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REAL PARTIES: Sunshine & Love Bridal Shower

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sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

I’m so excited to share a bridal shower with you today that I threw for a friend last month… who also happens to be getting married this weekend!!

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

I’ve known the bride-to-be since that first day of kindergarten at age 4 and really wanted her bridal shower to have a playful, whimsical vibe that was reminiscent of our childhood fun… which usually included a lot of sugar, silliness, and time spent outdoors.

After everything came together, the key elements for this “Sunshine and Love” theme included paper parasols, bicycles, fruity candy, mason jars, flowers, and love birds – all brought to life in a sunny yellow & strawberry red color palette!

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

There are lots of DIY details and recipes to share, so in order to keep this post from being a mile long (or maybe more accurately 2 miles long!), I’ll start with the visual overview today and post additional DIY, recipes, and party printables later. Here we go…

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

As I mentioned above, bicycles were one of the key elements of the theme. While bicycles did integrate easily into the “playful summer” vibe of the theme, the main reason for this was actually because Cindy’s fiance is an avid cyclist, and I loved the idea of using a tandem bike to play on the metaphor that he was “making room on his bike for her.”

I also borrowed his & hers beach cruiser bikes from friends to serve as the backdrop for our “photo booth” area.

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

(No one had a tandem bike on hand that I could borrow – which is not exactly shocking! – but when budget allows for it I do think it would be cute to rent a tandem bike for this theme… especially if you turn it into a couples shower or engagement party!)

The photo area also had paper parasols and hand fans that guests could use as props for the photos… little extras like this always make for fun pictures!

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

Paper parasols played a starring role in the table centerpieces too…

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

I had a hard time figuring out how to display the parasols on the tables at first because they weren’t tall enough on their own. The solution ended up being to flip one 20″ glass cylinder vase upside down to act as a pedestal for a second glass cylinder. Worked like a charm!

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

I secured the bases of the 2 vases together with glue dots then covered the “seam” with 2 layers of decorative paper. (also added some white vase gems to the top vase to ensure the arrangements were heavy enough to keep from toppling over!)

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

Paper elements played a key role in the party – I had so much fun designing these paper patterns, framed signs, napkin rings, place mats, and favor tags…

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

Party favors sat at the top of each place setting. The favors were 16-oz Ball mason jars filled with rock candy (strawberry and lemon) and candy fruit slices (red raspberry and lemon).

The mason jars were embellished with a custom favor tag around the neck and a coordinating paper circle glued to the lid (made with a 2.5″ craft punch).

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

Larger 32-oz mason jars were used as vases throughout the rest of the party. Mason jars are really inexpensive and make for wonderfully affordable decor – just $11 for a case of 12! I embellished the jars with leftover paper napkin rings.

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

And speaking of affordable vases, the rest of the flowers were displayed in vases from Ikea…

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

Gerbera daisies, China Mums, Carnations, Roses, Spider Mums, and tiny daisies were displayed in simple, eclectic groupings next to the centerpieces and on side tables.

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

For the main outdoor arrangement, I made some oversize paper flowers – utilizing this paper rosette tutorial for the blooms and then attaching them to wooden dowels for the “stems”. (See third image from the top for a visual of this…)

I also used some of the paper flowers as hanging decor, in addition to the yellow, red, and white eyelet paper lanterns that were hung from fishing wire in the main room and from plants and branches.

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

This big faux leather “C” for Cindy was a happy find at HomeGoods – only $10 and the perfect shade of red! (It also doubled as a gift after the party.)

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

I also covered my regular wall art with decorative paper so that the artwork colors (blue and green) wouldn’t clash with the party. (This is always a good trick when temporarily transforming your home space for a party.)

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

Those cute glass vases pictured above? Only $0.99 at Ikea too!

I spray painted this manzanita branch red and decorated it with small 4″ paper lanterns. (There’s another arrangement I did that featured red, yellow, and white manzanita. For some reason I can’t find a photo of it – and of course it was my favorite piece! :0 I’ll do a DIY tutorial if I can find it….but in any case just know that the manzanita looks fun spray painted yellow & white too!)

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

The dessert table and lunch tables featured “runners” created from striped fabric.  (I just folded the fabric down to size – no needle & thread required! I’m all for shortcuts!)

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

There was so much yummy food for lunch that we kept the desserts simple and sweet. Mini cupcakes from Cupcake Love (Solana Beach, CA) and individually wrapped, sugar-dusted lemon bars.

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

The signature drinks were Red & White Sangria – perfect-for-summer cocktails that just happened to match the party’s color palette perfectly too!

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the ridiculous yummy food that was homemade by 2 wonderful ladies that seriously outdid themselves… check out this fabulous presentation!

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

The beverage table also featured a fun piece of party decor…. stacked boxes made to look like a tiered wedding cake. Check out the full DIY on this here.

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

And last but not least, I can’t forget to mention the cool little frames that are sprinkled throughout the party – including being utilized as our “cake topper” here!

They’re also from Ikea – and again – are only $0.99! I love how versatile they are – and the fact that you can display images on both sides… which means that no guests are stuck staring at the “back” of the frame!

sunshine and love bridal shower ideas

All in all, this was a really fun party and the bride-to-be was super happy, which is always the important thing! And now it’s on to the wedding this weekend! :)

Vendor Credit


  1. Claudi August 25, 2010 at 4:17 am

    This is so great, thanks for all the ideas and information. LOVE IT!

  2. Andrea Swenson August 25, 2010 at 4:26 am

    WOW! As usual – AMAZING – love every detail and the color scheme is so “happy”!

  3. Kori Clark August 25, 2010 at 5:27 am

    Wonderful party!! I adore how bright everything! Fantastic job!!

  4. Ebony Sparkes August 25, 2010 at 5:29 am


  5. Carrie August 25, 2010 at 6:17 am

    What a lucky friend you have!! I would have LOVED this if I were a guest at this party!

  6. Victoria August 25, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Heading to IKEA today! Looking forward to seeing these items now.

  7. Affection for Detail August 25, 2010 at 6:55 am

    I love the use of various yet coordinating patterns. Great colors!

  8. Joy August 25, 2010 at 8:00 am


  9. Michelle August 25, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Absolutely gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing job…..love the colors and all different patterns and wonderful it all came together!

  10. melissa August 25, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Excellent job Jenn as usual ,love the colors!! wish I had an Ikea near me;( 3hrs away.

  11. Jodi August 25, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Wow, what a gorgeous job!! Such a lovely partyscape!

  12. Zee August 25, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Such a beautiful party! Thanks for the wonderful ideas! Where can I get the picture frame from the dessert table (Help yourself to something sweet)? It’s so cute!

  13. Heather - Chickabug August 25, 2010 at 9:45 am

    GORGEOUS! I could look at these photos all day and still find new details to admire. And I love the patterns!! : )

  14. Sandra August 25, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Love this party! I am having a tandem bridal shower and this party host so much inspiration. THANKS!

  15. Kim August 25, 2010 at 10:32 am

    I love the theme! You did a wonderful job!!

    I actually have a random question about a piece of furniture in your pictures. I was wondering where you bought the table that’s under your wall art. I’ve been looking for a table like that for our entryway. Thank you in advance! :)

  16. Flipawoo Design August 25, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I love the use of colors and I just bought those glass vases from Ikea last weekend! I love Ikea! However, I don’t remember seeing those white two-sided frames. I’m going to have to go back there again! Anyway, great job on the shower. I wish I had a friend like you throwing me a fabulous party like that!

  17. Heavenly Blooms August 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Ooooh LOVE it Jenn!!!

    Where did you find the lucite boxes for the dessert table?

    Jaclyne xoxo

  18. joyful weddings and events August 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Super cute! Great job!

  19. cristina August 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Love the ideas! What font is it that you use for the word Love in the pcitures?

  20. amanda Kreller August 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Wow! Love this!! I need to start using fabric on top of my tablecloths…love that you just folded them.

  21. Amazing! I love love love the color scheme!

  22. Rebekah August 25, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    LOVE those colors! And I am super partial to that yellow stripe!- I just used the same one for a party I did the other weekend. =)

  23. Tammy@eventsbytammy.blogspot.com August 26, 2010 at 10:24 am

    The bridal shower looks great! I’m going to have to check Ikea out.

  24. Bettijo August 26, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    I really love this color scheme. It is so fresh and so NOW!

    Tammy, you MUST get to IKEA. It is seriously the best! I love, LOVE the new 99cent IKEA frames shown in this post. They couldn’t be cuter!

  25. nigel August 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Some really superb ideas and great value too. What about looking at local arts & crafts as a source for ideas? My short blog gives some good reasons as to be benifits we all can find by using our local crafts people. Enjoy!

  26. Hilary August 29, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Wow, I love the colors and the overall cheeriness of this party! Fabulous!

  27. Tiffanee September 1, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Amazing Party!! Love the colors so creative!! i was wondering where you purchased the clear stands on the desert table?

  28. jackies35 September 4, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Totally stunning! Loving the color and style of everything!! Hahha! Love this series!

  29. Janeen September 17, 2010 at 6:34 am


    Janeen Donati

  30. Custom Wedding Labels September 23, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Oh my god I want to have this party! so much fun! … love all the details. For cute labels and stickers check out https://www.labelsonthefly.com/

  31. Julianne October 19, 2010 at 9:24 am

    This is so beautiful! Love the bike photobooth idea!

  32. Kristin Sullivan February 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Hi. i have searched all over this website for some DIY info or templates (for sale or otherwise) from this shower and I can’t find any. It mentions you were going to post some party printables later but I cannot find them if you did that. Will you please help me out? I really love the tandem bicycle, specifically. Is there some place where I can download that printable?
    I tried to find a way to send you an email through the “contact” section of the site and it wasn’t helpful (unless I am just looking in the wrong spot??)
    Thank you!

    • Jessica J June 9, 2011 at 2:20 am

      Hi Kristin I was wondering if you ever got the information you were looking for because I had the same questions you did if you did get the information can you pass it on to me PLZ

      • jenn s. June 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm

        Hi Jessica –
        The stationery elements are actually {finally} set to be available at PolkaDotDesign.com this week. I’m not sure of the exact day – but they do have the files, and I’ll update this post once they’re up. Thanks for your patience! Jenn

    • Erin D. January 25, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Do you ladies know where I can find similar patterns? I am looking for paper for a similar bridal shower. I can’t find it anywhere! I even tried to polkadotdesign.com that Jenn provided above. Thanks!

  33. candycandycandy April 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

    I noticed above how pretty the jars with the rock candy are. I’m in the process of planning a wedding shower and we made favors with pink rock candy in old jars and they came out really nice. This site is where we got it, and they have cheap rock candy (on sticks if you’re looking for lollipops), and they have a ton of different colors.


  34. Temple August 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I loved your ideas. I am giving a bridal shower soon and wondered what size the parasols were on the tables…. 20 or 28 inches?

  35. Temple August 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Great ideas… what size parasols did you use on the tables?

  36. Temple August 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    What about your printables …. did you print yourself or order? I purchased the frames this past weekend and want to print the bride and grooms name on the back.

  37. Kelly April 26, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Wow! What an amazing party. I love the white and yellow stripes and tandem bike. You’ve inspired me to make my best friends invitations in this theme:)

  38. suzanne May 12, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Where can I find the recipe for the red and white sangrias? Thanks!

  39. Mary Margaret May 22, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    All of your decor is gorgeous! Where did you find the paper parasols that you used in the centerpieces?


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