Rustic Glam Baby Shower in 8 Steps

What do you get when you cross a low maintenance pregnant couple, autumnal decorations, and a slew of talented friends? A Rustic Glam Baby Shower, that’s what. You probably know by now that Marthable’s very own Susan Howson has – in addition to her usual array of actual baked goods – the other kind of bun in the oven. Check it out!

How cute is this? Is she even pregnant?

Earlier this month, we threw a shower for Susan and her baby daddy Cam. Here’s how it went, in eight easy steps.

Step #1: Conception. Success! Good job, guys.

Step #2: Location/Date. Val and Ross offered up their lovely northside home, and we decided to hold the shower during month 8 so that a.) Susan and Cam would have plenty of time to figure out what in the heck they needed, b.) the party committee would have plenty of time to plan, and c.) Susan would be super pregnant, making for cuter pics. We all know, however, that the true host was JR.

"We are hosting this thing!"

Step #3: Recruit. At a noisy bar one night back in July, Amanda, Anne and Kate enthusiastically agreed to help out, although no one could hear anyone else, so for all they knew they were signing up to go to Kings Dominion the next day. Fortunately, when approached again in the harsh light of day, they were still game. Victoria and Lauren also offered their services.

Step #3b: Delegate. Amanda headed up the Food Committee (as well as did a million other things), and Emily and Chris agreed to provide a backdrop and props for our DIY photo booth, as well as extra photography of the party. (In full disclosure, I recruited Emily and Chris just two weeks ahead of time, for which they are probably still cursing my name. Thanks again, LaCroixes!) Decorations and favors were my job, with critical support from Team Roanoke, which spent an afternoon at my house painting pumpkins and shoveling spices into cheesecloth.

"I am out of my comfort zone but still manage to look adorable!"

"I am in my comfort zone and also look adorable!"

Step #4: Theme (or not). Given that this was to be a co-ed shower and that Susan is not a pastel colored/themed shower kind of girl, we decided to capitalize on the season and throw a Rustic Glam shower. This basically means take the pumpkins, pine cones, and gourds that you already have this time of year, spray paint them gold, cover them in glitter, and place them all around the party. if you happen to have some deer antlers and a bunch of feathers on hand, throw those in too. We weren’t entirely sure how it would all look, but it turns out that fall decorations are a perfect glam canvas and nicely complimented Cam and Susan’s vision of a family-friendly party with lots of delicious homemade food and autumnal drinks.

Val and Ross's mantel already sported some sweet brass candlesticks, seasonal gourds, and a great wreath. We added the gold pumpkins, which spelled B-A-B-Y in glitter, some mini pumpkins dunked in glitter, feathers and fall foliage, and a gold garland.

An embarrassing # of items in this centerpiece belong to me.

Glittered letters on a ribbon hung from the front door knocker. I've threatened to make Susan wear this across her chest while giving birth.

Step #5: Favors. This was a difficult one. We were expecting 40+ people, and decent favors aren’t cheap. One hundred Etsy searches later, I had almost given up hope until I stumbled upon this other rustic glam baby shower, which a.) made me feel highly inadequate, and b.) inspired this idea: because we planned to serve mulled cider at the shower, wouldn’t our guests like some mulling spices of their very own?  And a new mug from which to drink cider? I wasn’t sure, but I was intent on ripping off at least one idea from this girl.

And so, I bought mugs from the dollar store, mixed up some nutmeg, orange peel, and cloves, and wrapped a tablespoon of the mix in cheesecloth tied with kitchen twine  (way cheaper than individual bags). Each mug got a spice sachet and a cinnamon stick, then was wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbons, feathers, and a piece of card stock instructing each guest to, well, “Mull.” Pro tip: For a co-ed, kid-friendly shower, only make enough favors for half of the guests. Parents with small children don’t necessarily want more stuff to carry.

I didn't include instructions in these. Hopefully everyone has figured out by now that you throw these spices into a crock pot or saucepan, pour store-bought apple cider over them, and warm on low heat.

Step #6: Food. Amanda came up with a delicious menu that included deviled eggs, polenta bites, crostini, finger sandwiches (watercress, salmon, ham), fresh fruit, crudite, madeleines, macaroons, and lemon bars. Not surprisingly, the Food Committee knocked this out of the park.

The "tablecloth" is a remnant from U-Fab.

We used our own plates and some Val found secondhand. Glassware also came from our own cabinets, and none of the food required utensils, so this party generated very little trash.

Step #7: Activity. Chris and Emily tacked up a remnant, laid out some fun props, left out a camera on a chair, and bam: DIY PHOTO BOOTH! Kids and adults alike love this, and it’s less intrusive and time intensive than baby shower games. We also set out a book for Baby Messages, which continues to circulate among showers and family gatherings and says god knows what.

Step #8: Shower! Arrive early, decorate, play with the hosts’ adorable child (and ask him nicely if he’ll share his toys with the 10 kids that will descend upon his house later), try not to spill glitter all over their house, warm the cider, assemble last minute snacks, glitter last minute pumpkins, construct photo booth, and put a paper and pen near the gifts for note taking (NOT in your purse way up in the coat room). Then pour yourself a mug of cider, add a drop or two of bourbon, sit back, and enjoy the party.

Congrats, Susan and Cam!



  1. Kelly · November 21, 2011

    I was actually wondering what to do with the spices. Noted & appreciated!

  2. Lesley · November 21, 2011

    Oops. Sorry. Note for next time. I forget that we are the only people that grew up with a mother who mulled cider from November through March.

    Also, I’m bummed that that the photo booth pic of you and Hazel turned out blurry. One drawback of DIY, I guess. Also noted!

  3. Ruth · January 10, 2012

    Oh my God! Congratulations Susan! I too just had a baby. Mark and I’s second. We named him Anthony Sasso Stewart. Love the pictures! 2012 is going to be a blessed year! Family first!

    Hope you had a wonderful holiday season Leslie and Susan, sure does appear so, thanks to Susan’s little blessing, Keep mulling the cider!

    – Ruthie

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