We gathered in the courtyard for delicious nibbles: devilled eggs, sausage & sweet potato skewers with lemon aioli, savory palmiers, various olives, pickled okra stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in prosciutto....
.... and did I mention macarons?!
My sweet and talented sister Laura made the macarons and displayed them on these gorgeous vintage cakestands that she bought for me as a wedding gift! I loved them so much and used them during our wedding to hold the cake. (Visit this post of Laura's to see the plates and find out where she found them.)
The first batch of gals went inside to start getting their services done. I just kept chatting, drinking my champagne with a splash of blood orange juice (YUM), and munching on macarons!
Then soon it was time for me to get my nails done, and I tried OPI's Axxium gel system for the first time. I got a traditional French manicure using Bubble Bath as the base. It looked so bridal!
It's been a week and a half since I had this done, and I'm so pleased with the results. During our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic, I was in the water daily (pool and ocean), and even after taking a beating from sand, sunscreen, and all of that water, my nails still look great. This past Sunday (about 10 days after the initial application) I was a little bothered by the fact that it was slightly peeling up around the edges, but I topped off all nails with my Sally Hansen topcoat and they look great again now. The manicure was $45 (there was a $10 upcharge for the French manicure) and I'll definitely be a repeat customer ... at least for special occasions and long beach trips.
My nails were dry immediately so we went back outside for a little more chatting and some gifts. My very special flower girl Sidney (below) is Ian's niece. She and I spent some great time together and I gave her a silver bud vase to keep on her nightstand to place a flower in.
For my 8 bridesmaids, I had these gorgeous mercury glass trinket boxes from Anthropologie in two different shapes.
Inside each bridesmaids' box was a vintage handkerchief ... all different and picked for each gal's personality. During the wedding, the bridesmaids wrapped the hankies around the base of their hydrangea bouquets. I had a vintage hankie of my grandmother's wrapped around the base of my bouquet. Can't wait to show you pictures!
I gave the hostesses of the shower a year subscription to Cook's Illustrated, a wonderful test-kitchen magazine that they are going to simply devour.
Our mothers opened gifts next, and I gave them each a framed photograph. Mom got a bridal portrait and Ian's mom got our favorite engagement picture from our very talented photographer, Ashley Brokop. (Go ahead and start stalking her site and blog ... you will fall in love with her photography style!)
Don't our moms look like they could be sisters?! They have built up a marvelous friendship, which Ian and I think is really special.
Okay, last picture here. Thanks for staying with me. I've saved a good one for last!
We noticed during our manicures that two bodyguard/secret-servicemen type gentlemen were patiently waiting for someone at the spa. We finally caught buzz that the South Carolina governor (our first female governor!) Nikki Haley was having some treatments done. Well, my pretty bridesmaids easily sweet-talked these gentlemen into asking Governor Haley to take a picture with me and my sisters. She wished me luck and best wishes for my wedding day, and it was wonderful meeting her.
I know it was a long recap, but didn't I have the prettiest bridal luncheon?! Many thanks to my Mom and Aunt Karen for hosting it and to Laura for the cakestands and amazing macarons. For Laura's recap of the day, including her infamous macaron recipes, visit her blog. Also get excited about a post on a very special present from my sister Sarah (above, far right) that she presented me at the luncheon.
More fun weekend details coming soon!