My New Jersey Bridal Shower
I swear that if you reached your arm out in the room at my bridal shower, you would be able to grab onto a fistful of love....it was palpable and I basked in it hard. I knew that I would feel loved but there was an energy in that room that felt like it was bouncing off of the walls and it was sure as heck bouncing around the walls of my head. I had such a physical response to the entire thing that I did not expect. I had adrenaline PUMPING through me like crazy...to the point that right when we got in the car afterwards a flood of a headache came immediately. I was trembly and beyond drained...and that was only 2.5 hours! What will the wedding day be like?! It was intensely overwhelming but in the most positive way that you could imagine.
I know that my mom has incredible taste and is talented in so many arenas...one of which includes hosting. I asked her in the start of our engagement if all of the bridal shower stuff could be a surprise aka go the "traditional" route. I ended up having to get involved in the "when" because coordinating dates that worked for my entire bridal party for this and my bachelorette party proved to be very challenging. My mom struggled with not discussing things with me since we talk about everything normally. She told me that she booked a venue and was THRILLED with it. She also told me when she was working on things related to the shower and so I know that she put so so so so so many hours into making this day so special for me. I also know that my sister has a no BS policy in life and would make sure that everything was chill and not too "attentiony/themey." Her and my mom worked as a great team because they both have different strengths. My bridesmaids all know me creepily well...I mean I have known some of them since I was 2 years old! It was fun to learn afterwards what certain bridesmaids worked on for the day! Needless to say, I went into this day with sky high expectations that were created from knowing how kick ass this group of women are....and somehow it exceeded them by far. How is that even possible? I'm not sure.
I got my hair and makeup done and ended up unhappy with the results. My appointment ran late so I had the choice of living with that feeling of disappointment or fixing it myself and being late. Soooo into the bathroom I went and I exited feeling a lot more like myself....minus the frantic feeling inside of knowing that I was a half hour behind schedule. The upside was that I was too frazzled to pay attention to where we were going as I was fixing my makeup in the car. The downside is that I ended up half of the cocktail hour in the garden and had to make "an entrance," which I did not want to do.
We pulled off of the highway and were suddenly in some beautiful park with green hills. I was like "omg it's at this park?! It's gorgeous!" Jay kept driving us further and further up a hill on a windy little road. I honestly don't even know what the heck I was saying because I was so blown away but I remember Jay saying "this is so unfair it should be your mom and sister here with you hearing your reaction, not me," so I guess I was saying a lot haha. When we got to the top, there was a historic estate that consisted of a huge castle like building and this gorgeous brick building. The shower was in the brick building called 90 Acres at Natitar. I had heard of 90 acres before but I am horrible with remembering names/locations... so I didn't remember anything about it. It is a restaurant on this gorgeous land, that includes a farm. The restaurant is farm to table and I am definitely going back!
When I arrived, my mom, dad and sister greeted me outside. Then, I went inside and experienced what it would be like to be Justin Bieber for a hot minute. I just saw a line of phones sticking out from behind one another. There were faces behind the phones and those people were cheering and screaming for my arrival. I'm not going to lie, I did not like that moment. Luckily it lasted for only a second. As soon as the faces came out from behind the screens and I saw my best friends...I felt excited to see them and felt comforted hugging them. I was whisked away to cocktail hour, which was on the back patio. It had cool couches and tables and a bar and I was thrilled that we were outside. The sky was so blue and I was so happy that the sun was shining and that we got to be outdoors (my favorite)! It was so fun to see everyone and talk to them.
After what felt like three seconds, my mom was saying that it was time to go inside. Everyone was asking what I thought about different details but I hadn't even seen anything besides the stunning setting because I narrowed in on seeing "my people." You guys...my parents made this place card board! I am so impressed and SO in love with it. My best friend wrote all of the place cards and let me just tell you that I LOVED the entire thing. I also loved all of the flowers big time. The flowers were so stunning and so alligned with my taste! Each woman got to bring home a peony in a mercury glass bud vase as their favor...who wouldn't love that?!
One of my favorite details was this "memory box." They asked each guest to write down a memory that they shared with me. I LOVED reading them all...I laughed and I cried. I grew up with a lot of these girls so there were absurd stories from when we were kids. I love heartfelt cards because they give you the opportunity to see yourself through someone else's eyes. We beat ourselves up over our failures and shortcomings and knowing that someone thinks that you're doing a good job at being a friend or whatever can go a long way. I will treasure these memory cards and my gift cards for forever. My mom wrote my birth story as her memory. She finished by saying "one day you will plant my flowers" because she has done SO much for me as a adult every since I got injured...including planting my flowers. I am crying just thinking about it!
My mom welcomed Jay's mom up and gave such a beautiful speech! She obviously started it by saying that she can't wait for the day that Cindy and her share grandbabies (so classic of my mom). Part of her speech reads, "I am so grateful that she has found a partner that makes her laugh, helps her problem solve, brings romance into her life and shares her everyday moments." It really is true that your mother is always right...
We played one game...the "newlywed" game. Jay sat on a stool behind me and we both wrote down our answers on white boards and then held them up to see if they matched. The punishment when we got a question wrong was that we had to chew another strip of bubble gum. Jay's sister started signaling at me from across the room to tell me to spit out my gum and that it wasn't a good look. Apparently she missed that the gum was punishment and that I was meant to look stupid with it haha. I appreciate her having my back though! I love my best friend's face while listening to one of our "cringeworthy" answers.
The kids made the party SO fun for me. My nephew and friend's daughter fell in love instantly and when I saw that I said "okay we can all go home now...my life is made." There was some competition over my lap and I think that it's safe to say that these girls would make better brides that I will with loving the attention. Our nephew on the other hand was stoneface for me and then jumped up and down like Santa was arriving when Jay came back. I'd be bitterly jealous if their relationship didn't make my heart (and uterus) burst.
For the first half hour or so I was having an out of body experience. I felt like I was floating above and looking down at what was happening. I was so over stimulated (in a positive way) by all of the incredible things and people around me. It was so incredible but I knew that it would fly by at an even faster speed if I wasn't fully present. Lucky, I have a couple of skills in life and one of them is power over my mind (living in chronic pain will force you into that skill). I coached myself into "planting my feet" on the floor. I was able to come down and be truly there with my people after I caught and redirected myself and it is something that I am definitely keeping in my back pocket for the wedding day!
I felt like the entire party I didn't spend enough time with any one person. I guess that's how you know that you did a "good job" of mingling and spreading yourself around because I feel like I got little doses of everyone but not enough of any one person. There were less than 45 people there so I can't even imagine how it will feel at our wedding with 200! I was only at the shower for 2.5 hours though so at least the wedding will be longer. Did any of you feel this way at your showers?! If you have any tips for the wedding, please leave them in the comments below. These women filled my love tank up so high. I am so grateful for all of the love that they showered me with. Some of them traveled from so far via plane, train, and car. I looked out in that room and I saw faces of these girls that I know did pain in the butt things to be there and I just kept thinking "wow, they really love me." Well guess what...I love them back tenfold! These girls are my tribe. I will never be able to give a sufficient thank you to my mom, sister/maid of honor and bridesmaids. Thank you for all that you have done for me and this incredible day! I will never forget what you did to make this day the 11/10 that it was!
Venue: 90 Acres at Natirar
Florist: A Touch of Elegance
Photographer: Cinnamon Wolfe Photography
My dress: I got my dress on major clearance at the end of last summer. Pro tip is to buy white clothing at the end of the summer season if you know that your wedding events will be after it. I found the dress and linked it here and here.