Dawn originally wrote this post for Ultimate Bridesmaid (which happens to be authored by Dawn's cousin, Caitlin). However, the post was never published there, so Dawn shared it with me to publish here with you. With that being said, read on!
A love of travel was one of the things that brought Lauren and I together and we have experienced numerous road trips and conferences in Washington D.C. over the years. When I was asked to be her Maid of Honor and tasked with planning her bridal shower, a travel theme immediately came to mind. Planning a travel themed bridal shower was as much fun for me to execute as it was for Lauren to experience. Lauren and her now-husband, Alex, lived long distance from each other throughout their entire relationship, living as much as 700 miles apart at times, so the travel theme was also representative of their relationship.
Since I was helping host six showers and serving in two weddings in a five-week time frame (between Thanksgiving & Christmas), to cut down on cost I enlisted the help of my friends and family to make this event a success. Lauren’s aunts/grandmother offered to take care of the majority of food and with a large southern family many hands made light work. The other bridesmaids took care of paper products and flowers. With the help of my mother and sisters I took care of the invitations, decorations, guest book, and favors.
The invitations were handmade on cardstock. The phrase “Lauren and Alex are set to depart on the adventure of their lives” was printed on the front of the card with details inside on how we were to “send them off in style.” Scrapbook paper was placed on the front and a luggage stamp was used to set the stage for an elegant and classic travel-themed shower.
My father collected many guidebooks from his international travels so those books, maps, and several language dictionaries helped to set the ambiance. I flew home the day before the shower and made friends with the lady at the ticket counter who provided me with numerous luggage tags and ticket sleeves (thanks Southwest). A globe and a few mini national flags worked well as table centerpieces. The year before, I had gifted Lauren with a frame highlighting the various places where she has lived and it was prominently displayed. Instead of classic confetti I mindlessly cut stamps out of a *free* stamp collector’s magazine to sprinkle around the room. I used those same stamps to decoupage a small chest, which Lauren eventually used to collect cards at her wedding reception.
The cake was as much a centerpiece as a delicious treat. We selected the design of a traditional suitcase and highlighted places they lived and honeymoon destinations. Lauren loved the cake and we all loved how well it came out!
While I considered a travel diary to use as a guest book I wanted something more unique, hence the travel case guest book. I provided a large collection of common, small travel items and tags so each individual could write down their name and why they thought that item could not be left behind. Most of the items I already had and I was able to supplement with items found at the local discount store. Most people wrote very witty comments that Lauren (and I) enjoyed reading at the end of the shower. Lauren was left with all the items (except a few like my international cell phone that I needed to take back) and she was able to use many of them on her honeymoon.
Some items: shampoo/conditioner, sunglasses, tissues, gum, chap stick, massage oil, shower cap, band aids, razor, nail file, cell phone, lotion, soap, deodorant, headache medicine, and toothbrush/toothpaste.
To stick with the travel theme I enlisted my mother and sisters to help me make luggage tags for the favors. Using fabric remnants and leftover batting reduced the cost and we only had to purchase coordinating ribbon and clear vinyl to complete these favors. Each guest received a matching circle and square luggage tag. The circle tag had a ‘thanks’ card with Lauren’s wedding date, and the square tag had the classic traveler info – name, address, and phone number. These were displayed in a old hat box. I know that some of the guests are still using these on their luggage, since the large variety of patterns meant everyone could find one that matched their style.
Although this DIY shower required a lot of work leading up to the event, with help it was easy to manage. I thoroughly enjoyed the shower and I know Lauren appreciated the hosts’ hard work. The extra effort required to pull off the little details of this shower were totally worth it in the end because the personality of the shower matched the personality of the bride. There are so many ways the ‘travel’ theme can be adapted and incorporated for other brides, so Bon Voyage!
It's totally true, this shower did require a ton of hard work and effort on the part of many, but especially of Dawn and her family. At one point, I wasn't even sure I'd have a shower, and then this jewel resulted. I am so grateful to have such generous family and friends who care enough to prepare something so special for me. I will cherish those memories along with these gorgeous photos and detailed reminders of that day for years to come.
-Lauren (AKA: Moo Face)