Sunday, August 12, 2012

Around the World Bridal Shower or Travel Bridal Shower

Warning! This is a super photo heavy post! 

Saturday was my sister's (long awaited) bridal shower. The wedding is in 2 weeks so we've been in crazy mode preparing for the wedding and the shower. Also the bachelorette party was Saturday night, so it was super crazy town!

As soon as we started thinking about bridal showers, we came up with the Around the World theme. Since my sister is quite the world traveler and always has had a heart full of wanderlust, this fit right away. My mom and I were sitting one day and started coming up with TONS of ideas. We just couldn't stop. Once we started writing them and talking to her other bridesmaids, we had quite the list and had to par it down. I wanted to include all the photos in one post so that if anyone else is planned a travel bridal shower or around the world bridal shower, they can see ideas in one place!

We ended up deciding to decorate the house (my parents' house) like an airport. My parents did a great job with the signs. We decorated each of the rooms like a country where she has visited or lived. The food was from all over the world. Since the countries where she has spent time aren't necessarily the countries with the yummiest food, we combined the two!

The front of the invitation. 
My mom cut out globes and we mounted them on blue cardstock. We put little symbols on various countries of importance: apple for NYC, chili pepper on Chile where she studied abroad, fleur de lis on France where she first traveled, camel on Morocco, and pyramid on Egypt! We cut out umbrellas with an overlay on the Cricut to go over the whole world. And of course a "You're Invited" stamp pointing to Chicago!

The back of the invitation. I got the template from this blog where she used it as her wedding invitation. Fabulous! Gate M stands for her new last name and seat 12 stands for the year!

Decorations and Food

The entrance
(I blurred out my parents' last name)

When you walked in, there was a table with a sign showing everyone which "gate" was each country.

At the entrance, we had an itinerary, nametags, and a mad libs game.

The living room was "Rwanda". There were stuffed giraffes Erin has collected over the years, baskets Erin brought us from there, and a photo of their rolling hills. Erin had a Catholic Relief Services internship in Rwanda over the last 6 months.

Signs pointing to the "gates" and "toilets"

Baggage Claim (purses)

Exit Signs

Itineraries we had in a few places around the house.

The Dining Room was France. Erin's first trip abroad was to France the summer after she graduated from HS. Our parents let her go herself to meet a family there. We had a flag, placemats of French streets, French paintings, and French doodads.

 The powder room's theme was "Morocco". Erin was in the Peace Corps in Morocco for 28  months. There was a camel peeking at you as you were on the toilet, a sign about not smoking, and a picture on the door of what her toilet looked like in Morocco. Really a hole in the ground!

The kitchen was decorated as Mexico. Erin visited Mexico with a friend while she was in college. She switched from a French minor to Spanish minor while in college too! We had the banners, a chile pepper pinata, and Mexican fiesta dishes.

In addition to yummy food with labels with the flag of the country the food was from, we had a huge world map (Amy's mom had it sitting around?!) that we mounted. Guests put push pins in to represent where they had visited. It made for great conversation starters. "Who has been to New Zealand?"

Our "In-Flight Menu" was also posted a few places around the house.

Our favors were luggage tags with either: the Eiffel tower, Big Ben, or the Parthenon on them with a little insert thanking everyone for coming. They were a great find at World Market (where they now accept Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons!)

We had an around the world dessert table with cupcakes, kolaczkis, and crepes. I made red velvet and nutella cupcakes because those are some of Erin's favorite flavors! I printed this cupcake liner template and cut out liners from a map of Chicago! I love how the map cupcake liners turned out. I also made cupcake flags with the flags of the countries we decorated with. I just made them in Photoshop and glued the flags around toothpicks!
(Note about red food coloring for red velvet cupcakes: You need to use an awful lot to make the cake red, so I used red gel food coloring instead of a million little bottles of the normal stuff and having a bunch of blue, yellows, and greens leftover. You can use Wilton food coloring or this. I found this blog that explains the conversion from liquid food coloring measurements to gel. I used about a 2 teaspoons full and it was MORE than enough. I would use less next time.)

For lunch we had a taco and tamale bar in the Mexico room.

Lemon Mint (from Egypt) and Sangria

I somehow don't have any good pictures of the Family Room which was "Egypt". My soon-to-be brother-in-law is Egyptian and lives in Egypt. Erin JUST found out her placement for the fellowship she got starting in September is Cairo. Yay! They can be together. We had a slideshow going from the Egypt wedding on the TV, Egypt souvenirs around the room and some of their engagement pictures.

Amy made these adorable map centerpieces that were on the tables around the house.


First, we played a Wedding Traditions game. Guests were put in groups of 4 to get to know one another. Cathy (Erin's girlfriend from high school) described wedding traditions from different countries and they had to guess the country. Some were easy. Some were very hard! We had prizes from around the world for winners!

During lunch, guests wrote notes to Erin and Wael to open at specific points in their life such as: honeymoon, 6 months, first Christmas, first Eid, 1 year, 2 years, 10 years, find out pregnant, first baby, second baby, first fight, buy a house, move to US, Erin gets stationed in another country. We are excited for her to open them as those events occur!

I had quite the case of the dropsies and spills yesterday. I do not recommend putting frozen raspberries in Sangria is you are going to put them in a beverage server. They got stuck in the spigot and I had to dump it all out and put it back in. Then left the spigot open and Sangria was everywhere!

Amy put together an Erin Trivia game. Guests answered questions about Erin, Wael, and their travels!

Erin trying to figure out how many times she has been to Egypt. The answer was 11 or 12! P.S. I got 100% on the quiz!

1. List 5 Countries Erin has visited. 
2. How old was Erin the first time she traveled internationally on her own. 
3. What was the first country Erin visited by herself?
4. What country has Erin not visited that she really wants to?
5. Where was Erin stationed when she met Wael?
6. How many times has Erin been to Egypt?
7. How did Erin and Wael meet?
8. How/when did Wael propose to Erin?
9. Name 3 cities Erin and Wael have visited together.
10. What was Erin's favorite TV show growing up?
11. How long have Erin and Wael known each other?
12. Where do Erin and Wael plan to go for their honeymoon?
13. What does Wael do for a living?

During present opening, we set a timer for every 1-2 minutes. Every time the timer went off, whomever's present she was opening got a prize! Of course the prizes were in a suitcase!

The apron I made for her (see more info in a post later this week!)

My  mom was super excited to do the Mad Libs game. Wael and Erin wrote me stories about how they met, I took out key words and guests filled them in when they picked little cards that said "1. adjective" ,  "2. noun-place" or "3. phrase or saying". The story was hilarious!

The Ladies

Me and my sister!

The bridesmaids

Mom and her daughters


The shower was a HUGE success. I am so thrilled with how it all came together and how much Erin seemed to enjoy the day. She didn't know anything about the day until we were all set up. It fit her so perfectly. I can't believe the American wedding is in two weeks!