Part 1: Throwing a Party out East
Be Someone’s Crazy Aunt
My little sister, Emma, is having her first baby! Even though Celi, Diana and I are years older than her, we aren’t ready to give up our travel adventures and day drinking quite yet. We are beyond excited to be the cool Aunts and can’t wait until the precious moment baby Maisie squeezes our finger with her whole hand. Of course, we were equally excited to host. The vision: a garden baby shower theme with decadent Victorian influences.
A Charming Rental in East Marion
First, we needed the perfect location. Emma lives in Brooklyn, but nothing – in all of New York City – looked dreamy enough. Since a lot of our family lives out East, it was an obvious pick. Indeed, we rented a big house with an even bigger backyard, complete with a storybook tree. East Marion is situated on the North Fork of Long Island, a lush wine country, just a short ferry ride from the Hamptons. For more about about this picturesque dream land, checkout our North Fork Travel Guide.
Navigating the Island
There are only two roads that connect the Long Island Expressway to the tip of the island. While the drive is beautiful, sprinkled with wineries and produce stands, there is often traffic. Our rental was located in East Marion, which is about a 45 minute drive from Riverhead, without stops.
Aside from Riverhead, which is the first town you pass through off the expressway, supermarkets and department stores are non-exisistent. To make matters worst, the stores that do exist usually close very early. It’s hard to buy a bottle of wine after 6 PM. Big chain stores are few and far between here. It’s lovely and refreshing, but the morning of the baby shower I had to buy a $10 pair of scissors! Talk about sticker shock! Frustrating, but understandable; a charming mom-and-pop drugstore wouldn’t stay in business without prices like these. Since large home rentals are pricey too, we couldn’t check in until the day before the baby shower.
BTS: Overcoming the Difficulties of Throwing a Party all the way Out East
When throwing an event away from home you have to bring everything. Sometimes you get lucky and find hidden gems at an Airbnb, but you can’t rely on what might be there. We tried to mail as much as we could to relatives who lived nearby. A local company, At Your Service Party Rental, delivered the tables and chairs to the house. Thankfully, they went above a beyond to accommodate our schedule.
It was a tight squeeze in Emma’s Jeep: weekend luggage, homemade shower games, delicate decor, five girls, plus a baby bump. As if we aren’t already packed liked Sardines, we still had to stockpile in Riverhead. We still needed: 2 cases of wine, all of the food for the shower, party favors (we forgot), an ice bin, the cakes and fresh flowers and vases.
You can Never Have Enough Balloons
Upon realization that the balloons wouldn’t fit in the Jeep with us, we frantically called Balloon delivery services. After we learned how pricey it is to get delivery to the end of the island, we stopped at Party City and bought a $20 at-home helium tank. We can’t wait to use again, it’s perfect for small parties. Seeing that Target only had a neon selection of balloon colors, we had to add another stop. In Southold, Ye Old Party Shop is another mom-and-pop store, which had much prettier ballon colors. Ultimately, we chose a pearlsecent bunch in shades of white, pink, ivory, and clear.
The Flowers: Necessities for a Garden Baby Shower
There was limited flower selection at every store along our route, so we only had about two dozen… which wasn’t nearly enough.Thankfully, the landscape in the North Fork is similar to an English country garden. A parade of wildflowers and ivy pour from every nook and cranny. After nightfall, and a few bottles of wine later, a couple of us took to the open road with a pair of scissors. Serendipitously, we found a huge wooden farm crate at our front door. The scissors broke on our first forage and my aunt tumbled into a ditch, but sneaking around flower picking was a highlight of the trip. In the end, our bounty was beautiful (and free).
The Table Decor
A dusty pink fabric, with a vintage Victorian feel, was used as the tablecloth. In the DTLA fabric district, we scored 9 yards for $25. For the cake table, we used a sheer baby pink fabric, embellished with tasteful sparkles and fabric flowers. At the dollar store along our route, we found ivory flower vases adorned with pink roses and vines. At At $2 a pop, we were able to line the entire table with flower-filled vases, which doubled as party favors. Lastly, dried lavender and twigs were scattered across the table, adding shabby-chic vibes.
Shake What your Mama Gave You.
AKA: Use What Your Airbnb Gifts You
At this Airbnb, luck was on our side. The rental was filled with pieces that paired seamlessly with the garden baby shower theme. The kitchen greeted us with a large box of hand-painted plates. Each plate featured a pink flower on a green vine, which couldn’t be more dead-on with our theme. Upstairs, we found a wooden rocking chair with a flower embroidery. A perfect spot for Emma to sit while opening gifts.
Meanwhile, the fairytale tree, which dominated our backyard proved to be multi-functional. First, we used it for the needed shade. It’s long branches canopied over the tables, perfect for a garden baby shower theme. Naturally, we dangled ornaments, made from silver charms and pink ribbons. While we were eating, they danced gracefully at eye level, with every breeze. Short a present table, we perched all of the gifts on the tree. Twine and pink clothespin were pulled from branch to branch, creating a clothesline to showcase polaroids. Everything was falling together.