A Pandemic Baby Shower
I remember attending baby showers as a little girl. They were nothing like the Pinterest spectacle they’ve morphed into today. In the 90’s showers were ceremonious and sacred. Always on a Saturday and always in the most beautiful houses covered in honeysuckle. I see these houses every so often now, on walks with my husband, and wistfully say, “That’s a baby shower house.” At “vintage” showers, there were often balloons, usually games, and always quiche.
Last spring, when the world had gone into lockdown, one of my best friends announced that she was pregnant over a zoom call. Though my husband and I lived like shut-ins, forgoing holidays with family and celebrating anniversaries over takeout, I was determined to do one thing that year; throw my friend a baby shower in the middle of a global pandemic. It may seem frivolous, (reckless even,) but our top priority was safety. I’ve come out on the other side and I’m here to tell you that it’s possible. It’s challenging, but possible.
To our great luck, Jenni was very busy last year. Not only did she grow a human, but she closed on her first home, with a lush backyard; perfect for an outdoor gathering. The event was planned for October, which is a notoriously warm month in Los Angeles, and we limited the guest list to 10 people, mother-to-be included. My co-host Marcie, (who happens to be a network television producer) took over games, and coordination, while I tackled aesthetics and food. Truly a match made in Heaven.
I decided early on that in order to be safe, we’d have to swap out Jenni’s dream grazing table with a more socially distanced set up, so hear me out: Picnic chic. I started thrifting for picnic baskets right away, which would be filled with individual servings of brie, fruit, and crackers. Each basket had a cheese knife and each seat had a vintage metal tray to set dishes on. Every lady would have her own spot on a vintage rug 6 feet from each other. To make the vision come to life, I brought in rentals from Otis and Pearl in Ventura.
Cupcakes would be the seemingly obvious choice, but when Jenni showed me her dream confection, I just had to make mini versions too. Along with individual pavlovas.
For me, an event isn’t complete without flowers. I know so many talented floral designers and in hindsight, delegating to a professional would have been the logical thing to do but I’m not logical. I’m ambitious and obsessed with living out my dream of being a florist every time I host an event. So on Saturday morning I headed to the Original Los Angeles Flower Market and scooped up dahlias, anemones, garden roses, and lots of eucalyptus. I whipped up a fresh flower crown for Jenni and a few small arrangements for the tables. Jenni’s lush, backyard paradise did the rest.
I always tell Jenni that’s she’s a connector. If you don’t read Malcolm Gladwell, a connector is the person who knows everyone and puts them in touch with each other. She is the hub of our social circle. She has curated this dynamic group of incredible people, which speaks volumes for who she is. So even though it was heartbreaking to keep the guest list so small, the people who filled the backyard that afternoon, brought so much magic with them. Marcie decided we would read letters to the mother-to-be OUT LOUD, and perform a blessing ceremony. It was extremely emotional and intimate. Basically we had a big sob fest with cake, and presents, and face masks. Kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity.