My sister is a big fan of the AMC televsion show Mad Men, so when it came time to throw her bridal shower, I felt the theme was appropriate. Mind you, my sister is a whiskey-drinking anti-housewife, who despite her amazing skills in the kitchen, is far from the 1950s homemaker. Also not one for frilly parties where she is the center of attention, my sister appreciated that her shower also doubled as the quintessential ironic bridal shower, for a lovely modern bride.
I know you’re thinking that it seems like an odd theme for a bridal shower. Mad Men is such a masculine show; it even has the word “men” in the title. Mad Men doesn’t inherently scream “Here comes the Bride,” but I guess that’s why we chose it. We could revel in the retro elements that we love: the clothes, the food, the decor, while laughing at the tongue-in-cheek references to the ‘soon-to-be housewife.’ Our party was so fun, I thought I’d share some ways for you to recreate it.
Or go ‘New Yorker chic’ and encourage your guests to dress the part! If it’s a lingerie party, have your guests bring some ‘intimate apparel’ or ‘knickers,’ if you’re showering the bride with household goods have them bring ‘durable goods’ or ‘enameled ware’ for the soon-to-be housewife.
We carried the theme into the food with popular bites from the era. We served pigs in a blanket, chicken salad on celery sticks, meatballs, shrimp cocktail, Waldorf Salad, pineapple upside-down cake, and lemon bundt cake.
For the cocktails, I wanted something that could be DIY, so we wouldn’t need a bartender, AKA myself, slinging drinks for everyone all afternoon. It was also a day party, and since not all of my sister’s friends drink whiskey like Don Draper, we opted for cocktails with a lower alcohol content so that everyone could drink like the ladies who lunch. A Champagne bar fit that bill. We stocked it with the usual suspects: juice mixers of orange juice and peach, along with a few surprises like guava juice, and a do-it-yourself French 75, premixed for ease. For the teetotalers, we had a non-alcoholic sparkling peach punch.
What better way to preserve your memories at a party than a photo booth? We put together a self-serve photo booth where the guests could take their own picture and the resulting snapshot would be shown in a slideshow throughout the party, thereby encouraging guests to join in the photo booth fun.
I usually detest silly games at showers. I’m not sure why I’m such a killjoy. I think I was just wired differently than everyone else. Yet lo and behold, despite my personal aversion to toilet paper dresses and bridal Pictionary, I found the perfect game for a Mad Men Bridal Shower, even if only the bride gets to play. This is a game of 20 Questions. Similar to the Newlywed Game, it is an entertaining way for your guests to see how well the soon-to-be bride and groom know one another. It’s also a great way for the groom to ‘be at the party’ if it is not a co-ed event.
We asked the groom to answer a series of questions about both himself and the bride. During the party, we played the results of that line of questioning for the soon-to-be bride. After each question was revealed, the video was paused so that the bride could issue a response. Once we knew her answer, we listed to the groom reveal his answer.
We were able to take the traditional game to a whole new level, thanks to Blue Apples Media, who put the groom in different Mad Men locations for each question. You can make your own video with just black space in between the questions which will make it easy for you to pause to ask the bride the question, before you hear the groom’s response.
In line with the tongue-in-cheek references to Mad Men Era nostalgia, the favors were also in theme, featuring mini (chocolate) booze bottles,, Advil, matches, and (candy) cigarettes, packaged in amazing retro favor boxes.
I put my sister’s face on a 1950s housewife graphic with the caption “Soon to Be Housewife” which were used as labels for the matches. On the opposite side of the matchbook was another housewife responding, “Yeah Right!” to complete the picture.
After a party, naturally correspondence is in order. Send a lovely thank you to your guests with this adorable card.
Are you a fan of Mad Men? Will you be throwing a party for the Season Premiere?