Strawberry baby shower picnic in the park

28 July 2015

I’m interrupting our Paris adventure to bring you this past weekend’s big doing: Natalie and Joe’s baby shower! I loved this event so much that I just had to report in ASAP. My co-host for this shindig was the lovely Marget, Natalie’s sister and my sister-in-law. It seems like just last month we were planning Natalie’s bridal shower, so we work together like a well-oiled machine by now!

We knew family would be traveling in for the festivities, so we decided to make it a co-ed shower so everyone could attend. Marget had the idea to make it an adventure dinner party, and picked out the perfect corner of a Lower East side park, right on the water, as the location. Aside from the scenic views, there was easy road access just a few hundred yards away — always an important consideration when toting in chairs and tables!

We batted around a few aesthetic options, including red striped nautical and Liberty print, before settling on a perfect compromise — summer strawberry! We wanted something sweet and a little bit girly (they are expecting a girl!), but not too girly (it was a co-ed shower!). Here’s the invitation I designed:

strawberry-shower-invitation

Our first inclination was to rent chairs, tables, and linens, because we wanted to seat everyone at one long table. After calling around to many rental companies in Jersey City and Manhattan, we could not find a single one who would let us pick up our small order at their warehouse – and the lowest delivery fee was $250. This was a surprise to me, since my local rental company here in Raleigh will let me do this, but apparently it’s not that easy everywhere!

So, we regrouped and decided to buy slim Ikea stools (on Jordan’s suggestion) and folding tables from Target. We also purchased Ikea Tekla dish towels (perfect with the red stripe!) and planned to use white tablecloths I already had. Done and done!

Except that the day before the party, Marget decided to check the NYC Parks Department one more time to see if there was anything we missed. To our dismay, there was — the first time around, we had read that if you have fewer than 20 people in your party, you’re okay to have chairs and tables… but in the fine print, it said you had to have a permit — and you have to get permits 20+ days in advance! A quick call to a friend at the department confirmed that our park is patrolled frequently and they would definitely shut us down with no permit :( Agh! Several anxious texts later, we decided we would return the tables and instead group the stools around picnic blankets.

Friends, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When we arrived on Saturday evening to set up, the park was packed, and I think we might have attracted more attention than we wanted had we been setting up tables. The only thing that would have been nice would have been to have one table to arrange the food on – it would have been a little easier to serve if it had been higher up!

Alright, enough details — on to the photos! As you can see, we had the most beautiful day. The weather was perfect!!

party-in-the-park

Our menu: mild and spicy fried chicken (picked up from Popeyes and plated in a pretty baking dish!); grilled corn salad in mini mason jars (loosely based on this recipe); good potato chips and ranch dip; a cheese platter with fruit; pasta salad with cantaloupe and feta; homemade brownies, strawberry tarts, and strawberry ice cream; and root beer, sparkling water, and strawberry lemonade to drink.

fried-chicken-picnic

picnic-food

Since we had a group diverse in age where not everyone knew each other, we decided to make conversation squares to grease the wheels. They were focused on childhood and parents — appropriate for a shower, and topics everyone has experience with!

conversation-squares

marget-and-em

wes-at-shower

picnic-shower

new-york-park

new-york-park-picnic

We sent guests off with cookie treat bags – everyone got a sugar cookie shaped like a strawberry (the Gianna’s brand at Whole Foods!) and either a black and white cookie (in honor of New York) or a chocolate chip cookie (because everyone loves them).

cookie-treat-bags

It was so good to spend time with some of my favorite people. Just T-one month until baby girl arrives! (Hopefully!) Can’t wait to meet our new niece!!

8 Responses to “Strawberry baby shower picnic in the park”

  1. Elizabeth

    Emily,
    This is perfect! I love how casual everything is. The menu sounds lovely and I adore that you did everything picnic style. Love those conversation cards. Where can I get those?

  2. Yay! I can confirm this shower was so lovely. You ladies thought of everything and you could tell it was decorated with love. I can’t believe all the last minute crazies you had to deal with! But you didn’t miss a beat. Congrats to Natalie & Joe!

  3. Em

    @Elizabeth Thank you! I made them! I designed them in Illustrator and they are 3×3″. Hope that helps!

  4. Marget

    a perfect celebration of summer & a growing family!

  5. Elizabeth

    I looked in your Etsy shop hoping to find them. Will you be adding them? I’d love to host a party and have these as conversation starters

  6. Natalie

    Thank you for such a lovely event! All of the details were so thoughtful and fun (and the food was great)!

  7. Such a sweet celebration Em! Good job.