rustic barn bridal shower

My good friend and former roommate, Karissa, taught me everything I know about hosting. She has a heart of gold, a knack for all things Pinterest perfect, and a desire to bless others with her gifts of hospitality.

Karissa hosted my bridal shower with the help of my good friend, Alex, and what resulted was this: a Pinterest-perfect rustic barn bridal shower of my dreams {that I never thought to even dream!}

It’s been almost two years since this most special of days, surrounded by family and sweet friends, celebrating what God had did and was about to do in my life — gifted me with the most wonderful, godly man with “green eyes and a heart of gold” as I like to say, and He was about to gift us with the most precious, mysterious gift of marriage.

The food was absolutely delicious, but I’ll admit — my favorite was the decor. And set it in a barn? Well, you can’t simply throw that together from a Pinterest board.

Karissa’s sweet and generous parents allowed her to use their barn in Hidden Valley in Thousand Oaks, California for the day.

From the floral arrangements to the signage, Karissa kept with a rustic theme. I especially love her creative window decor of romantic flowers hanging wistfully along fishing line.

There were a few activities and games for the guests. These “Best Date Idea” cards were fun for Clay and I to read once we got settled in as a married couple. Some of them made us laugh. Some were sweet. Some were downright creative ideas!

Karissa’s card actually stands out in my mind among the rest — “drinks, dinner and dessert at three different restaurants.” We have yet to try it, but our anniversary is coming up on Monday, so I have a feeling I’ll be nudging Clay in the idea department here!

This “How Old Were They” game was super fun. Sweet Alex asked Clay and me for some childhood photos ranging from birth to adolescence. She had these adorable cards printed, mounted the photos onto colored paper, and then the guests {including myself!} went around and wrote down our best guess as to how old Clay and I were in each one!

Karissa made this backdrop herself — of course — in true “Martha” fashion. I’m not certain but I imagine she went out onto her parents’ property and gathered this beautiful branch herself.

Oh, girl, what I would do to have your party-planning/hostess-with-the-mostess skills! I’m learning, but I’ve got a ways to go!

The dessert bar was absolutely delicious. You bet I dove into those chocolate cupcakes {the gluten free chocolate ones are so dense and decadent. I can’t even…}

And each guest was given a cute baby succulent as a party favor. Of course, from the cutest little red wagon ever.

My gracious, generous, Jesus-loving hostesses.

Karissa and Alex, I can’t thank you two enough for all the work you put into this beautiful barn bridal shower. It’s been almost two years and I’ve been to my fair share of bridal {and baby!} showers in the meantime, and I must say none have compared to this absolutely Pinterest-perfect one you threw for me.

Thank you. With all my heart. It’s friends like you who remind me that Jesus is alive and present, living and active… in the very hearts of those like you.

. . .

It was such a treat to celebrate Clay’s and my upcoming wedding in this most gorgeous setting, lavished with gifts from friends and family. But the truest and greatest gift has been actual marriage — this long-awaited season of life for which my heart longed for so many long years of singleness.

To all you longing-to-be-brides-to-be, being a bride is incredibly fun and dreamy, but marriage is quite the commitment, not for the faint of heart, and a lifetime of “for better or worse.”

My encouragement and deepest prayer for each of you is that you wait — that you “be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” {Psalm 27:14} to deliver you a man who loves Jesus more than you, who will fight for your physical and emotional purity leading up to marriage, and who will lead you as a strong, fierce, God-fearing warrior in your home and in this world.

And when He does bring your prince along? Well, I hope you have spent your years of singleness well — diving into deep, Jesus-binding friendships with girls who will shower you like these dear friends of mine have.

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