Flowers are Denise Porcaro's life—really. More than a decade ago, the New York native founded floral company Flower Girl NYC, which creates stunning arrangements for events and weddings. Now, as Porcaro prepares to walk down the aisle herself and marry Josh Russ Tupper, fourth-generation owner of Manhattan's Russ & Daughters, it only makes sense that her pre-wedding celebration would include lots of blooms.
The bridal shower location was a no-brainer: The bride has long loved the Greenwich Village restaurant Palma. With its beautiful covered garden and Italian cuisine, Palma was the perfect place to marry Porcaro's passion for all-things botanical and her Italian heritage. "On top of that, we were torn between a few locations for our destination wedding, Italy being in the running few," Porcaro says, "so having a very Italian-inspired bridal shower allowed to have a touch of it—waking into Palma is like walking into an Italian farm house."
It didn't take much to transform the sunny outdoor space surrounded by ivy-covered stucco walls into a dreamy bridal shower venue: The tables were set with bud vases holding arrangements from—naturally—Flower Girl, which guests took home at the end of the day as favors. "It is such a luxury to have flowers at home, and I thought the ladies could put the blooms at their bedside table or in their bathroom for a little feminine touch to last the week," the bride said.
Another takeaway? A rose quartz placed at each each place setting, along with a note explaining that the stone is a symbol of universal love, held by a clothespin (a nod to the bride-to-be's Queens childhood). Rustic nametags and a sprig of rosemary finished off the charming tablescape. Once seated, the ladies sipped mimosas and violet lemonade mocktails made by the bartender at Palma, complete with floating edible blooms and decorative straws, and noshed on traditional Italian cookies that the bride-to-be's mother insisted on having at each table. The treats were just one way that the bride-to-be honored her Italian-American grandmother, to whom she was very close. Guests also got a third favor, lemon drops from Russ & Daughters, because Porcaro's grandmother always carried the candy in her bag.
Guests signed "Denise's Little Black Book"—a creative take on the traditional guest book—with words of wisdom, well wishes, and doodles. Porcaro's friend, Laily Mesbah, organized a few bridal shower games, like pairing the names of well-known couples as well as those of the bride and groom. For another fun game, Mesbah quizzed the bride about the groom, who had answered the same questions beforehand without the bride knowing. "I got the majority of them right, for whatever that is worth!" the bride said.
Bearing gifts in a kitchen-lingerie theme, family and friends close to the bride attended the shower, hosted by Porcaro's mother, Linda Fiorenza. "My best friend's mother said it was not only my bridal shower but also a reunion, as many ladies are connected through me or my mother and hadn't seen each other in a while," Porcaro said. "Being born and raised in New York, I have a lot of lifelong friends, which is pretty incredible, especially when they are all in one room!" The groom himself even made an appearance at the end to say hello—and to help carry the gifts home!
"The warmth of the room is something that I will remember most," Porcaro said, pictured here with her groom and Kara Sorentino, one of her closest friends and travel buddies (they met in college while studying abroad in London). "It really felt like me— every aspect of it. I am the center of attention a lot being the face of Flower Girl for the past decade, however I don't love to have the full focus on me in my personal life. Celebrating birthdays in big groups have made me uncomfortable, but something about the ease of the details, the space, the people—it all felt so good and natural."