Bonne marriage!

My best friend’s little sister got engaged, and I love to plan parties! So I talked Caitlin into hosting a shower for Ellen, over the Christmas Break when we would both be visiting our families in Nashville.

Ellen chose a French theme for her shower; she’s a foreign language teacher, and lived in Europe to learn the fine art of cheese making! So for French flair worthy of Ellen’s party, I took notes at the Alameda Vintage Flea Market looking for francais-inspired easy DIY projects, very low budget.


red tulips


chalkboard paint

subway signs

etageres and tiered trays

provencal linens


maps of Paris

and here’s a link to what I was able to create on a $90 decorating budget…

The blog post is from my best friend’s paleo website, Grass Fed Girl. The food was Caitlin’s responsibility, creating the ambience was mine.

A party favor is key to Southern Hospitality in my book, so finding the yellow Provencal style napkins at a favorite Nashville bargain warehouse distributor set my creative wheels turning. The napkins were less than $1 each, and I tied them with raffia and filled each hole of a rustic Coke flat. Next I went to Goodwill and snatched up metal trays for $1 each to cover with a can of chalkboard spray paint ($4 at Home Depot). I also spray painted some wooden 2x4s that were “weathered” by laying around my father’s garden.

Red tulips were purchased at half off the day after Christmas from two local Walgreens– they were originally sold in gift boxes for last minute holiday gifts. I had hoped Trader Joe’s would have big, luscious cut tulips for $5 a bunch, but you can never predict what flowers they’ll stock, and sure enough, no tulips the day of the party. Thank goodness I kept the Walgreens tulips in a cool dark closet to prolong their bloom until I needed them. I think I spent $8 on flowers.

My subway poster project was simply a set of stencils ($4) , a tube of white acrylic craft paint ($1) and a piece of black poster board ($1).  I googled a metro line in Paris for the stations and had a blast making the sign.

I bought two black berets at TJ Maxx, another at Target, the red one was borrowed from dear old dad. I think the hats were about $8 each, but essential to making the bride, her mother, her sister and moi (!) stand out in the party crowd.

A few candles, some crystal and glass, French flags on toothpicks, and framed print outs of Paris landmarks were all borrowed or made for next to nothing. My favorite touch were the Marie Antoinette-style porcelain figurines Nancy (mother of the bride) happened to have in her dining room cabinet. The male and female figures were a delightful discovery and served as centerpieces for the buffet.

center of buffet, see subway sign in the background

center of buffet, see subway sign in the background

The party was fantastique! Most importantly, the bride loved it, and felt feted. Fait accompli!

Caitlin and Megan -- BFFs for 33+ years!

Caitlin and Megan — BFFs for 33+ years!

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