Pulling together a shower theme for the bride-to-be who adores camping and hiking almost as much as she adores her betrothed seems simple enough — and in many ways it is — but to make it special, choose decorations, foods and activities that intertwine the outdoors theme with the soon-to-be-married part. The location for an outdoor shower may be your backyard, a park or even a campground — if it is close enough for guests to stop by for the shower, even if they don’t want to pitch a tent.
Chic Campfire Foods
Gather around a wood fire for girl talk with wine, iced tea or lemonade in mason jar glasses, and cooking sticks and bowls of bite-size grillable foods. Take a cue from James Beard award-winning “Smoke: New Firewood Cooking,” by Houston chef Tim Byres: Slowly melt chunks of cheese on a stick over a wood fire — hickory adds a nice flavor — and catch drippings on pre-toasted bread. Paula Marcoux’s adaption in “Cooking With Fire,” suggests providing toppings such as sweet chutneys, fruit slices and sandwich fare such as sliced tomatoes, onions and olives. Or go for classic campfire food fun with kabobs — shrimp, teriyaki chicken, veggies and fruits are all good choices.
Campground Dessert Bar
Create an outdoorsy buffet of treats using rustic-style signposts — made of bark or faux bark and twigs — that coordinate with foods to reflect camping, hiking and marriage. For example, the “S’more Love” sign points to pails, each holding the camping classic’s ingredients. “Sleeping Bag Cuddle-Time” points to cozy bags made of cake: lay two figurines depicting the guest of honor and her honey on each slice and cover them up to the shoulders or so with frosting and finish with a piped icing plaid or hearts. Drape a food screen from above in a safari-tent style to protect food from bugs.
Decorate a cake with a picture of a place your guest of honor loves hiking or camping. Have a baker (or do it yourself if you are so inclined) print the picture on a dedicated icing printer for a photo cake or create the scene with frosting and pastry tubes of icing. If you enjoy sugar arts, use marzipan, gum paste or fondant to mold miniature additions for the cake, such as a couple with backpacks, a tent with two pairs of bare feet sticking out the door or a a tent with two pairs of hiking books set outside the flap.
Rustically Romantic Decorations
Create an abience that calls to the bride-to-be’s inner camper and hiker. Arrange wildflowers in glasses tucked into two pairs of hiking boots. Use lanterns or candles in prettily decorated mason jars as part of the centerpieces, set amid artfully arranged acorns, green pine needles, hearts woven of plants and figurines. For the latter, look to Disney figurines from romantic scenes in the woods — for example, Bambi and Thumper with their girlfriends, Prince Philip and Aurora from “Sleeping Beauty” or Pocahontus and John Smith. Pictures of the couple hiking can be printed with words such as “Happy Trails” and used in the decorations.
Romantic Music for an Outdoorsy Bride-to-Be
One of the most natural forms of entertainment for a camping- and hiking-themed party held outdoors requires a guitar and guitar player and some fun campfire songs. Or set up a flat-screen television at your outdoor venue — backyard, park, campground — any place with Wi-Fi will work, and create a playlist of romantic outdoor-themed videos, such as John Denver’s “A Song for All Lovers” a beautiful waltz honoring the love of two Alaskan conservationists, Olaus (1889-1963) and Margaret Murie (1902-2003). If the wedded-couple-to-be has any videos from their outdoor adventures, add these to the mix.
Create a camping/hiking variation of a scavenger hunt that focuses on rustic romance: Create clues that lead to items such as sexy but comfy lingerie, a fold-up camping love seat, heart-shaped molds for pancakes and eggs, a rose-tinted lantern, organizers and magnetic flashlight for the tent; and for after a long hike, a relaxing and fragrant essential oil blend. Offer some as prizes and give the others to the bride. Play charades, pantomiming building a campfire, erecting a tent, putting on mosquito repellent, sayings such as “happy camper” and titles such as “Backpacker Magazine.”