Family Lifestyle

#BABYSWEET’S BABY SHOWER: THE PARTY AND THE PLANNING

I’ve always imagined my first baby shower as a family reunion-style gathering with nieces and nephews galloping through the dance floor as adults swayed back and forth in unison to line dancing hits – the electric slide, etc. At the same time, their curated cocktails gently spilled onto the floor as the ambiance and esthetic set the tone for an unforgettable experience. That is precisely what was created for Baby Sweet’s first celebration of life, and I relish sharing the beautiful details with her one day. 

Every piece of the party was so symbolic of the lifestyle we’d love to bring her into. It was a jubilant occasion filled with celebration, family, and friends that traveled from Chicago, Memphis, DC, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Ohio, New York, KY, and more. In our almost 12 years of dating and marriage and now welcoming our baby girl, our collection of people has stood the test of time and grown even more. We’re forever grateful for this extended family network. Baby sweet will have a host of places to visit and friends and family to grow old with. Her circle of life is already started, and she’s not even here yet. Special thanks to my sisters, Valerie June and Kayla Sanders, for contributing to the beautiful day. 

As the days of pregnancy go by gradually, they also go by expeditiously. I’d tell anyone to try to document as much as they can from the moment they find out that you’re expecting. Write down how you’re feeling—record audio and video of special sentiments. Start imagining every little milestone and celebrating the fleeting experience because it starts to fly by. Here I am writing my baby shower blog post a month and a half afterward, but it’s no biggie because I’ve just gotten a bit more time to take in all the photos and videos of the day before I share them with the world. Tip number one of pregnancy and anything related is to save something for yourself. In the world of social media, we’re so quick to think about planning events and showcasing all the things solely for social media audiences. Slow down and make this all about you and your life-changing experience. 

The Theme: Baby in Bloom 

Early on in my pregnancy, my sister said to me, “This is the one time in your life that you’ll carry two consciences – yours and the baby.” This stuck with me and helped me create the theme of the shower. My baby and I are on a journey – she into this world and I into motherhood. We’re blooming together, and that would be the ultimate message of the shower. 

The Guestlist/ Venue: 

Baby showers, just like weddings, are expensive. So we stuck with family and close friends. We had over 400 people at our wedding, and with Covid regulations, there was no way we’d be able to fit that amount of people safely at our co-ed Baby Shower. Ozari Nashville was the perfect location with indoor and outdoor escapes for our guest list of 65 people. 

Bar: 

We’d used Cocktail & Key for our Gender reveal, and they were a hit! They created specialized drinks that fit the theme. We had mocktails for the little people and cocktails for the adults. The flower garnishes in the drinks mirrored the thematic approach. The bars were custom-designed with florals and signage hashtags that we’d used for our wedding, including (#TheRealSweets and #BabySweet.) They took care of each detail, from the mirror menus to the delicate drinks. 

Food: 

We knew we wanted nothing other than soul food for a noon shower on a Sunday! It was like gathering at your grandmother’s house for a homestyle-cooked meal complete with fried chicken, baked chicken, macaroni and cheese, green beans, hot buttery rolls, and more from Southern Banquet Catering Co. The whole room smelled like home, and Thanksgiving rolled into one, and what better an occasion for gratitude, connection, and fellowship. 

Cake: 

We all love beautiful cakes, but do we love to eat beautiful cakes is the question. I chose Cake my Day Nashville because she puts her heart, soul, and talent into these delicious delights. The owner, Camille Perry, and I grew up together, so not only did I want to support her small business, but I wanted to work with someone who I trusted to deliver the sweetness of the day! There were no cake or cake pops left behind. 

The Party: 

From what I can tell, I’ve got a tiny dancer in my tummy, but that comes as no surprise. I come from a vibrant lineage of dancers and entertainers in their own right. Most occasions on both sides of our families entail large gatherings, lots of laughs, and dancing. I imagine my girl will be dancing right on into this party! I didn’t want to sit and open gifts. I wanted to open my heart and soul to the time and the energy of the space where we celebrated Baby Sweet and my bloom. So, we booked DJ Xtra Credit, cued the lights, and set the scene for just that. 

Lighting: 

The Baby Sweet marquee added the perfect flare to the affair – no pun intended. If you’re questioning whether you should have this at your party, do yourself a favor and book AlphalitNashville! The lifesize letters create the ambiance and aura that every party needs! It’s like adding fireworks to the event. 

The Floral Design: 

There’s something special about floral designs that undoubtedly fit the theme of Baby in Bloom, so my friend Nathalie – the owner of Gramercy and Grace, created the most magical design with custom moss-covered chairs fit for a King and Queen at Buckingham Palace. Just above the set hung baby’s breath clouds that further articulated this season of growth for Mom Sweet and Baby Sweet! She also did all the centerpieces for the tables, which are always an excellent conversation piece. 

Activations: 

I always think of all age groups when I plan a party. I think of people traveling to spend time with us – young and old and try to accommodate accordingly. Vlancahouse provided the energy charmers for both kids to be free and adults to jump right into their childhoods again. Guests enjoyed making memories amongst generations between the ball pit and the bouncy house. 

Balloons: 

Another theme for my pregnancy has been to vibrate higher! I read a book by Lalah Delia in January of 2021 and called into action exactly how I wanted this year to be! Little did I know, it would be one of the best and most memorable years of my life growing a tiny human. What better way to symbolize that than incorporating robust and renowned balloon designs throughout the shower? Margari events created a metaphorical presence with the custom designs. Guests flocked to each set with gleeful eyes and the simple reminder of joy. 

Event Coordination: 

This one is for all of the mommas out there. Hire some help! This may not be your first time doing so, but it definitely shouldn’t be your last. My sisters, who were the shower hosts, traveled from Houston and New York on that weekend. With the busy lives we all lead, I knew we’d all deserved to relax. My friend Sarah Patton of Social Bliss Events was a lifesaver. She took over all communications with vendors, the space’s design and layout, and the day of coordination without any hitches. It made our entire experience worthwhile. After all, the worry of planning an event, setup, and takedown can take your whole day in a different direction. You deserve to relax and celebrate. So let me say it louder for the people in the back, “Hire some help!” 

I only had one baby shower, but it was intentional and sweet. It was beautiful and energetic. It was inclusive and unforgettable. It was precisely how I’d manifested it throughout my entire pregnancy, and I am forever grateful for everyone who played a role in making this memory one that will live on and last forever. 

Special thanks to Livvie Clicks photography for capturing the intimate details. If you do nothing else during your pregnancy, take the photos and videos. You won’t regret a simple one. 

FULL VENDOR LIST:

Event Coordination: Social Bliss Events

Florals: Gramercy and Grace

Makeup: Makeup by Hailee

Venue: Ozari Nashville

Photography: LivvieClicks

Bar: Cocktail & Key

Bouncy House/Ball Bit: Vlanca House

Balloons: Magari Events

Catering: Southern Banquet Catering

Cake: Cake My Day Nashville

Lights: AlphaLit Nashville

DJ: DJ Xtra Credit 

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