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Why This Event Designer Wants You to Forget What a Baby Shower Is

Does attending a baby shower sound like an ideal way to spend your Saturday? If your answer was no, Alyssa Buller of White Pepper PDX hears you. She recently designed an adult-approved baby shower for her close friend that was still filled with all of the sweetness you expect from such a celebratory event. There were no games or baby themed decor instead, Alyssa created a cocktail hour party (mocktails included) for the parents-to-be. From a crazy cool balloon installation to a mocktail recipe, we got the inside scoop on designing an elegant baby shower for the expecting mother who wants something different. Alyssa's number one tip? Forget everything you know about baby showers.

Credits:
Venue, Catering and Florals: White Pepper PDX | Photography: Lady & Gent Photography | Rentals & Details: Vintage Migle | Rentals & Lounge Furniture: The Party Place & Paperjam PDX | Cake: Dream Cakes | Window Display and Lettering: Hey Halle

Keep Guest Count in Mind When Choosing a Venue

When choosing a venue you have to really think about the size of your shower – how many people are coming and the vibe that you want to go with. For me, I knew that the headcount was modest at about twenty women planning to attend. I wanted to create an intimate vibe, but that was bright and airy with room for guests to mingle. The venue I chose offered exactly this, it was set up for 45-50 guests cocktail style with about 30 seats. It didn't feel cavernous and empty with such a small headcount, and the space allowed for mingling, but also to keep everyone in the same space. With giant windows and an incredibly clean, bright atmosphere I knew that it was the right fit for my vision. - Alyssa Buller, White Pepper PDX

Choose a Theme & Stick to it (Without Going Over the Top)

This is always tricky! When you choose a theme, remember that you don't want to slap your guests across the face with it – you want them to feel like a part of it. The best way not to over-do your theme is to remember the rule of three: use three "theme-y" elements and for the rest try to be a bit more subtle. For this shower, I chose classic Pooh, which... let's admit... has been done before. However, I KNEW that I wanted this shower to feel classy, upscale, and elevated in every way. When going off a theme, choose 3-4 photos that truly speak to the vibe that you want to go with and create a color scheme of 3-4 colors. This will help you stay on track, always referring back to those photos and colors – if in doubt, refer back to your original plan. - Alyssa Buller, White Pepper PDX

How-to: A Balloon Installation

It's actually fairly simple and I did it with very little assistance! The best thing that you can do for yourself when DIYing a balloon installation is to purchase this – it will save your life and your sanity. You'll also need a low temp hot glue gun, ladder, an air compressor, and fishing line. Then, you're really going to want to think about your space, the shape of the installation, the colors, and size. For this shower, I knew that I wanted to create an almost half-moon shape with a long cascading tail for the floor. I hung the balloon tape from the ceiling in a few places with fishing line and let the long tail cascade down to the floor, knowing that I was going to build the shape more with the balloons themselves. For your balloon installation, consider that you will need about 20-25 helium quality balloons per foot, and if you'd like a bit of drama, order some extra large 32inch balloons!

The first thing you're going to need to do is to blow up all your balloons in varying sizes to create dimension and depth. Next, you're going to want to start hot gluing your balloons together in clusters of 3-5; it's nice to have one person doing this and handing them up to you while you actually place the balloons through the balloon tape. Once you've got a good shape going and you're filling up the holes in the balloon tape, you may need to actually fill some of the holes by hand with the hot glue gun and a single balloon – take your time, step back and see what needs to be adjusted and fixed. For a fun touch, I added eucalyptus and greenery to my installation to help tie in with my theme. That's it! My installation took about 1.5 hours from start to finish and was about 23 ft long. ​- Alyssa Buller, White Pepper PDX

Forget Any "Rules" You Know About Table Styling

This is so fun for me! I love styling a well thought out tablescape, and with the help of some of the amazing vendors in our area, I was able to do that. Remember, more and more in the party planning world, there are "no rules" in setting the table. It's really about what you love, what fits your theme in color and style, and guest experience. I always try to use a few textures when creating my tablescapes – ceramic, milk glass, cotton linen, and bronze/gold elements were what I stuck with for this baby shower. ​- Alyssa Buller, White Pepper PDX

Create a Fun Mocktail (Or Use This Recipe!)

We knew we wanted a mocktail for the expectant mom and for the guests who prefer non-alcoholic drinks, something light, delicious, locally sourced and refreshing. Ingredients: Fresh Juiced Fuji Apple Juice (2oz), Matcha (1.4tsp), Lemon Juice (3/4oz) Club Soda, Mint.

Stir matcha into the apple juice until is dissolved, add ice, lemon juice, stir and top with club soda, garnish with mint. This will make about a 6oz drink. ​- Alyssa Buller, White Pepper PDX

Not into Games? Not a Problem

I knew that I wanted an elevated baby shower, something unique and timeless for the parents-to-be and their guest to enjoy. For this shower, I offered guests small cards in which they could write a few words of love to give to the expectant parents to open at their leisure. We mingled, and chatted and laughed and enjoyed each others company. Toward the end of the event, after opening gifts and squealing with joy at tiny person clothing, we rounded out the evening by showering the mom-to-be in prayers, good thoughts and vibes, words of encouragement, and love from all her friends. Truly, this was all about joy, celebrating a dear friend and her sweet baby – that's all there needed to be. ​- Alyssa Buller, White Pepper PDX

Ditch the Baby Shower Mentality

I think the idea of baby showers can seem so cookie cutter and monotonous, but they absolutely don't have to be! We had a cocktail hour party with amazing food, non-alcoholic beverages and mocktails that just happened to also be a baby shower for our dear, sweet friend. Don't fall into the "this is what a baby shower is" mentality. Think about your mom-to-be, her personality, and lifestyle – do something she and all of her friends will truly enjoy, not feel obliged to! ​- Alyssa Buller, White Pepper PDX
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