Butterflies, flower crowns, and sweet treats galore came into play at this pre-wedding celebration.
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Casey Baumer met her future husband, Scott Kaufman, on the first day of their freshman year at Indiana University in 2009. The pair instantly clicked and were officially a couple by day two. "We dated all of first semester, and both of us had a feeling that we were 'it' for each other, but we also had some growing up to do," the bride recalls. "We called it quits for a while and grew apart."
Five years later, Casey stumbled across a picture of her former beau on Facebook and reached out to see how he was doing. They reconnected a week later and their spark was rekindled—the two have been together ever since. After four months of dating, Casey and Scott moved in together; three years later, they got engaged.
Casey, who works as a luxury social and corporate event coordinator at Imagine Party and Events, was the guest of honor on June 24, 2018, when her family and friends gathered in the backyard of her parent's home in Scarsdale, New York, her bridal shower. The bride-to-be says that having the party at home was a no-brainer. "Our family is very close and we've always loved throwing parties at our house. My mother especially loves hosting (personally and professionally)—she hosts every family event—so having the shower at home was very special for everyone," she says.
Welcoming 80 loved ones for the epic summertime celebration full of flowers, butterflies, desserts and sweet details, Casey describes her shower as "a day of my favorites—favorite foods, favorite dogs, and most importantly, my favorite people."
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The theme for the garden party bridal shower began with a sweet intention—a familial love for butterflies. Casey says she's always loved butterflies, an interest she inherited from her paternal grandmother. "There's a pink Versace butterfly china set that I've always admired, so my mom secured those and went from there! The whole color scheme was based on those plates," Casey says.
The bride also prioritized keeping the guest list intimate. "I wanted to keep it as small as possible, because when parties get too big you end up having to make small talk with so many people and you don't get to spend time with the people you love most!" Casey says. "Eighty guests felt perfect—it was everyone my family and I are closest with and really wanted to celebrate with."
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Can't Plan the Weather
The weather nearly threw a wrench in the bride-to-be's plans for the dreamy day—but the Baumer ladies were one step ahead. "Oh boy, the weather. As a party planner I know there are three things you can't plan: pets, small children, and the weather," Casey jokes. The forecast leading up to the party looked a bit dismal, the bride says: "We had to make some tough calls about whether or not to move the party indoors."
She took the risk and remained outside, but the skies unfortunately opened. "Calling it a torrential downpour wouldn't be an exaggeration," the bride remembers. "I kept myself calm by reminding myself it wasn't the wedding, and there was no way it would rain on two of my wedding events, so if it had to be one, let it rain now!" Casey was right. Her big day, which took place 83 days after the shower (as evidenced by this floral sign), came with picture-perfect weather.
Fortunately, the quick summer storm lasted for just twenty minutes and took place right as guests arrived. Afterwards, all were able to enjoy a beautiful sunny afternoon.
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Though mandating a "garden party" dress code for guests was a natural choice, Casey says she was initially stumped on what to wear. "The theme and color palette were so pink and flowery that I felt like I should wear pink, but that's not really my style, so I never really felt like me. And all the floral dresses I tried on didn't feel special enough," she says.
She ultimately selected a look true to herself, sporting a simple white Rag & Bone dress with small cutout detailing. "I felt chic and elegant, but most importantly I was comfortable and felt like me. I didn't anticipate spending most of the party with muddy paw prints on my dress though! But it did add a very me touch to the outfit," she says. Luisa at Salon La Bottega did Casey's hair for the shower; her makeup was handled by Michel Maquillage.
The soirée was destined to go off without a hitch (Casey and her mom work together every day as event planners, after all!). Casey's grandmother (seen here) helped coordinate preparations for the big day, too. "I'm my grandmother's first grandchild to get married, so she was very excited to contribute to such a special day and time in my life, which made it so sentimental," the bride says.
Though Casey and her mom (the other half of Imagine Party and Events) coordinated the bulk of the shower together, the bride says that her mother still surprised her throughout the day. "Having little details that were able to delight and surprise me on the day of was so great. It was the most fun, elegant, and beautiful bridal shower ever," Casey says.
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Casey has always adored flower crowns, which made a flower crown bar by David Beahm Experiences one of her favorite surprises of the big day. "The funny thing is that I kept asking my mom to make sure the florists would make me a flower crown to wear that day. I must have made her confirm at least 12 times," the bride says. "She kept assuring me it was taken care of, and then a whole flower crown station showed up! I was so overwhelmed and delighted."
Her mother-in-law presented her with the special "bride" headband.
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Twelve Letters, Twelve Bridesmaids
Another favorite moment? A heartfelt surprise from her bridesmaids. "I have 12 bridesmaids, each from different periods of my life, and they realized my soon-to-be name has exactly 12 letters. As I sat down and was ready for the speeches to start, I was pretty confused because all of my bridesmaids were missing," she says. "But then they walked out, silently and dramatically into the garden, each holding a letter to spell out my future name. They lined up in order and each took turns saying something related to the letter they were holding—a small poem or memory that each of us shared. It was so adorable and I really felt so loved in that moment."
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Casey's mother and future mother-in-law also shared words with the group. "My mother-in-law hates speaking in front of crowds, but she conquered her fears and delivered a heartfelt speech about how excited she is for me to join her family," the bride says. Casey's mom, too, offered an equally heartwarming and hilarious account. "Our relationship is really interesting, because we're really close but we also work together, so we spend a lot of time together. Her speech gave everyone a glimpse into our crazy lives and how much we really love each other," the bride says.
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Dressed for the Occasion
Players donned aprons with silly sayings from Porter Lane Home and got their best baking game on with color coordinating napkins and spatulas. The creative bridal shower game was not only apropos ahead of Casey and Scott's nuptials, but was also a nod to the bride's former job at The Food Network. The silly fun, however, came with serious rules.
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The decorating supplies included tons of sugar flowers, candies, colorful icing, pearls, glitter, cake toppers, dog-themed decorations, and lots of other knick-knacks that paid homage to the bride's favorite things.
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From classically glam confections to sweet and silly treats (one team made a giant volcano!), the resulting cakes were proof that Casey's guests embraced the "competitive" spirit of the task.
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Magic Under the Tent
Casey and her mom pulled out all the stops for the party with a fabulous canvas sailcloth tent. "The key to great décor is having a lot of layers in the design, so you keep finding something new to look at," the bride says. Her mom also surprised her with 5,000 pink origami butterflies hanging from the top of the tent, which provided a major pop of color and whimsy. "It was magical! It looked like they were flying in the sky," Casey says.
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Pops of Pink
The beautiful tablescapes were truly a work of art. "We started with the tall cherry blossom trees for some height and for a real burst of springtime. We added the Versace butterfly charger (which was a big 'wow' addition) and then worked with various shades of pink for the tablecloths and napkins," the bride says. She added that the impromptu decision to leave the paper butterflies perched on the glassware was applauded by guests. Bright pink chairs pulled the look together.
"Personally I wasn't sure about [the statement chairs] at first, but we trusted David Beahm, our dear friend and amazing décor designer, and he said pink all the way!" says Casey.
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The epic menu for the late lunch, early dinner feast was full of Casey's favorite foods. "I went to culinary school, so food is incredibly important to me and I have a profound love for it," the bride explains. "My favorite foods are lobster, seafood boils, chocolate lava cake, and steak. We used Laurence Craig Catering, and they made it all happen."
Taking her vision of a "seafood boil," the caterers delivered an "upscale, classy version" ideal for a ladies' garden party. The lavish spread—featuring lobster, shrimp, steak, chicken, and tons of side dishes—tasted even better than it looked, the bride says. The delicious meal was centrally placed on a buffet in the middle of the tent, so guests could access it from every angle. Keeping with the garden theme, the caterer also sprinkled in edible flowers here and there.
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Desserts for Days
Casey was "enthralled" by a photo of pink chocolate strawberries she found online and knew the shower was the perfect occasion to finally bring them to life. "They were so beautiful and delicious, and people went crazy for them and took hundreds of pictures!" she says of the caterer's special take on the treat.
The ten hand-decorated "wedding cakes" from the earlier competition were served as dessert for the celebration. Groom-to-be Scott even arrived to help Casey chose the winners in three categories: prettiest, funniest, and most creative.
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Casey's mom also made more than 100 of the bride's favorite linzer tart cookies. The finishing touch to the dessert spread, however, was the bride-to-be's famously-specific Oreo ice cream sundaes. She helped the chefs in the kitchen prepare them "exactly the way I like them."
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"There's nothing I love more than a good Champagne or rosé," Casey says. In celebration of her "favorite things" theme, the party featured a big Champagne bar, filled with tons of mix-ins like sorbet pops, cotton candy, gummy candies, frozen fruit, and edible flowers. A massive bottle of rosé (called a Nebuchadnezzer) was also a showstopper—it held about 80 glasses of wine.
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Casey's mom assigned guests a creative gift "theme," coordinated to the times of the day. "So, someone who got 8 a.m. got us a pancake pan, a measuring cup, a whisk, and a pancake recipe, and a 5 p.m. guest got us Champagne glasses for happy hour," the bride remembers. "Everyone got really creative with it, which was so fun to watch. A lot of guests also wrote poems to accompany their gift, which was so lovely and thoughtful."
Casey says the biggest stand-out gift was from her future mother-in-law, who replaced her wallet after it was stolen during her bachelorette party. The most sentimental gift came from her mom, who gave her something "old, new, borrowed, and blue" in the form of a precious heirloom. "The 'something old' was a ring from my grandmother that I'd loved since I was a little girl. It was a perfect gift," Casey says.
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The bride and groom got a little extra help opening gifts from their eight-year-old dog, Kilroy. On the couple's wedding day, the beloved pup served as the co-best man.
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Everyone took home their apron, napkin, spatula, and cake (that was packaged into small boxes).
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Photography, Johnny Cirillo
Event planning, Imagine Party and Events
Catering, Laurence Craig Catering
Flowers, David Beahm Experiences
Stationery, Love Pop
Cakes, Enrico's Pastry Shop
Rentals, Party Rental Ltd.
Butterfly Chargers, Lawrence Scott Events
Tent and Lighting, Stamford Tent
Makeup, Michel Maquillage
Favors, Porter Lane Home