Sakura. These delicate, blush pink cherry blossoms that burst forth each springtime are dainty and simple individually. But when these sweet blooms crown cherry trees in an entire park or orchard, they present an absolutely breathtaking sight! Treasured for their fleeting beauty, sakura are also believed to symbolize love, good fortune, and the freshness of springtime. All auspicious for an upcoming wedding set in Spring—the traditional cherry blossom season. What a treat for the bride, then, if family and friends surprise her with an elegant cherry blossom themed bridal shower party. Worried that the decor will be difficult to pull off?
Create an Elegant Palette with Golden Hues
A gold-toned color palette casts a rich glow on the party scene, softly lit by Japanese paper lanterns and set against a cherry blossom tree backdrop.
Cast a gold-toned color palette amid soft pink and organic textures. It all begins with a subtle yet elegant color palette. For this special wedding shower setting, we recommend rich burnished tones of gold and copper to highlight the pinks and browns of the table, ceiling, and wall treatments. The overall effect is exotic and sophisticated, while also being feminine in keeping with the occasion.
For decorative textures, we suggest predominantly natural ones—wood, bamboo, flowers, water, stone, silk—complemented with earthenware and metallic touches. The key, though, is to use these with artful restraint, creating a look that’s clean, elegant, and a tribute to the renowned Japanese artistry.
Use large globe-shaped paper lanterns to adorn the ceiling and immediately establish an Oriental ambiance. Then, extend this to an eye-catching wall treatment, featuring faux cherry blossom branches with bright pink origami cranes perched amidst them.
Shopping Tip: For paper lanterns, you can check out Pier 1 Imports, which carries this globe-shaped accessory in different sizes, colors, and designs.
Create Japanese-inspired Centerpieces and Place Settings
Up close, the party table display reveals an innovative Japanese-inspired centerpiece and stylish place settings—featuring earthenware bowls, wooden chopsticks, paper crane place card holders, and of course cherry blossoms!
Set a glamorous look for your table display with a tablecloth in matte gold fabric. Then, add table decor accents that distinctly reference Japan, while maintaining the sophisticated gold-brown-pink color scheme. Our eye-catching centerpiece, for instance, is a grouping of decorative glass luminaries and mini cherry blossom arrangements. Each luminary is actually a tall glass vase holding a tea light and wrapped with sleeves made from rice paper, sinamay, and braided cord—cleverly mimicking the obi sash of the Japanese kimono. The mini flower arrangements are crafted from sprigs of fabric cherry blossoms and rice paper-covered boxes. All definitely doable!
For the place settings, we selected earthenware bowls glazed in chocolate brown with a stylish brushwork design, paired with copper and gold striped napkins and wooden chopsticks. A golden origami crane serves as a charming place card holder resting atop the chopsticks. The overall look is clean and uncluttered, and surprisingly simple to recreate.
Shopping Tips: The key, of course, lies in sourcing the right decorative elements.
- You can look for faux cherry blossoms, for instance, among the floral arrangement supplies at a home decor outlet; or else purchase them through the Home and Garden section at Ebay.
- Japanese-style bowls, dishes, and chopsticks should be available at the Asian homeware section of large department stores; or failing that, you may try specialty online sources such as Toki USA.
- Rice paper (or its look-alikes) can be found in arts and crafts stores, among the handmade paper supplies. While sinamay may be on sale also at crafts supply outlets or through online milliner’s supply distributors, as it’s generally used in hat-making.
- Make colorful paper cranes being offered on Dickblick.com or get ready-made ones from Etsy.com—an option for the pink or fuchsia cranes to be perched on the cherry tree backdrop. But to get them in the proper gold color for the place card holders, try making them yourself!
Give Guests Charming Party Favors and Gifts
Say a warm “thank you” to guests with Japanese wa-gashi (sweets) tucked into fabric boxes and then bundled up in sugar pink wraps. They make a lovely addition to the bridal shower table decor as well!
Delight your wedding shower guests—and enhance the table decor at the same time—with lovely party favors and gifts presented with that unique Japanese flair! One option (shown above) would be Japanese sweets, called wa-gashi, packaged in fabric boxes and wrapped in pretty pink organza. You could also fill the boxes with tasty Japanese crackers and nuts.
Other wonderful favor and gift ideas to consider:
- A bottle of wine for each guest, wrapped in the distinctive furoshiki way
- Pairs of chopsticks tied to porcelain soy sauce dishes that are filled with candy
- Flower petal bags made of shantung silk and holding sweet treats
- Gold picture frames, each embellished with a cherry blossom accent
- Glass coasters with cherry blossom artwork!
Shopping Tips: You may stumble upon fabric-covered boxes among the jewelry storage options, dresser accessories, or even sewing supplies section of your favorite department store. The challenge, though, will be finding those in the right petite size and with a suitably “Oriental” fabric pattern. So you may choose to make your own, using either a Japanese print fabric or perhaps synthetic silk from a textile outlet.
Add Personalization Touches
Often, it’s the personal touches that turn an occasion from simply stylish to truly special. Here are some heartwarming ideas to consider for this party theme:
- To welcome arriving guests, have a striking party signage with a warm greeting like, “It’s Cherry Blossom Season!” Accompany this with a pair of traditional Japanese dolls in kimonos with tiny tags identifying them as the bride and groom. Or fill vases with cherry blossom sprigs and tuck little cutout photos of the shower guests among the blooms.
- Personalize each guest’s chair with a paper-and-bamboo hand fan bearing her name. These can then be taken home as charming party mementos.
- Then, as the shower party draws to a close, dedicate a personal toast to the bride with Japanese plum wine called umeshu served in petite porcelain cups.
Shopping Tips: Ideal sources for Japanese dolls (also called kokeshi dolls) are shops offering Asian home decor, or specialty online suppliers. The same goes for flat, paddle-shaped hand fans (also known as uchiwa) and porcelain cups (traditionally used for serving rice wine, called sake).
Serve Up Tempting Treats on the Table with an Eye-Catching Flair
Make the most of Japanese arts and crafts to give your party fare presentation an unconventional spin! Here, we’ve used porcelain sake cups as holders for colorful Japanese candies, and tucked them into a gold origami box lined with crepe paper strips.
A light but deliciously flavorful party menu is yet another definite plus for a Japanese-inspired event. If you feel, though, that your guests may not be prepared to go all-out authentic, go ahead and mix-and-match Japanese menu items with more familiar dishes, desserts, and beverages.
Some savory selections to consider are: tender steamed dumplings known as gyoza; all-veggie tempura featuring zucchini and carrot slices, and broccoli and cauliflower florets; and the ever-popular sushi and sashimi “party platter” with soy sauce and wasabi.
For sweets, offer up colorful Japanese candies in little sake cups. Then, in place of trays, present these in DIY origami boxes made from gold craft paper. Such a great way to add a dash of color by each guest’s place setting, or as part of a festive dessert table!
Some cool and refreshing Japanese desserts you may serve are: coffee jelly; orange kanten jelly; and anmitsu which is made with fruits, agar-agar jelly, or sweet bean paste topped with vanilla ice cream. Then, for the bridal shower cake, treat guests to a little surprise with a green tea cheesecake!
Now, for the beverages. For non-alcoholic choices, consider these refreshing picks: shochu watermelon lemonade, green tea iced latte, soy fruit juice, lemon ginger tea, and black tea lemonade. For traditional Japanese alcoholic drinks, you may serve cold or warm sake or plum wine on the rocks. Then of course, offer the staple green tea, served iced or piping hot!
Ultimately, for this special wedding shower party, the choice is yours. Will you host a full-blown Japanese event with all the trimmings, or will you introduce some choice touches in the party decor, the menu and beverages, and in the shower favors and gifts? Either way, this occasion decked out in lovely cherry blossoms is sure to be a high point among any bride-to-be’s wedding memories!
But Wait, There’s More to Enjoy
Find more awesome cherry blossom inspiration via our Pinterest board, here are a few of our favorites: