Alexis’ Shakespeare Themed Bridal Shower

My best friend Alexis threw my bridal & baby showers and a kick-ass bachelorette party to boot.  She’s getting married in Cape Cod next month and it’s finally payback time!  3 weeks ago me and two of her other bridesmaids threw her a Jack & Jill “shower” in DC where she lives that was more like a cocktail party, but this past Saturday I threw her a more formal girl’s only type shower at our house in NY where most of her and her fiance’s relatives reside.

It was definitely a lot more work, not only because I didn’t have any other bridesmaids to share the workload, but also because having it at a house means a LOT more decorating!  It was also our first time entertaining at our new house – AND I chose a theme “Shakespeare in Love” (a nod to Alexis’ great appreciation for the Bard) that has possibly never been done as a party theme before.. I mention this only because it was the first time I’d ever thrown a party where I couldn’t find a SINGLE idea or inspiration from the internet!

The only idea I had at first was that the food would be named after different Shakespeare characters and the one that popped immediately to mind was “merquichio” which was perfect because Alexis played Mercutio in our 8th grade rendition of Romeo & Juliet.    That was all I had to go on!

I decided to do a brunch (I admit in part so we could have quiche!) but also because it seemed like a manageable meal to handle… but it did mean that the party was called for 11am, so we had to be super duper prepared and get most everything done Friday night. Which we did  manage (in terms of decorating) thanks only to the heroic efforts of my mother and Jeff who I most definitely could not have done this without.

My mom shopped with me all day Friday, stayed late Friday to help us finish decorating AND she handmade all the wine charm favors!  Jeff stayed up until midnight Friday decorating with me.. even trying his hand and puffing up the paper tissue pom-poms, which are really tedious to do- and he even put his illustrator skills to use in making the chalkboard welcome sign.   Love ya babe!

Last minute inspiration came when I found this Shakespeare paper dolls book on Amazon-perfect for decorating the table with and matching the various foods (i.e “Beatrice’s Bagels”, “Romeo’s Rugalah”, “Shylox” etc.  The only downside was that there a) were no perforations so I had to cut out everything by hand and b) I had to scan and print multiple “dolls” because I needed more than one to be in the various costumes.. Lets just say I spent many hours in front of the TV cutting out card stock!

Here’s how the elements came together:


The colors were Kraft brown/burlap and pink and red – the burlap being a nod to the the “old” and the pink and red being the romantic “in love” part of Shakespeare in Love. We got the burlap by the yard at Joannes – loved that we didn’t need to hem anything!





FAVORS (handmade wine charms)

Most importantly, guests and the beautiful bride-to-be enjoying themselves!

I even remembered to have my mom take a picture of Alexis and I together (yes, my dress does match the decor!)

I didn’t have much to go on here (trying googling “Shakespeare games” and you’ll see what I mean).. I tried to put together a “he said she said” game which requires the bride and groom to answer questions like “what did you think about him/her after your first date” and then the guests have to guess which one said that. But Alexis and Scott didn’t have time to answer the questions, so I was left with two activities:

“Name that Shakespeare Quote,” a multiple choice game in which everyone had to match the quote to the Shakespeare play that it was from. This is just the front of what was supposed to be a 5×7 card that I had printed at my lab but it didn’t get here in time, so I had to print front and back on one sheet of paper. But this is what it was SUPPOSED to look like!


The other game was  “Write a Sonnet on Marriage”  which people did while Alexis was opening gifts. I provided a sample sonnet (for structure/meter reference!) and gave instructions that each guest should write a line and fold the paper so the next person could only see the line before their own. I honestly wasn’t sure anyone would participate, but at the end of the gifts we had at least a 15 line sonnet that I gave Alexis to read that was funny and charming – I wish I could print it here but someone took it home for her!  I’m glad she’ll be able to keep it as a memento of her shower.

So, that was our crazy Saturday!  I wish I could say I could breathe easy now about the wedding, but now I have to write my maid of honor speech. Yikes!!!

You’d think that we would take it easy Sunday, but nope – Jeff had to run a ton of errands for a business trip and I scheduled us for a photoshoot. More on that tomorrow..




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Pam says:

I was looking for game inspiration for my daughter-in-law to be’s bridal shower and I found it here. She loves Shakespeare so I designed a “Name That Play” game based on your idea. I think she’ll love it. Thank you for sharing!!

Kristen says:

This party is SO darling Ariana, great job!

jbhat says:


Amazing! What a gorgeous party–she is lucky to have such a wonderful friend in you. Wow. Also, seriously, how is that your house looks so wonderful–like you guys have just lived there for years? It’s fantastic. I’d still have boxes lying around, I think. Also–you are beautiful! Glowing.