This is a fairly controversial opinion, but those Saturday-morning, women-only, present-opening parties just aren’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed my fair share of quiches and petit fours over the years. I’ve made my rounds shaking hands with the debutantes and carefully collecting bows for brides-to-be. But when it comes to my own preferences, they lie in the evening get-togethers that inevitably end with makeshift karaoke (or at least that’s how they end in my family).
That’s why, when I got to planning my own baby shower, I knew I couldn’t default to tradition. With the help of Angela DiVincenti Babin of Angela Marie Events, we took to combining an elevated cocktail party and a bunny-filled baby shower, all while keeping in mind COVID-19 safety. The result was a socially distanced party that not a husband nor boyfriend could complain about attending—despite a fair few bunny puns. And I’m sure you’re wondering: Yes, the night did end in a kitchen sing-along à la David Archuleta, but that’s a story for another day.
Read on for tips from Babin—and from my own experience—for creating a COVID-compliant cocktail baby shower:
1. Keep it close. Not physically, of course, but when it comes to the guest list, this is the best policy. I stuck to only family and very close friends, each of whom was vaccinated or got tested prior to the party.
2. Take it outside. This party was hosted during one of this year’s January chills. However, thanks to a small army of heaters, we were still able to take seats outside to increase distance and maximize fresh air. Plus, the candles were all the more ambient outside.
3. Create flow. You know how everyone always ends up crowded around the kitchen island during parties? To avoid this, Babin spread the party’s many details throughout the house, forcing people to move throughout different rooms, rather than staying in one area. Food in the dining room, cotton candy outside, bar in the living room, and tables and florals throughout helped to establish optimal distance between guests without anyone missing out.
4. Open bar policy. We had a bartender on hand to limit the amount of people actually handling the glasses and bottles. We also added a signature cocktail complete with cotton candy on top (a cottontail to go with the bunny theme) to add to the fun.
5. It’s all in the pastel details. To make it feel like a baby shower and not just a cocktail party, we took cues from my baby’s nursery. The cake by Sweet Stirrings was handpainted to match the toile of his bedroom curtains. His custom crest by Rachael Roxanne by Hand was plastered on every possible surface (including the cotton candy, thanks to edible paper). To top it off, we sprinkled items from his nursery throughout the party, including a baby blue toy train alongside the food display and some of his heirloom outfits hanging from the mantel.
Design and florals: Angela Marie Events
Crest: Rachael Roxanne by Hand
Invitations, signs and paper goods: Sharon Benton Designs
Catering: Gilded Artichoke
Cotton candy: Le DOODLE
Cake: Sweet Stirrings
Cookies: Sugar Kettle Cookie Co.
Macarons: Les Amis Bake Shoppe
Toy box: Stacey Pelas
Photographer: Sarah Ward Weddings