“Shabby chic”—the term itself says it all! Combining the charm of vintage-inspired decor elements with the elegance of artful finishing touches, the result is a setting ideal for an intimate bridal shower party. But how do you get the right look?
Keep in mind the key terms. “Shabby” here connotes much-loved, precious, treasured…hence well-worn. “Chic” keeps it stylish, carefully chosen, and possessing a certain flair. Use these as your guidelines in planning a captivating bridal shower party—from transforming your chosen venue, to laying out the table display, to giving delightful guest favors. Let our own table setting below serve as your inspiration!
Recreate the Setting of a Warm, Cozy Cottage
Even if all you have for a party venue is a little breakfast nook in your home, you can transport your guests to a warm, cozy cottage through these distinctive shabby chic touches that are infused with an elegant flair:
- a color palette in soft hues (e.g., powder pink, mint green, baby blue)
- pastel-painted wooden furnishings and table accessories with a “distressed” finish
- decor accents with a feminine, frilly appearance—curtains, chair cushions, and throw pillows in chintz or floral-print cottons, a braided area rug, or a soft throw or lace shawl draped over a couch
Start Out with a Palette of Soft Hues
See how the softness begins with an overall color scheme of ivory, white, and pink. It then continues with the use of graceful details, such as fringed napkins displayed in a fan shape, ruffled pink ribbons, lace-covered luminaries, and loose rose petals. You can also use plain white table napkins propped up in the wine glasses, each adorned with a soft feather in white or powder pink.
Assemble Stylishly Charming Table Settings
This is a party after all. So, much of the focus will be on the table display. Make sure it captures that shabby chic appeal by bringing the same muted color palette to the table through soft fabrics, ruffles, and florals accented by vintage glass, silver, and jeweled elements…and the enchantment of candlelight!
Here comes the “chic” part! Against a canvas of blue brocade fabric, set out place settings of clear glass plates—a very vintage touch—atop pink organza rounds that serve as unconventional yet elegant plate chargers. Flank each plate with elegant silver cutlery. Then, bring in a bit of sparkle with jewel-trimmed guest favors atop each plate, and pearl-ringed candle trays amidst the table display.
Hint: Antique glass plates are quite a collector’s item. So check out flea markets or antique shops for them. But you can always use contemporary look-alikes available at houseware stores, like Crate and Barrel.
Let the Tables Glow with Candles Everywhere
Raise the chic factor even further with the ultimate romantic accent: candle glow! Line the center of your table with a breathtaking grouping of candles set on simple mirrored discs and vari-sized glass cylinders wrapped in lace. Embellish these with a scattering of flower petals, swirling ribbons, or even single blooms in the same soft color motif.
Hint: For the lace-trimmed luminaries, you need not buy new glass cylinders. You can simply use old mason jars, jam jars, or even large glass tumblers or vases that you already have. Read on how to make lace candle holders.
Delight Guests With Exquisite Favors
Of course, your bridal shower mementos should be fittingly shabby chic as well! Consider favor bags made in the form of Victorian-inspired pomanders—presented here atop each glass plate. Sweet fillings for these sachets could be crunchy Jordan almonds or refreshing buttermints for guests to enjoy as the party comes to an end.
For other favor ideas with that shabby chic flair, you can fill mini purses with some fragrant potpourri, flower-shaped hand soap, a pretty gold keepsake frame, or roses in flower pots. Or you can use dainty porcelain footed boxes to hold a scrolled message of thanks for each guest.
On a Budget? Borrow, Beg, or Barter!
The fun aspect about decorating the shabby chic way is that things don’t have to match perfectly. Neither do they have to be brand new. Just remember to keep within the soft color palette and maintain the vintage-feminine-elegant look. Then, have a great time mixing and matching old, used items—whether these are bought for a song at a flea market or garage sale, or borrowed from your family and friends.
Here are more budget-friendly shabby chic ideas for your party tables:
1. Old-fashioned handkerchiefs in pretty floral prints or with dainty embroidery or lace edging can act as improvised place mats or table doilies.
2. Crystal candy or soap dishes (clear or in pastel hues) can be used as vintage-style candle trays.
3. A variety of antique jars and cans can make wonderful containers for flowers. Fill them with affordable blooms such as carnations or daisies and the centerpieces are ready to go!
4. Ceramic flower pots finished in white or pale glazes can serve as plate stands for your party fare.
5. Second-hand wooden chopping boards can be given a “distressed” finish and used as serving trays. [How to distress: Paint each board in pale pink, green, or blue with an overlay of white, then sand it lightly in certain spots to reveal the color beneath.]