Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Cajun Asian Celebration

I have hosted/helped host more showers than I can showers, baby showers, lingerie showers...done them all (like this one and this one that I actually managed to get blogged).  It all started when I was 16 and my sister got married...and since, it's just something I have really grown to enjoy.  It's a lot of work and a lot of money, but the actual day usually makes it all worth it.  I love creating a special day for someone I love, specially designed and planned with their needs and likes in mind.  Makes my heart smile :)

Hunter and I had a couples' shower thrown for us when we got married, and we helped host one for his middle brother, Blaine, when he and his wife got married.  So of course, now that the baby bro is betrothed, that led me to the shower game once again.  

Since BA has also become a transplant as we have and has also begun to realize just how much you can miss Louisiana, I really wanted to make that culture a big part of the shower.  I was thinking "Louisiana Saturday Night".  However, since his bride is Asian, she asked if I could incorporate some of their culture in as well.  I had no idea how that was going to come together, but I knew we could make it work.  

That led me to "A Cajun Asian Celebration!"

(by the way, this post will be long and have quite a few pictures...there's your disclaimer)

So here's what we did:

Small table at the entry--just a few pictures of the couple, some beads, and some decorations for each culture.  The little chalkboard was a Hobby Lobby find and I fell in love with it!
Finding the invitations was one of the trickiest parts.  There isn't a whole lot out there for "Cajun Asian"...  I don't even remember what I searched for to find these, but I love them.  
To add a little extra pizazz, I did one of my favorite things and embossed the envelopes.  Some of the got Fleur de Lis and some of them got lattice.

 I found them here.
I had two tables pushed together in a pair, and then had six of those--so 12 tables total.  Each pair had a Cajun table and an Asian table.  For the Cajun tables, I ordered some red and white checkered fabric online and cut it into squares to bunch up.  I put a crawfish tray on that with Mardi Gras beads, Tony Chachere's, Tabasco, Louisiana Hot Sauce, a roll of paper towels, and a painted chip board fleur de lis (from Hobby Lobby).  Each Asian table had a black table cloth and an Asian detailed runner that was bunched up.  On that, I put a Chinese hat, some small lanterns (Hobby Lobby), little parasol toothpicks (that I think are actually for a luau party, but whatever, they worked...), some fortune cookies (Amazon), and a paper fan with Chinese writing (Oriental Trading).

I lucked out big time in that Hunter's stepmom's sister (figure that one out real quick...) is an event planner.  And luckily, she had thrown an Asian party at some point and actually had a lot of the decor left!  Score--because I had nothing, nada, zip in that department.  Most of the Cajun/Louisiana decorations came from my house (my walls and shelves were pretty bare that week...)

My sister in law headed this up for the most part.  Our biggest struggle was that both cultures tend to center their food around rice...  I think we ended up with a good variety that fit everything well.  She made some fried rice and sesame chicken to satisfy the Asian side; I made crawfish etoufee that we served with pistolette rolls to satisfy the Cajun side; and the boys' aunt made some good ole southern green beans with bacon and potatoes because those are always good to have.  
We also had some chips/crackers with dips as well as a few fruit trays.  Drinks were just cokes (what you Yankees refer to as "soft drinks" or "cold drinks", "Soda, or "pop"--we down here, just call them all cokes!) and sweet tea.  Simple and satisfying.
I also ordered some chopsticks from Oriental Trading for those who really wanted to soak in the Asian flair :)  The red dinner plates came from Hobby Lobby and I ordered the fleur de lis dessert plates on Amazon.  Silverware was the good old plastic Walmart type.  

I found these at Hobby Lobby and thought they were too fun!  Plus they were thick plastic, so the would actually last.  The chopsticks up there are the ones I ordered from Oriental trading.

I made some sugar cookies with Asian, Cajun, and wedding designs.  Asian: two forms of lanterns and a circle with the word "love" written in Chinese; Cajun: fleur de lis, alligator, Louisiana, crawfish; Wedding: letter N (their last initial) and engagement ring.  I was drowning in cookies by the time I was done, but they just turn out so pretty that I want to make them for everything!

Let me pause a second and tell you about the cake.


Look at that thing.  Holy. Moly.  BA is really good friends with the family who own Pronia's Deli in Lake Charles (their daughter/designer's husband is the Best Man).  They are super sweet people whom we all love--and their cakes (and everything else they make) are INCREDIBLE!  They are beautiful, they are delicious...incredible.  I asked Jileen if she would be wdilling to make a few cupcakes or a small cake for the shower (really thinking something simple, but knowing how good they taste!).  She was excited to help and sent back a sketch of this beauty.  My mouth literally dropped open.  WOW.  It's all I can say!  The bottom tier was red velvet and the top tier was white chocolate raspberry.  It was so hard to cut into it, but people had no problem chowing down :)

This was tricky because we were going to have such a mixed audience.  Plus who really likes going to showers and playing the typical, cheesy games?  I know I don't particularly care for them.  And since it was a couples' shower, we had the men to factor in too.
We played two simple ones that we had also done at Blaine and Lindsey's shower and it was so much fun!  

Game 1:  The groom gets blindfolded and seated at the front of the room (BA is almost 7 feet tall so seating was a must...if he's of normal height, he can stand...really up to you).  All of the ladies line up (after he is blindfolded so he doesn't see the order).  They each go up and give him a kiss on the cheek.  As they do, an emcee of sorts will announce their number (the ladies need to remember their own number!).  The groom has to guess which kiss came from his bride--cute, easy, and fun!

BA chose me as the right kiss :)  In his defense, he has gotten several kisses on the cheek from me and the ones from Nicole are on the lips...  Plus he tried to cheat and smelled each girl--my perfume smelled like hers and she wasn't wearing any :P  Serves him right for cheating!
Game 2:  The bride gets a turn with the blindfold.  All of the men sit in a circle and raise a pant leg, haha!  She gets guided around my someone and rubs each man's leg (again, while the emcee assigns and announces each man's number).  She has to guess which furry leg belongs to her groom--hilarious and so easy!

Nicole rubbing up on the fella's legs--SO funny!  Her comments were the best part (she doesn't hold much back, haha)!  She actually picked BA as the right leg :)  Which, he does have super skinny legs and half of the guys were wearing boots that she accidentally felt so that ruled all of them out... But, she guessed right fair and square.
Game 3:  I wanted to do something different this time too, so we played the "Nearlywed Game" (more accurately known as the Newlywed Game).  We of course had BA and Nicole play as our nearly weds and the boys' grandparents had been married the longest (at 57 years!)--what was really funny is that their other set of grandparents ended up being our volunteers for our 10-30 year couple :)  

Middle of the Roaders
I had printed up a list of 12 questions, six geared to each gender.  They each had a spiral notebook and a marker to write their answer on--that way it was big enough to hold up and everyone else could see.  Blaine, the middle brother, was our emcee for the night--he was perfect!  You need someone quick witted and energetic who can ad lib some jokes in with their funny.  It started off a little bland with the grandparents, but a few questions in, they had loosened up and the whole room was laughing!  So much fun!  

I had gotten a gift card and a bag of candy as the prize for each game winner.  Again, being a couples' shower, it had to be gender neutral and something everyone would enjoy (the smaller games got an iTunes card and the nearlywed game got a little bigger gift card to a restaurant since it was for the couple).

Lindsey also made a slideshow of pictures of BA and Nicole growing up and their relationship.  That was a fun addition for our guests during dinner!  I had also planned and set up a "photo booth"--I had ordered some dry erase word bubbles for people to write their advice, tips, and well-wishes on and to hold in the pictures...but we never got around to it :/  (my sister will probably hate me for this because she spent a good amount of time hanging the streamers as this backdrop!)

Most of the Bridesmaids

So there you have it, folks!  A Cajun Asian Celebration, all wrapped up in one post.  We had a great time and it all came together much better than I expected it to.  

The couple and the hostesses

love, angie

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