Thursday, August 18, 2011

Noche Caliente en la Havana! Cuban-Inspired Bachelorette Party

I can't believe my little sister is about to get married. Just last August/September, I visited home for Vanessa's showers and wedding weekend and hosted a Marie Antoinette-inspired shower for her. Now as Lanae's turn, she asked for a whole different style of shower, as opposed to the frilly, ruffly tea party.

Vanessa and I brainstormed for months on how to play up a "spicier" style of party. Lanae has always loved the Caribbean-style atmosphere (as do I!), but we really didn't wanna do another cliche "leighs and luau" bachelorette party, so we chose to play up the spicy Caribbean/on-the-beach attitude and went with a shower inspired by Havana, Cuba!

Vanessa and I got together quite a few times to really get an idea of what we wanted to do. We kept going back and forth with different ideas.. especially since Lanae wanted this shower to have a little more "spice" than both of our bachelorette parties/showers had. We sent out invitations just in time, including a blank scrapbook page and instructions for her friends to decorate and send back or bring with them to the shower. I did the same thing for Vanessa's shower and it was super special for her to open it without having a clue I had organized it all. We figured Lanae might have a pretty good idea that she might get a book as well, but we decided to go for it anyway.

We made the invitations in a few different colors, just for the fun of it. They were really fun and easy to make! I'm continuing to see just how much my hot glue gun is my best friend forever. Ha! We felt some inspiration after seeing something similar in a movie and wanted to let it be interpreted as lingerie or a swimsuit - since our theme was meant to be beachy. We were pretty happy with them!

The inside read..

Since this was 1 of 3 huge showers I was in the process of planning (Mulder's baby shower and 2 showers for Lanae), we had to get practical and creative with what we were going to DIY for decor. Our colors consisted of red, pink, aqua, mustard, green and golds. Other than that, we knew we wanted string lights and garland, we knew we wanted palms and we knew we wanted a fantastic menu. Lanae really wanted to have the party at her new home, which was a little tricky for space, but we made it work. Not to mention, Lanae and Jordan were finally able to move her stuff in there the Monday before the shower (Saturday) and we rushed to strip and paint the almost the entire place in less than a week (Ohhmyword.). 

The night before the party, we finished the favors. To go along with the Cuban theme, we decided to give the girls chocolate-covered "cigars" aka chocolate-covered pretzel rods. We added some sprinkles for fun, and I found perfect, authentic Cuban cigar labels [online] to print, cut and wrap around each one. Vanessa, our mom and I headed over the morning of the shower to set everything up, before Lanae arrived at 7pm. So many things needed to be finished, other than just the table setup. Most of the food and all the hanging decor was still undone. The stresses began! 

Everything came together - as it always seems to - and as Lanae walked into her newly painted condo, her jaw dropped. She was pretty ecstatic with the theme we picked and she definitely understood the time and thinking that went into the decor, food and everything. It was really awesome that Lanae invited my best friend, Stacie, too (who is actually 1/2 Cuban!), so she helped BIGTIME with the menu. So much fun!

The Menu:
Cuban Paninis - Made with ham, swiss, pickle and Cuban mustard
Besitos de Coco (aka "Coconut Kisses") - a favorite Cuban dessert
Fresh Fruit Kabobs
Picadillo Empanadas
Guacamole Bruschetta
Triple Fudge Cupcakes
Dulce de Leche Cupcakes
Drinks: Pineapple Malibu's, Mojitos & Lemonade
& Coconut-Lime Jell-o Shots 

{Stacie made these Paninis -- To. Die. For.}

{Recipe for Coconut Kisses found here. We followed recipe with a shorter bake time and without chocolate. They were INCREDIBLE!}

{Stacie also made these Picadillo Empanadas. Delicious!}

Cuban coffee cans -- Really good coffee, too!

{Dulce de Leche Cupcakes - Actually, with Coconut Pecan frosting. Dulce de Leche was really difficult to find!}
{Triple Fudge (and filled!) Cupcakes}

{Courtesy of Vanessa & her fabulous Jello-making skills!}
I wanted to incorporate some Spanish newspaper somehow. SO! During our shopping trips, Vanessa and I went on a hunt for specific grocery stores which would have all-spanish papers and we found some! For the garland above the drinks and desserts, we hung strips of newspaper with gauze, along with a banner that read
"Noche Caliente en la Havana" meaning "Hot Night in Havana"

We kept the table fairly simple, with lots of bright colors. Vanessa sewed the aqua table runner with a yard of fabric we found on sale at Hancock. The white square vases, found at Michaels - 80% off. Flowers, see below. Palms, seashells and sand, I had from previous parties/showers. Woven placemats, Stacie's. Glassware, given to my by Vanessa (EEee! ..after she used them for her wedding place settings). Napkins, I already had, which I previously found for 1$ at a thrift store. Various gold tealight holders, found at thrift store and spray painted gold.

Chips & Mango-Peach Salsa at each place setting..

Vanessa and I worked several days working on these flowers - which we kept ourselves laughing, as we nicknamed them "Pinch Flowers". I found the DIY Tutorial at Martha Stewart (found here!) and we improvised a little with our binding and choice of fabrics. The red fabric, we found on clearance at a fabric store. The fuschia flowers were made with a bed sheet we found at a thrift store. Each flower took about 20 minutes.

A Cuban-inspired party was tricky to pull off (especially as a bachelorette party!) since Cuba has such a specific style. Implementing hundreds of palm trees, old cars and fedoras didn't exactly fit into our budget, so we did our best. When thinking of what the "streets of Havana" might look like, we kept picturing clothes on clotheslines and festive lights. Rather than hanging clothes, we found some fantastic, red gauze and hung strips of it with miniature clothespins. We made a paper garland as well, with a new lace-like punch (Martha's deep edge "flower bed" punch). We rearranged some mini lanterns onto string lights I already had. Everything blended together really nicely! Stacie brought a fabulous Cuban music mix over to set the mood -- definitely including one of my favorite soundtracks, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.

Of course she's sneaking around the palm branches..
..and of course she's sniffing the fabric flowers..
Stacie, Lanae, Me & Vanessa

After a few crazy games, we settled down to watch Lanae eat a powdered doughnut for every answer she got wrong during "How well do you know your groom?" game.. 
Ready for presents!
Loving the scrapbook we gave her..
Bridesmaid love..

It was such a fun and "spicy" girl's night.. hopefully one that Lanae will never forget!

What I'm listening to: 



  1. this. So bummed I missed it, the food and the decor look divine! ;)

  2. Hey the party looks fabulous! I was wondering where you found the cuban cigar print out labels? Thanks :)

  3. Thanks so much! I'm not sure why the link wasn't working above, but I actually just Google'd "Cohiba cigar labels" and resized them to fit the pretzel rods before printing. I liked the look of the Cohiba labels, but I know you can find other printable cigar bands pretty easily! Check out


  4. Looks like it was a great party!

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