The shower was for our German daughter, Carina, and her fiance, Brian. You might be wondering how we got a German daughter. We hosted Carina as an intern for 10 months in 2005. When she came to us, she spoke very little English and we spoke very little German. Over time, her English became much improved and our German stayed about the same. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
Anyway, when Carina's internship was up, we said tearful goodbyes and she went back to Germany. We kept in touch for a couple of years and then miraculously, in 2008 her application was drawn in the green card lottery! She moved back to the U.S. and rented an apartment close-by. Since then, we have acted as her American parents and tried to help out when she needed us. She, in turn, has treated us like her parents and made us feel loved.
She got engaged to Brian in 2012. They are very excited about their wedding in September. They're getting married in a barn!
Carina has learned a lot about American wedding traditions as they made their plans. Almost all of her bridesmaids won't be making the trip over from Germany until the wedding, leaving Amanda, the one American bridesmaid, to fulfill the bridesmaid duty of throwing a shower for the couple. (By the way, the American bridesmaid is our Florida daughter - but that's another story). Tony and I volunteered to help out with the shower & have it at our house.
The invitees for the shower were mostly 30 somethings with a few parents and older friends (us) mixed in. We decided to have it in the basement which opens onto our back yard. That way we could have some outdoor games to keep everyone entertained.
We finished our bathroom remodel project only days before the shower and then started the preparations for the shower.
First on the agenda was cleaning the house, something I DO NOT enjoy and AM NOT good at.
Next, we would need a gift. I like to make personal gifts so I made this burlap pillow and personalized it with information about Carina, Brian, their two fur children and the date of their wedding.
Amanda took care of most of the planning for the shower. She ordered the dinner from Righteousque which left me with very little to do. My responsibilities included getting a cake and some appetizers and beverages from Costco. I also came up with some games to keep the crowd interested.
I put together a menu for the party and posted it around the room so folks would know what food, beverages and games were available:
In case you can't read it, here's what it says:
Brian and Carina's Couples Shower
We are so glad you could join us in this celebration
of Brian and Carina's impending nuptials!
We hope you enjoy the party!
Put the Wedding Ring on the Finger
Forever Flip Cup
Whitaker Cricket (Darts)
Rice Bag Corn Hole
Wedding Ring Toss
Wedding Gift Bingo
Newly-Wed Nacho Chips, Salsa, Guacamole
At the Altar Aged Cheeses
Bridal Beef Brisket
Matrimonial Mac & Cheese
Groom Green Beans
Commitment Cole Slaw
Pre-Nup Potato Salad
Cold Feet Cakes & Candies
Special Water Sweet Tea
I had so much fun putting it together! I googled wedding terms a-z to come up with the names for the menu items. There was a helpful Yahoo link with lots of ideas. I love Google!
Coming up with the games was even more fun. The most popular game was "Put the Wedding Ring on the Finger" based loosely on the Bimini Ring on a String Game. The exception is that we found these coat hooks shaped like fingers that we used for the game. The groom especially liked this game. He managed to get the ring on the finger a record 4 times! Hope this is an indication of how well he will do at the wedding!
"Forever Flip Cup" - Flip Cup was a popular game among Carina's Kickball Team so I thought we'd bring it back for the shower.
"Whitaker Cricket" was based on the darts game Cricket, except instead of the object being to get 3 each of the numbers 15-20, you had to get 3 each of particular pictures of Brian & Carina:
"Rice Bag Corn Hole" is just Corn Hole played with pretend rice bags. A big Thank You to our friends Josef & Susan for loaning us their custom made Corn Hole Game with the lighted ring! I covered the "rice bags" with monogrammed Brian & Carina cases for the occasion.
"Wedding Ring Toss" consists of a stake in the yard and some Frisbee rings, of course, personalized for the shower.
"Wedding Gift Bingo" was Amanda's idea! It was a great idea because it kept everyone's attention during the gift opening phase of the shower. She created a bingo game with a free space in the center, then each guest wrote in their guess as to what gifts the couple would receive. The first one to get 3 in a row would win a prize.
I made some signs to direct people to the basement so we wouldn't have to come upstairs to answer the door every time someone new arrived.
We were still finishing the decorations and setting out the food when the bride and groom arrived, but we had it all together before the first "real" guests arrived! It looked really pretty.
Just before the first guests arrived, the sky turned dark, the thunder rolled, and a deluge of rain started to fall. The water in our driveway was ankle deep. We had at least 2 roof leaks. Tony positioned himself in the garage with 3 umbrellas. He would run out to each car under one open umbrella & give each guest an umbrella to get them into the house, but even so, everyone who came was drenched.
We weren't able to play any of the outdoor games. I don't think anyone minded terribly but I was really disappointed.
We served cocktails including "Special Water Sweet Tea" using a recipe I found for Hard Sweet Tea. People seemed to really like it and it was the perfect accompaniment for the "Bridal Beef Brisket Buffet".
The opening of the gifts was really fun! Everyone filled out their Bingo Cards in preparation.
The first gift was a gag gift (a sexual device) that the couple opened, pretending it was from the groom's mother. She was shocked and everyone got a big laugh, especially Carina and Brian. This gift was not on anyone's bingo card!
I think they liked my gift too, but maybe not as much as the one from the groom's mother ;-) !
We had the cutting of the cake so they can practice for the real-thing!
It was a really fun party & we thoroughly enjoyed all of Carina and Brian's "little" friends!