How to Host a Baby Shower

When the opportunity arose to gather the office for a simplistic yet sophisticated surprise shower, I volunteered to challenge the traditional approach and provide a tasteful happy hour with personal touches and reflective style.

The mom-to-be is a garden fanatic, to say the least; her weekly volunteer hours at the Memphis Farmers Market do not even touch the time she spends on her own home garden, which grows a bounty of produce from jalapeño to eggplant. I'm grateful she shares some of her harvests with the rest of our office. Since she had to opt out of a fall garden due to the upcoming baby boy's delivery, we thought we'd offer a garden-themed gathering to celebrate a late fall family addition.

My new friend Nuha, owner of 17Berkshire, has been spotted for her custom succulent cupcakes and various confections, which I first recognized on my Instagram feed this past Spring. I immediately called upon her expertise and ordered a dozen chocolate and rose water cupcakes with succulent/cactus toppings, as well as her macaron selection. To stick with the color palette and address the group's flavor preferences, we welcomed an unending domino effect of salted caramel, Mexican hot chocolate, almond, and vanilla macarons. The vanilla peeked a blueberry cream that nodded to the baby-to-be's gender.

Cupcakes were served atop raw wood rounds, which I sourced from the Target kids' craft aisle earlier in the week. They're my new favorite entertaining pieces. I plucked some stems of white hydrangeas and Dusty Millers from Garden District for ceramic watering jugs and terra cotta pots.

Rather than pushing all plates to a center table, I created multiple stations of cheese and charcuterie boards with fresh figs and Concord grapes -- a gluten-free co-worker even got her own corner with a strictly gluten-free cracker selection. I also sprinkled about small Paper & Clay bowls of roasted nuts, as well as batches of "Kale-akopita" for bites of green.

My paper source display was meant to hang; but at the final moment, I couldn't manage to find string! I opted to lay words and phrases amongst the table spreads which, actually, turned out to be just right.

Of course, the shower wouldn't have been complete without Emily Frazier's captivating photography. Her warmth and focus on the details truly brought this gathering to life.

Let's shower on the good wishes and remember these fine details for garden-filled gatherings ahead!