Wine Tasting Bridal Shower

Way back in 2009, my cousin Amanda got engaged and chose me to be her maid of honor. The pressure was on, because everybody knows that the MOH’s most important duty– other than fluffing the bride’s train on the altar and making the most amazing toast ever (if I do say so myself)– is planning a kick-ass bridal shower.

And bringing the Ring-Bearer.

I recently found the pictures from Amanda’s shower and wanted to share them. People are still complimenting me on it two years later, so I guess I did something right!

We settled on a wine-tasting theme, which a nice universal party theme. So, you could always recreate this for a girl’s night in, a Jack-and-Jill shower, house-warming party, or birthday party. I would advise against using it for a baby shower because there is nothing less fun for a mom-to-be than watching her girlfriends sip wine while she gets stuck with water.

Amanda and her bridesmaids after a long night of cheese- slicing, quiche-making, melon-wrapping, and wine-drinking.

…and here we are enjoying the celebration!

And again… in the church basement on the big day!

Invitations:

I could not find a wine-tasting themed bridal shower invitation to save my life. and even if I did, the prices that I found on most websites were insane. So, I made the invitations using two pieces of purple cardstock, vellum paper (the sheer overlay), and a little piece of ribbon. I then attached two handmade wine glass charms. The invitations were a little time consuming (we had to make 97, I think), but I invited Amanda and her sister (one of the bridesmaids) to come over and we had a lot of fun working on them together.

Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have; I snapped it with my cell phone about 30 seconds after I finished making it!

The invitations also asked each guest to bring their favorite bottle of wine (or a wine accessory) to help fill Amanda and Brian’s wine rack (which was set up at the shower for people to stack the bottles on).

They are still working on that collection.

Decorations:

If you’re choosing a wine-tasting theme for your party it’s safe to say that you and the bride-to-be enjoy drinking wine. You probably also know other people with a similar disposition. Start collecting and saving those empty bottles! They make great centerpieces:



 
I had both skinny bottles and fat bottles. I put 2-3 roses and baby’s breath in each of the fat bottles (just buy a giant bouquet and split it up). Then I wrapped raffia around the necks of the skinny bottles and pushed plain white candles into the tops. The dollar store sells 6 packs of “emergency candles” (6 for $1. Can you beat that!?)– they are nothing fancy and they aren’t scented, but I liked them for the fact that they weren’t as tall or oblong as a regular taper candle.

Set a pen at each chair with the game sheets and a favor. By putting the favors on the table, you can be sure that everybody leaves with their Thank-You. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to make an announcement reminding guests to take one.

Also make sure to give each guest a blank envelope to fill out with their name and address. The bride can use those to send her Thank-You notes and you can draw envelopes to raffle off prizes as well.

Finally– give each guest a notecard with a “first event” on the back (First Anniversary, First Fight, First Baby, First Night as Husband and Wife, etc.) and have guests write a message or piece of advice to the couple. Collect these and give them to the bride-to-be after the party.

Prizes:

Use a diamond drill bit to drill a hole in the side of a bottle, stuff with a small strand of lights, and decorate with frost spray paint, faux grapes from the dollar store, and raffia. These lamps make great prizes to give the winners of Bridal Bingo, Bride and Groom Trivia, and Fun Facts About Wine Trivia (just to tie in the theme, you know?)

You can also grab other little trinkets for second and third place winners such as bottle stoppers, and wine glass charms. I grabbed pretty stationery, candles, and reed diffusers for younger girls  in attendence or any guests who simply don’t drink.

Favors:

I found these great mini wine glass candles on Pricewise Favors. It looks like they no longer carry them, but they have plenty of other wine-themed favors– such as bottle stoppers and bottle shaped tealights– for great prices.

On the other hand, each of the bridesmaids ended up with a lifetime supply since we ordered too many. We may have bought out their inventory.

Wine:

Since we had over 60 guests at the shower, I set up the wine in stations. We bought three bottles each of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Riesling. If you have a more intimate gathering, you can lead the wine tasting by presenting the wines and describing the notes and region of each.

I set up each wine with a complimenting appetizer and cheese. To tie in the “educational” aspect of wine tasting, I included framed fact sheets–which provided information about the wine, cheeses, and why they make a good pairing– at each station (these facts were used to create the trivia game).  Finally, toothpicks, plastic dixie cups, and hors d’oevres plates finished it all off.

Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon, Gouda & Sharp Cheddar Cheeses, and Sopressata

Polka Dot Riesling, Colby & Asiago Cheeses, and Mini Quiche

Mirrasou Pinot Noir, Swiss & Monteray Jack Cheeses, and Prosciutto Wraped Melon

Little Black Dress Chardonnay, Mild Cheddar and Provolone Cheeses, Greek Olives, and horrifying backlight.

What kind of Bridal Showers have you been to? What’s the most creative theme you’ve seen?

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