Photos by Chesley McCarty

With summer nuptials on the horizon, wedding shower season is in full swing! Hosting a small shower at home—in the backyard, on the patio, or on the roof of your apartment building—is always an excellent idea—it can look super elegant while still being extremely cost-effective. All you need to kick things off are the right decorations, bites, and accessories. Below, I’m sharing some of my faves from a recent celebration. 


When it comes to wedding themed accessories, you can be as low key or over the top as your bride prefers! In this case, I went for more subtle accents that still touched on the wedding theme: special “congratulations” napkins, a guest book for friends to sign, and a little paper tiara for the bride to wear. I did sneak some bridal puns into the snacks I served (dates on the cheeseboard as a play on “save the date,” popcorn as a play on “popping the question,” and corn nuts for “nuts about you”). If you’re the one hosting a shower, you likely know the bride very well and can use your best judgment as to how much wedding-themed decor she’ll prefer; I’ve seen a wide range at the showers I’ve attended over the years! 

I grabbed the napkins and guest book as well as a cute ring banner from the Paper Source, and I set out cute, spring-themed serving plates from Anthropologie. They’re festive and feminine but are super versatile and definitely can be used for all kinds of occasions in the future. 


I’ve shared my love for cheese and charcuterie boards before, and the truth is that they’re always ideal for entertaining small groups. A board looks fancy but requires minimal prep after the initial grocery trip to gather ingredients, and guests can graze as much as they please throughout the party. I grabbed all of my food and drink at The Fresh Market and Dawson’s Market; both stores have a huge selection of gourmet goodies, and you won’t have any trouble finding delicious cheeses, crackers, and more. I finished off the setup with some cute Sugarfina candies from Balducci’s (note that these make excellent party favors, too!). Oh, and a pro tip? Little touches like pieces of chocolate and sprigs of rosemary will take your cheeseboard setup from good to great and make it look ultra-professional (no one will know that you only spent 10 minutes piecing it together!). 


Any bridal shower needs a dessert station, and I opted to pick up a selection of cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake rather than order a large cake given that this was a smaller group celebration. Plus, cupcakes are perfect for a group of friends because you can easily cut them in half and guests can sample multiple flavors without overindulging. Georgetown Cupcake makes it easy to order online and schedule an order pickup, and new seasonal flavors are constantly being added to their website.  


Of course you’ll want to serve champagne or something bubbly to properly celebrate this special occasion, but a pink drink like rosé is also an excellent choice (especially this time of year). I also set out pink lemonade in a fancy looking bottle for a non-alcoholic option. All in all, the rosé was the biggest hit—you can’t go wrong when pairing a light, refreshing wine with a charcuterie board! 


After you’ve determined your menu and basic decor, you’ll want to get party-ready by selecting a fun playlist, adding some personal touches (for example, baby photos of the bride and groom or pictures of them together over the years are always sweet), and gathering the essentials (like a notepad and pen to keep track of gifts the bride opens and a charged phone or camera to document the evening). Celebrating a friend at home has never been easier, and she’ll appreciate all of the thought and care you put into making her feel special before her big day. 

Sarah Lyon is a freelance writer and interior design enthusiast who currently lives in Washington, DC. Her work has appeared on websites including Apartment Therapy, Architectural Digest Clever, Lonny, and MyDomaine. Additionally, Sarah’s own spaces have appeared on Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, Houzz, and Her Dupont Circle apartment was featured in both the spring 2019 print edition of Small Space Decorating and the January 2019 print edition of Washingtonian Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @sarahlyon9.