How to Host a Gender Reveal Party

I am primarily a wedding designer and planner but it finally came time to throw a special event just for me. Recently my husband and I found out that we were expecting our first baby in April and as a born planner, I just had to know the baby’s gender to be able to plan the nursery, the name, the registry and of course the baby shower. We took a blood test at 10 weeks pregnant, picked up the envelope at 12 weeks and then waited 3 more weeks with that envelope burning a whole in our drawer to find out the sex. I love (most) surprises and knew that I wanted to throw a party to reveal the secret with our family. Special thanks to Jessa at Love & Light Photographs for these photos we will cherish. Below are my tips for hosting a fun and memorable gender reveal party:

  1. Pick a theme. A theme does not have to be over the top or in your face. In my case, I chose citrus (specifically lemons) as my theme. If you know anything about pregnancy, you know that the size is often referred to in terms of fruits and vegetables so I used that as my jumping off point. Our invites read “Pink or Blue, We can’t wait to Squeeze You” and featured citrus illustrations by Rifle Paper Co., we offered Elderflower Lemonade as part of our signature cocktail, incorporate lemons into our centerpieces and menu. I love how gender neutral and cheerful the color yellow is!View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetailView More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail
  2. Set the table. When gathering your closest family and friends around the table, it is important to create a warm, inviting environment that will encourage guests to create memories, stay a while and have lots of laughs. I love assigning seating even for small dinner parties to take the guess work out of where your guests should sit and keep the conversation going. Plus lots of candles of course! View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail
  3. Stock the bar. Along with the usual spirits, I love signature drinks that compliment the theme. We named our signature cocktail, “Respect Your Elders”, which mixed vodka, elderflower lemonade, cranberry juice and garnished with lemon and cranberries for a festive and refreshing drink or, in my case, make it a virgin by excluding the vodka. View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetailView More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail
  4. Involve your guests. We decided it would be fun to have our guests guess the gender before the actual reveal. People love bragging rights when they were able to guess correctly. We had our guests write their name on a lemon that either said “boy” or “girl” and pin it to the board. Overwhelmingly, we thought girl. I believe only two guessed boy and they were right! What a surprise!View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail
  5. Make the reveal interactive. We have all seen variations of the gender reveal involving popping a balloon, balloons out of the box, cutting the cake and the list goes on and on! All are so fun and I love nothing more than watching the reaction of the expecting parents. Lucas and I wanted to do something that would draw out the reveal a little longer. He came up with the genius twist on the cake idea. We asked Gina at The Vintage Cake to bake us some lemon cupcakes but inside just ONE of the cupcakes would include either pink or blue frosting. The best part of this experience was the suspense! Each guest had a cupcake and we started with the soon-to-be grandparents as each person bit into their cupcake until we finally found the cupcake with the color blue! I think we went through five people until we finally found it! We laughed, we cried, we shouted “I am so shocked” and yelled “congratulations!”. It was such a special moment that I have watched the video on my phone a million times already. It was truly a surprise that we will never forget!View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetail View More: http://loveandlight.pass.us/gildedlilyanddovetailA very special thank you to my friendors that helped me bring this vision to life!

Photograhy// Love & Light Photographs// Calligraphy and invitation design // Mary Kate Moon// Flatware and Plate Rentals// The Tabletop Company// Cupcakes// The Vintage Cake// table and chair rentals// Dovetail Vintage Rentals

A September wedding at the Water Witch Club in Monmouth Hills, NJ

I have said it before and I will say it again that the Water Witch Club is one of our favorite venues in Monmouth County. I sang its praises here after one of our favorite May weddings was published in The Knot New Jersey. I am a fan of a “blank slate” venue and a cozy, warm atmosphere that you can make your own and make your guests feel at home. We were so glad that Alexander Johnnides for Pat Furey Photography was there to capture it all!

Each time I design a wedding at the Water Witch Club, I want to make it unique and reflect the couple’s personality. I was so excited when I got to know Erin because I immediately knew that she was super stylish and was open to take a risk by adding a pop of color. When I found out that Erin has a style blog called Currently Coveting, I immediately envisioned her inspiration board as a bold statement necklace with a little hint of preppy and a good dose of whimsy. Just look at how cute Erin is in her personalized button-down shirt that she made herself and for her bridesmaids- each shirt was different and their patches represented each girl’s personality. I knew this was going to be a good one from then on!

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Every wedding’s tone is set by the paper goods. Erin, Mike and I worked with Jillian at Bella Carta Boutique to create a classic Save the Date and invitation suite that included touches of rose gold foil, navy and the perfect Rifle Paper Co. envelope liner. Thank you to Mary Kate Moon for adorning our invites with her hand lettering!

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Erin and Mike started their day off with a sweet first look. I am a fan of first looks (more about this here) and not just because it makes my timeline loving heart happy but it truly is such a special moment between you and your future husband or wife. I love to see the reactions on their faces!

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Erin and Mike’s September day was what weather dreams are made of! We couldn’t have picked a more gorgeous day if we tried. Here are some sweet pictures of their portrait session and bridal party photos! You can tell they are loved by the size of this wedding party and I love the pop of berry pink that Wallflowers incorporated in Erin’s bouquet. How about her dress?!

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When I first talked to Erin, she mentioned their pets, Alba and Ella, and you could tell how much they loved them. I wanted to pay homage to them so we chose to with a sweet signature drink sign in their honor. Mary Kate Moon watercolored their likeness and it was a huge hit! Even the little signage holders were a nod to their loveable pets. Don’t forget to check out that amazing paper flower frame from Table Setting is My Life. They completely brought my vision to life!

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For their reception, we used a mix of round tables with gorgeous sheer swiss dot tablecloths from Gala Cloths and farm tables from Dovetail Vintage Rentals with crossback chairs to complete the look.  Simple white, blush and berry centerpieces and eucalyptus runners created by Wallflowers with rose calligraphy table numbers from Mary Kate Moon.  One of my favorite details were the oversized greenery wreaths hanging from the ceiling with bistro lighting. It was such a special touch!

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I am such a sucker for a lounge area incorporated into your cocktail hour or reception. This one is one of my favorites because of the pops of hot pink. It is just so inviting for your guests to take a load off and bring the inside out.  Thank you to Dovetail Vintage Rentals!

erinandmike_0036 erinandmike_0037Last but not least- the cake was a showstopper! It mimics the swiss dot on the linens and I love the rose gold band. This cake is definitely one of my favorites and The Vintage Cake always makes gorgeous and delicious cakes!

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It takes a village to bring each wedding together and I always feel lucky to work with some amazing professionals. Please take a moment to show them some love! Congrats to Erin and Mike! I hope your enjoying married life! xo