Everybody’s talking about the Olympics, and for good reason. They are the pinnacle of athletic excellence and the gold (medal) standard for achievement in the world of sports. So, I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised when my future sister-in-law’s maid of honor told me that the chosen theme for the impending Bridal Shower was
“The Bridal Olympics”
When I arrived home two days before my future relative’s bridal extravaganza, I discovered I was unexpectedly in charge of a few elements of the lovely (and impending) bridal shower.
The whirlwind preparations commenced with some flag-making!
Just call me a modern-day Betsy Ross.
Once I got over the fact that I had to make 10 flags out of paper, and that those flags were (tragically) not of the three-color variety, this was actually kind of fun. We made each table a different country that had some meaning or significance for the bride, and her maid of honor explained the significance as a way of tying the theme to our lovely bride-to-be…
Second Job? Thematic food.
With 54 RSVP-ed as coming, I realized we were going to need some more food at this shin-dig. My amazing mother whipped up some Spanakopita (Kind of reminiscent of greek lasagna, if you don’t know it! Think lots of filo dough, spinach and cheese. . . ), which was so good that I didn’t even get a picture of it before it was wolfed down! I will ask her to share her recipe someday, I’m sure. I also threw together a couscous salad with feta, onion, tomatoes, and a little olive oil, just to keep the filling-foods accounted for. My friend John put together this gorgeous salad while I was doing some dessert finishings. The Mostly-Greek food theme was freaking me out a little because a lot of people don’t love those strong flavors, SOOOO, we figured that Greek Salad is pretty tasty and straightforward, and we wound up using this great online recipe for greek dressing which was a nice touch.
I also bulk-bought Tortilla and Pita chips, and we put together some Olympic Ring Dips!
Here’s how we did it:
Blue: Sour Cream, Chives, a few drops of blue food coloring, and a pinch of onion or garlic powder (optional)
Black: (recipe found online) Black beans, red onion, tomato, cilantro, cumin, a little salt
Red: My Mom’s homemade salsa, which is just so good!
Yellow: Cheddar cheese and Beer . . . You just food process shredded cheddar and throw some beer (we just use whatever’s handy) in the mix until it’s at a good spreading consistency. . . It’s shocking how good this is, especially considering it’s so simple!
Green: Good old-fashioned guacamole (Avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, etc.)
If I had to do it over again, I think I would triple the amount of Guacamole, because that was the first one gone, and so tasty! But I would still make all the same dips. People just raved, and they were really quite easy.
Friends brought 5 different kinds of homemade hummus (and some baba ghanoush, I think) , cut veggies and Greek Dolmades (Grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs). The hummus was sensational, although I’m glad we had pita chips to go with it, and not just the veggies, they had some strong flavors, and the pita chips gave them a little balance, in addition to making the snacky-food a little heartier for our hungrier guests!
Our Olympic Torch Cupcakes were not too terribly tricky, although I wish I’d made the frosting a little more in advance! We made about 100 of these by cooking cake batter in store-bought ice cream cones. Once the chocolate cake was cooled, I set to work piping swirls of yellow frosting onto the top, which we then sprinkled with some red sprinkles to try to make them more “fire-like”. The piping took a little time, but these were very tasty, so worth the effort. I would probably do the piping on-site next time, since some of our icing got a little smushed in transit.
My Dad, being the wonderful, kind, giving, inventive genius that he is, drilled large holes into a box, which we then covered with tinfoil, so that these lovely cupcakes could stay upright as long as they did. (Although, I’m sure you notice the ones in front that were squished through a tragic punch-bowl maneuvering incident!)
The Gold-Medal Awards were actually quite simple, and probably more suited to the younger guests, but who can say no to blonde oreos (from Wegmans, no less) and fruit roll-ups? These were really tasty, and looked pretty cute, too!
Pool-Cake was fun to decorate! The idea is one that I saw on Pinterest, and did my best to copy from the creative blogger who made it, with the inadvertent variations that always happen when trying to emulate someone else’s creativity without their resources! You can put this decoration onto any cake that you bake in a square pan, but I used a 9″x13″ one. I used Cool whip, died blue, for the water, smarties (because we couldn’t find candy necklaces) for the lane-seperators, white chocolate for the diving boards, m&ms for the swimp caps, and little pretzel bits for arms and legs. The last touch was just adding the rescue buoys (using peach gummies with red frosting) and the flags, which you can’t see in this picture.
The final sweet treat I added to the shower menu was chocolate covered pretzels! I love chocolate covered pretzels, and, to be honest, I think most people agree with me. So, since purchasing chocolate wafers of the right color was an option, it made sense to dip pretzels into them and create yet another Olympic Ring themed dessert.
Job #3? Collecting Sage Council for the Bride-To-Be
The challenge? Make it look cute, and somehow connect to this Olympian theme.
The Solution? Making a cute little flag garland!
Guests each picked a triangle of colored paper and wrote their advice onto it. Then, while the games were afoot, an amazingly helpful friend attached the triangles to some grosgrain ribbon hanging from the windows for other guests (and the bride) to admire until the Bride took it home with her! I did my best to set it up in as user-friendly a way as possible:
Job #4: It was time for some Balloons!
We didn’t want anyone to miss the entrance, so these little floaters worked as eye-catchers, both on the road-side and the entrance to the building!
A Job for Somebody Else:
My Mom bagged chocolate coins with a little note and some patriotic ribbon to send everyone home with a sweet little reminder of the wedding festivities to come!
A Job for Somebody Else:
The Maid of Honor swathed her sister in a toga and an artsy sister-of-the-groom made the lovely grape-leaf wreath to go around the Bride’s head. My only contribution was the gauzy white ribbon hanging in streamers from the “laurel wreath”. . . because sometimes things just can’t be too bridal!
So, there you have it.
By no means perfection, but definitely a much feted, uniquely decorated, and immensely enjoyed Bridal Olympics!
Any other Olympic sized adventures out there? Unlikely theme-parties?