A modern old-fashioned bridal shower just south of Berlin

A modern old-fashioned bridal shower just south of Berlin

When I was a girl, I dreamed of a white dress, lacey and fitted, a bit of pouf, and a veil for strong hands to lift and see my face as we said I do. I’m not given to flights of fancy, but this was what I wanted and what came true.

Three decades later it’s time to see what our eldest dreams of, planning and preparing to say I do with the man of her dreams.

Ideas on weddings and showers and how and when and where to hold them have changed over the years. My shower was held in my sister’s house, and after cake and fruit, I opened gifts while we sat in a circle.

The bows from the gifts were placed on a paper plate forming a makeshift bridal bouquet, and it was everything I wanted. We had a simple wedding, standing under a trellis Dad made us wrapped in wisteria, and as he pulled back my veil, I could see forever. Cue the cheese factor and flights of fancy.

Last weekend my daughter and two of her best friends who will be bridesmaids in her upcoming November wedding (we missed you Selena) flew into Ohio for the bridal shower I was giving her.

Her nuptials will take place in Miami, Florida, and I wanted to be able to do something old-fashioned for her here at home. When I asked if I could give her a shower here with family and friends, she agreed. And then the planning part of my brain went into overdrive.

We live in a small house, and I didn’t want to risk the chance of rain and overcrowding, so I racked my brain thinking of places we could hold it. I wanted something totally different, so I searched Airbnb and was floored at the selection of places that popped up in our area.

I found the perfect house just south of Berlin — spacious layout, beautiful acreage with a small pond — and I snapped it up. After I found the venue, I could focus on the shower itself.

Esabelle chose a vegan lifestyle nearly two years ago, and in support of that, I wanted to give her a shower that was completely vegan. I admit it was hard for me at first, searching out foods and sourcing people that could help me make my menu choices happen. Once I jumped the hurdle in my own mind, it all fell into place.

My menu consisted of veggie spring rolls with sriracha and peanut sauce for dipping; chickpea shawarma dip with an amazing homemade hummus served with tortilla chips and a veggie platter; bruschetta made with mouth-watering local tomatoes and basil and served on top of delicious homemade vegan toasted bread; a pickled olive, baby dill, bread and butter, and pickle and carrot platter; and a beautiful kale quinoa salad.

The cherry on top was a cake and cupcakes made by a bakery in Wooster: triple-layer vanilla with pink frosting and fruit arranged on top, the cupcakes in a rose design. Every bite of that cake was divine — all vegan — and Esabelle said it was the best cake she’s ever had.

Our drinks were pink lemonade and a sumptuous prosecco lemonade with blackberries and lemons.

That Sunday evening the weather was in the cool 70s, the skies were amazingly blue and we gathered in the small cabin by the pond for an old-fashioned, and yes a bit raucous, shower.

I made a Spotify playlist that was fun and full of oldies and even played the toilet paper wedding dress game — replete with a catwalk to admire the dresses.

We forewent some of the things I think people are pressured into doing at a shower: opening gifts in front of everyone, having a Pinterest-y wall to pose in front of. I opted for casual, allowing guests to chat and reconnect instead of a rigid agenda to adhere to.

I used to say, when planning birthday and graduation parties, that no one would remember the style of plate they ate off nor the cup they drank out of. What they remember is how they felt, the cool air of the evening and the warm conversation.

Afterward we sat around chatting after everyone had left, and she thanked me for everything. For the first time in 10 years since she left, she was able to appreciate the area she had chosen to leave, seeking out the adventurous life she wanted to live.

She snapped many pictures of the wooded, homey bliss that is Holmes County, reveling for a few days until returning to her home in the balmy south, where we’ll go in a few months to watch her and her betrothed wed. And I was content.

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