys.
I made layered jello lighthouse push pops in containers from Cupkate's Event Design, as well as mini fruit tarts to complete the table. Buffet cards were displayed with the correlating desserts and centerpiece sticks adorned glass jars filled with sugar sand. Sea urchin meringue cookies were scattered throughout. I also recycled the baskets and crate, which were originally utilized in the Easter Egg Hunt party styled for the Spring issue, and substituted the grass with sugar sand!
The luncheon table was set with a burlap covering and a striped blue runner. A lantern served as the centerpiece and inside, another coral decoration sculpted with chicken wire, white coffee filters and yellow cupcake liners. You can also utilize flower arrangements or candles to fill such lanterns to add interest. Small vases with floral decor were enhanced with natural string and cupcake toppers throughout the table. Each setting consisted of blue fish plates and coordinating small plates to carry lemons for the seafood meal that I had purchased at Pottery Barn a few years back. Additional lemons were served in small, plastic containers resembling boat houses. I used these little containers in our Mother Hen party as chicken coops and keep trying to find new uses for them! You can dress up simple silverware by simply tying a colorful ribbon around and placing it directly on the napkins. The water bottle labels can also be used to adorn simple glasses and were filled with cool and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
Lastly, I set up an area to urge guests to leave a "Message in a Baby Bottle" for the parents-to-be on a framed notecard from the collection. And as a final send off, I wished guests a bon voyage with lifesaver candies packaged in cello bags with toppers and wrapped with string for an added touch!
The gorgeous weather, picture-perfect setting and the assistance of my trusty helpers made this shoot smooth sailin'!