On a Saturday in January, many of the most special women in my life came together to help me celebrate a bridal shower more beautiful than I could have dreamed. My family and fiancé’s family were there, as were my friends, older and newer ones alike. I have always told my Chris how lucky he is to have such a solid group of friends that never wavers – they’ve been friends since high school (some of them even longer than that) and after all this time, nothing has ever changed. They still get together every Thanksgiving morning for an early breakfast, still have their annual “Brown Caribou” Christmas party (that is a play on White Elephant for those, like me, who didn’t get it at first), and rarely miss each other’s children’s birthdays and other celebrations. To have the wives of his friends – my friends now – and all these people I hold so dear together – well, I did what never ceases to surprise anyone who knows me and got a little teary-eyed.

LOVE Balloons CL Letters

Future Mrs Banner

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What’s a gathering of girls on a weekend without bubbly? A mimosa bar featuring various juice mixers and fresh fruit was a hit. There wasn’t a drop of champagne left at the end – my friends were definitely at this party!

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Beautiful desserts created by Kathleen Shen, head baker at Bake Sale in downtown San Diego. Kathleen dreamed up fabulous treats to compliment my pink and gold shower theme, including raspberry meringues, mini stacked lemon cakes, chocolate custard mousse cups with gold-dusted raspberries, and strawberry “Jam Sweeties.”

XO Cookies

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Kathleen also created the “XO” cookie favors, frosting each in a different shade of pink for an ombré effect. I usually like to look at edible favors more than I like to eat them, but Kathleen’s shortbread recipe is incredible. I’m still nibbling on Xs and Os!

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My future mom-in-law’s nephew’s wife made the most adorable (and delicious!) custom cookies with our wedding date. It’s a good thing I tried one before everyone arrived because not one was left!

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You can never go wrong with Extraordinary Desserts cakes.

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I entered an Exquisite Weddings magazine contest and won a flower crown from Pigment in North Park. Meg and Chelsea of Pigment were the sweetest and created the most stunning crown. I highly recommend going shopping at Pigment for handmade cards, home goods, gifts and other fun things, then getting yourself some cheddar biscuits next door at Urban Solace.

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On my first day of work more than seven years ago, I met a man who would become my good friend. I would soon become friends with his wife, Rhona, and years later, become “Auntie Laura” to their daughter, Alexa. Rhona is a talented photographer and took all of the photos you see here. I can’t recommend Rhona Viloria Photography enough for any type of photography – newborn, bridal, absolutely anything.
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Barb Dollero of Blanc Floral Design created the gorgeous flower arrangements. She also provided the “Hello Darling” sign I’m obsessed with. Follow Barb on Instagram for a constant feed of lovely things.

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My bridesmaid, Melissa, made an adorable activity designed to give Chris and me ideas for date nights for years to come. Among my favorite ideas: a night in watching Dateline. Ha! Is there any other way to spend a Friday night?

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Guests were asked to leave their kiss on a board for me to keep. I’m so excited to frame the finished product and have it to remember this day forever.



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Shower games and gifts.

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My beautiful mom and Melissa.


My friend Cat is appropriately holding the letter “C.” Cat is getting married next month and will make a gorgeous bride inside and out. I’m so excited for her.

unnamed-7Lovely friends.

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unnamed-2A hug with one of my favorite people on earth, my aunt Mary.

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lfbridalshower 390A great shot of the women of my family.

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And another of some of the women of my future family. My future mom-in-law is in the pink printed dress. In case you were wondering, yes, she is as sweet as she is beautiful.

lfbridalshower 345And finally, this guy. I start to talk about him and the waterworks are instant. Let’s see how I do when we exchange our vows. Next month will be a year since we became engaged. This year has been absolutely nothing like I imagined it would be – it has been wonderful, challenging and thrilling all at once – and I wouldn’t change a thing. With this kind, generous, patient, endlessly loving man by my side always and forever, I can do anything. I am so blessed with love.