Pulling off a surprise party is no easy feat – especially, when it comes to rigging surprises for a “highly likely to have a hormonal break down” pregnant woman- let’s just throw that out there now! So when throwing a surprise shower, the key is to keep things simple. But just because the event is kept casual doesn’t mean style has to be compromised. Case in point, a cute and totally chic gender-neutral surprise baby shower for Erin and the little Apartment 34 bun in the oven!


Erin wasn’t looking for anything over-the-top when it came to the production of her baby shower. {Yes, sometimes these things can be a total production!}. In fact, Erin mentioned something about “being happy with a pizza party in the loft.” As sweet as that comment was, we all knew that wasn’t happening. It’s safe to say, I’ve known Erin long enough to know THAT comment must be the hormones talking! To her point, while the overall idea of a shower isn’t about cute quiches or perfectly wrapped tea sandwiches, I do think every woman deserves a little showering- especially after growing a baby inside of their belly! With Erin’s refreshing request in mind to do something as far away from a “typical baby shower” as possible, we kept things casual, relaxed, but still styled with the hope it could be a party where everyone enjoyed themselves!

what I’m wearing: Lou & Grey jumpsuit,  Zara sandals similar, Brahmin clutch, JCrew necklace

Instead of throwing the party at someone’s house – forcing them to clean all week long and set up enough chairs in the living room – we found the most perfect alternative, EVER. As far away from traditional as possible, we threw the shower in a flower studio! That’s right a flower studio. Of course, it isn’t any ol’ flower shop! Ampersand is a quaint little “store front.” It’s actually a converted garage – complete with turquoise barn doors – in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission district. It really is the cutest thing you ever did see. Walls are lined with blooms and greens, vintage vessels and quirky moments which meant we could let the pretty flowers and intimate space be most of the decor! Score!!


However, we did want to bring something in for baby. So we had My Trick Pony print a banner with the quote “Dream Big, Little One” – it was the only decor we hung on the walls and it made such an impact. It was totally our “Instagram moment” and we loved the idea of Erin being able to take it home and hang it in the baby’s room!


For the food, we kept the display very pretty and totally practical. Erin has been craving Mexican food her entire pregnancy so we thought, why not give the woman what she wants, dammit?! We set up a taco and churro bar with food from local restaurant, Xolo. Churros, coffee and mimosas were perfect for our brunch menu and the heartier tacos were completely gone once lunch time rolled around – wen people were craving some real food!!


We picked up our cakes from Miette – the Vanilla Tomboys are always a fan favorite. The double chocolate layer cake with vanilla buttercream is not only gorgeous, but soooo moist and delicious. And since we wanted guests to part with a little something sweet, we also grabbed the cutest mini, yellow meringues from Miette, packaged to perfection, for people to take home and enjoy with their coffee the next morning! We did have to taste test them of course.


Tips for the Bustling Baby Shower Hostess

> Think Outside The Box: Shake things up a bit and host a party in a beautiful store front. Go around town and inquire if your local coffee shop, floral shop, or even a cutely curated party or baby store might be open to you using their space. Better yet, if you’re in San Francisco, just stop by Ampersand. Stepping outside of someone’s home or backyard makes decorating a breeze!

> Fun Food Options: Not everyone is a Martha Stewart at heart. So what, you didn’t have the energy to whip dozens of cupcakes or a smorgasbord of food. What is the mama-to-be’s fave restaurant? Never feel embarrassed to order in food and make it your own. For example, we ordered the churros, but cut them up into small pieces and made a salted caramel sauce and chocolate sauce for dipping. We bought Mexican hot chocolate and encouraged guests to pour some in their coffee for a yummy twist on a mocha!

> Secret Weapon: Ask guests for help! People are always willing to be more hands-on in the festivities to take some work load and stress off the host. Embrace it. Think food signs, cake stands, bringing silverware, games, small DIY decor items. A host shouldn’t have to feel like they have to be in charge of it all- renting chairs, buying platters that’ll serve 24, organizing cute and meaningful activities for guests – those are all simple ways people can pitch in!

From Erin: I couldn’t have been happier with my sweet surprise shower. It focused on all the things I care about the most; good food, a charming setting and time well spent with dear friends! Keeping the festivities intimate allowed me to be able to talk to everyone and not feel overwelmed. I also loved that every guest could sit back, relax and simply enjoy a festive Sunday brunch. Per my request, no “shower games” were played, but everyone wrote sweet well-wishes on little notecards that I got to share with the hubby back at home. And I loved the guess-the-due-date calendar – it now hangs on our fridge as we mark our countdown to the little one’s arrival. It’s such a darling keepsake.

As a woman still trying to wrap her head this whole I’m going to have a baby business, this shower was the perfect reflection of who I am, and a truly meaningful way to celebrate the amazing journey to come. I know I’m going to need to rely on every single person who was in that room. I can’t thank Bianca and everyone who had a hand creating such a lovely event enough. I can’t believe we’ve got less than four weeks to go! Apartment 34 baby-watch is officially on!!

To look back at the rest of my bump updates, CLICK HERE. I’m also banking all of my baby must-haves HERE.

original photography for apartment 34 by ashley batz // cakes by miette cakes // florals by ampersand // food by Xolo // banner by my tricky pony 

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  1. what a great idea! this reminds me of a baby shower i photographed at a bistro in istanbul – so easy because the space is so beautiful and doesn’t need a lot of decorating. happy last 4 weeks until the bebe x

  2. One of the most beautiful showers I’ve seen!! The details are stunning and I love the photos! Congrats Erin!

  3. Looks like a fun day surrounded by wonderful friends! Cheers ..