For the bride-to-be who loves to cook, here are ideas to help you throw a kitchen- or cooking-themed bridal shower.
Send guests invitations framed on mini cutting boards for a kitchen-stocking shower. Have invitations made, or make them yourself (the utensil illustration here is from a book of clip art). Center each on a board; attach with double-sided tape. Wrap with ribbon, and mail in a small padded envelope.
Replies to a shower invitation become precious gifts for a bride when they're returned with recipes that loved ones hold dear. With these RSVPs (perfect for a shower with a cooking or kitchen theme), even those who can't attend will take part in the celebration. You can save some time by having an office-supply store craft a stamp; just provide a design of how you want the card to look, including a place for the guest to fill in her name, response, and recipe. Stamp on blank 4-by-6-inch index cards, then send out RSVPs with the invitations. Once all of the replies have been received, the shower's host can put them in a recipe box and wrap it for the bride.
Give the bride-to-be something she'll cherish long after the shower is over with this elevated version of the guest book. Have guests write on plates to be mounted on the couple's wall later. Choose white dishes for the well-wishes, which highlight nicely the metallic paint-pen inscriptions. After the event, the bride can arrange the signed plates with patterned ones in a random grouping for a sophisticated feel. But give her fair warning, she shouldn't use them to serve her anniversary cake -- the paint is not food-safe. White platter (at bottom), Crate & Barrel. Extra-fine-tip Gold Creative Marker (PILSCG-E), Pilot Pens.
These customized letter cookies with the bride's and groom's initials are perfect for a cooking-themed shower. Let store-bought cookie cutters do the heavy lifting; we used a round scallopped one to get the shape and mini alphabet cutters for the monogram. Between the layers lies sweet-tart rhubarb jam -- another perfect match.
Ripe fruits symbolize abundance and fertility -- and make colorful and easy centerpieces, as well as delicious favors for shower guests to take home. Tomatoes look beautiful and enticing in this rustic Italian display and will keep guests cooking long after the shower is over.
Send shower guests home with a homemade treat such as these miniature panettones, sweet breads made with dried fruit and citrus zest. A large panettone mold is normally used, but we baked ours in attractive mini paper ones. Each treat is wrapped in a cellophane bag tied with a letterpress tag by Austin Press. Bellissimo!
For cooking-themed shower centerpiece vessels, why use regular vases when you can take containers straight from the kitchen (such as these cafe au lait bowls)? You can find inexpensive ones at home- and kitchen-supply stores (ours are from Anthropologie and Sur La Table), or collect mismatched vintage styles from flea markets. Place floral foam in the bowls to anchor the blooms, then group them on reception tables, stacking some atop inverted ones for visual interest.
For a Southern cooking-themed shower, guests were sent home with a sackful of grits -- with a recipe for shrimp and grits wrapped around the outside. Use this idea for baked goods, or other family recipes that are special to the bride-to-be or traditional to the location of the wedding.
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