Oh Baby! The Very Beginning

There is a baby coming soon in our family!  My sister Natalie is expecting her first baby in just about 1 month and so it was time for the baby shower.  Truth be told, I started planning this baby shower...uhh... well, I think I started the day her and Michael got married.  I like to be prepared, sue me!

First let me say, I did not pull this off on my own.  This shower was a HUGE undertaking, from the planning to the execution, and it was a group effort:  myself, my sister Laura, my sister-in-law Chris, Natalie's mother-in-law Jill and Natalie's good friend Megan.  These gals helped every step along the way and to them I want to say a big THANK YOU.  There are others who played a large role in the details, more on them later on.  But you know who you are, so many thanks to you too!

There were a lot of pieces and parts to this shower so rather than flood this post with a kazillion pictures and links I will split it up into several different posts so keep your eyes peeled this week for the "rest of the story."

So today, I'm going to give you a little peek into how I go about planning a party.

STORYBOARDS

One of the best tips I can give you when in the planning phase of an event is to put together a storyboard of your ideas.  I knew from the beginning I wanted the shower to be Japanese themed because my brother-in-law is half Japanese and therefore my little nephew would be Japanese too.  Additionally, this shower was a joint-effort between his family and ours so celebrating their ethnic roots was important to me.  Now, when I am in the brainstorming phase of  a party I allow my brain to go a little crazy.  Some of the ideas are good ones, some of them are just weird.  But even a weird idea can morph into something brilliant if you allow it "simmer" for a bit.  That's where the storyboards come into play.

I started collecting little pictures of as many "Japanese" items I could find in stores, internet, you name it.  I also began noticing colors and color themes that were catching my eye.  Eventually,  I took the-best-of-the-best of these ideas and started organizing them into the storyboards you see here.  Not all of the ideas were realized at the shower, but they helped to keep me on track when I went shopping, was ordering things online, etc.  And since this party was actually given by 5 different women, I was easy to give each gal a copy of the storyboards and say, "OK, here's what it needs to look like, now run with it!"  And they did!

Looking back over the storyboards, now that the party is over, I am so pleased that we were able to incorporate so many of the ideas.  Some of them were literal translations.  For instance, those mochi ice cream balls you see above, we were able to have those for dessert instead of a big ugly sheet cake from the local discount grocery store with that funky blue frosting that you are never quite sure if it's made out of real food or not... yeah, you know what I'm talking about.  Other things were more of an "inspiration" for something we translated in our own way, like the main courses.  We had originally planned to serve teriyaki bowls and sushi but after meeting with the chef we were able to serve other Japanese inspired dishes that were more creative and entirely yummy.

So that's where it all started:  a Japanese themed party full of color and good food.  Can't wait to share more details with you!!

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