I really wanted to establish the theme from the get-go, and luckily, I have a dear friend who just happens to be a genius designer. You can check her out at !
Since I had already asked my friend to alter the Real Housewives of Orange County logo to become “The Real Housewife of Ontario County,” I used the same design to create envelope seals through Vistaprint with awesome discounts from RetailMeNot.
We chose the second floor of an adorable ice cream parlor that overlooks the lake for a homey and contemporary feel. For subtle Housewives décor, my computer savvy cousin created some one-of-a-kind tabletop images of my sister’s face in Real Housewives scenes using the FaceInHole website. Luckily, my sister had a plethora of expressive Facebook pictures to choose from. Here she is as Teresa right before her infamous table flip:
Of course, no Housewives themed party would be complete without some hot Housewives singles! I found and downloaded the following:
“Revelation” by Gretchen (OC)
“On Display” by Melissa (NJ)
“I’m Real” by Simon (NY)
“Close to You” by Danielle (NJ)
“Can’t Control” by Jo (OC)
“Tardy for the Party” by Kim (ATL)
“Money Can’t Buy You Class” and “Chic C’est la Vie” by Countess Luann (NY).
I quietly had this playlist on a loop in the background, so that only the most dedicated Housewives fans noticed—and loved!—it.
The managers of the ice cream parlor were phenomenal. They let us bring in our own snacks and drinks as long as we purchased our entrees from them. Where did we get ideas for snacks? Bethenny Frankel’s website!!! Unfortunately, the website seems to have become less easily searchable, but I can vouch for her sangria and Mock-A-Mole (guacamole)!
Since I had just taken a Wilton cake decorating class at Michael’s (which I highly recommend), I made cupcakes. Again, thanks to my cousin’s techno-handiwork, we put together these Housewives cupcake picks. The Milania cupcakes are my favorite. Sweet and sour at the same time.
You can't throw a shower without some sort of game, right? I wanted to make it accessible to those who didn’t watch the show and exciting for those who did, so we developed a series of multiple choice questions about the series and handed each guest a question to ask my sister, thus putting her in the hot seat instead of them. Here are some of the questions we used:
What did Teresa famously call Danielle while screaming at her?
Which housewife has Slade NOT dated?Gretchen
What did Bethenny name her daughter?Beatrice
If she got a certain number of questions correct, she would win the grand prize—an autographed bottle of Ramona Pinot Grigio! How did I come across the autograph, you wonder? Well, I just happen to have an amazing friend who got it for me at an official signing in NYC!
We also played a more traditional shower game with questions about my sister’s life—a stylized version of True or False—and the game winner received a bottle of Skinnygirl Margarita.
For one of my gifts, I couldn’t resist doing a play on the Bravo logo! I found the logo on Bravo’s website, altered the lettering from "BRAVO" to my sister's future last name, reversed the image in Photoshop, printed it out on T-shirt transfer paper from Staples, and ironed it on to a cute sweatshirt that I picked up at Target. That way, she had something to wear while getting her hair and makeup done on her wedding day. It came out great!
(It's actually easier than I just made it sound. I promise.)
Some other guests really got into the Housewives spirit, giving my sister themed baskets, like this Italian/cooking/Teresa Guidice basket that included her cookbook.
If you've ever thrown any kind of party, you know that every little thing tends to add up to more than you probably want to spend. And although the Housewives have money to burn, I certainly do not. The bridesmaids and I were definitely working within a strict budget, and I learned that if you're willing to put in some time and imagination, you can create a shower that is affordable, personal, and unique!
P.S. Hire me, Andy Cohen! ;)