Natural Inspirations with Alaina of Rue Magazine

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Today we have our third of four posts from the lovely ladies of Rue Magazine.  From the woods to the beach, we’ve been talking all things camping and outdoors in honor of my Design Summer Camp and today is a fun take on nature-themed entertaining.  This post comes from Alaina ( pictured above with Crystal and me), who I had the pleasure of meeting recently in her home town of Chicago.  Alaina writes the great blog Live Creating Yourself so be sure to check it out. But for now, enjoy her lovely post on entertaining with the outdoors in mind.

Thank you so much, Tobi, for including the Rue team on your blog this week! I wanted to share my sister’s bridal shower with your readers, a small event that was heavily inspired by nature. My sister, Andrea, is getting married on the beach in Michigan this Sunday. So for her shower, my mom, sister-in-law, and I wanted to incorporate a lot of natural elements, unfussy flower arrangements, and the beach motif, all while keeping it elegant at the same time.

We held the shower at my mom’s house, rented the tables and chairs, borrowed a few serving dishes (green depression ware), and kept the gathering short, simple, and sweet.

For the centerpieces, we went to my mom’s neighbor who happens to do this for a living. We asked her to use these garden-inspired urns, and all of the flowers you see were pulled from her own garden!
We served cocktails and hors d’œuvres on the oversized screened-in porch, which has always been my family’s favorite room in the house. Over the years, my mom avoided adding living room type furniture to this space in an attempt to keep it outdoorsy. No rug. No lounge furniture. No couch. No coffee table. No overhead lighting, even. We only ever sit out here with candle light come nightfall. The porch is elevated about 4-5 feet above the back yard, so my mom affectionately refers to this as her “adult tree house.”
Guests enjoyed a view of the yard and the garden while sipping on wine. We used seven tall drinking glasses as vases and placed individual stems of white ranunculus in each.
More flowers were brought in and placed on the mantel, and many of the gifts were wrapped in decorative green paper.
We used green depression glass to serve the white dragées and croissants on the tables.
To bring in more color and natural elements, butter pads were placed on oversized leaves, which were then placed on simple white dishes.
Even the meal was colorful and inspired by nature! We served salads complete with an array of fresh, natural ingredients: avocados, grape tomatoes, roasted almonds, grilled corn, goat cheese, and grilled organic chicken.
A local bakery, Toni’s, created the simple white chocolate mousse cake. They placed an arrangement of fondant shells and starfish on top and a green ribbon (also made of fondant) around the bottom.
Guests departed with shell-shaped sugar cookies, also from Toni’s, complete with an A&P for Andrea and Paul.
That’s all folks! One elegant, nature-inspired soirée!
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9 Responses to Natural Inspirations with Alaina of Rue Magazine

  1. Great job! Love the centerpieces and the cookies.

  2. Aw loving the green+white theme! the cake looks delicious! Great job, Alaina!

  3. Bernadette says:

    What a beautiful event! Everything is so elegant. Look forward to your magazine.

  4. So great of you, Tobi, to host the ladies. Rue will be wonderful with Crystal & Ann…don’t know the others yet, but looking forward to seeing everything they do. I’ll definitely be looking at the “new” travelling blog. xx’s

  5. Leave it to Alaina to use DIY elements and nature inspired motifs to create a chic and stylish soiree! Great job! 🙂

  6. Wow Tobi
    What a great blog, I found you on “Networked Blogs” on Face book and like this post on Rue Magazine. I am a decorative artist and I am always looking for new venues for inspiration. Glad I found you…

  7. megan says:

    What a beautiful and elegant event- thanks for sharing the details!

  8. Alan Karlin says:

    Love the cake and cookies! The simple color and shells are very classy.

  9. Lucky girl to be given such a glorious shower. She will never forget it! I can’t say enough for hydrangeas!