Geeking Out: A Surprise DIY Austenland Bridal Shower

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when your best friend gets engaged, you need to throw her an amazing bridal shower.

When Michelle and I first met, we bonded over our love of all things geeky: otaku culture, cosplay, comic books, video games, and of course… Jane Austen.

Naturally, when Austenland came out last year, we watched it. And when I say “watched it”, I mean that there wasn’t a single weekend in this year where we both didn’t watch this movie together, or separately, and then quoted it back to each other.

When she asked me to be her Maid of Honor, I knew that the one thing I had to do was throw her a surprise Austenland themed bridal shower.

I wanted to re-create an outdoor tea party like the one depicted in the movie, complete with its mashup of vintage and modern contraptions.


The fun thing about Austenland is how tongue-in-cheek it is about the inconsistency of time periods, and all of us lady geeks who romanticize period films. Admit it, we all do it!

Welcome to Austenland!

Many of the signs had quotes and references to the funny and memorable lines from the film. Before the shower, I also graciously lent out Austenland to any of the guests who had not seen it.

Because Michelle’s wedding is mahou-shoujo (magical girl) themed, I also added touches of magical girl whimsy in our decorations and gifts. I also chose theme colors that were specific to Michelle. Since she’s most easily recognized by her peach sherbert hair, we went with pinks, peach, and oranges.

The fun thing about this party is that it was very diy, and inexpensive.
Much of the furniture was pre-existing old furniture or patio furniture. These were all covered up with scrap fabric, or lace table cloths we all had lying around.
This instantly made the items more vintage and less modern. Decorative frames, hat boxes, fake plants, throw pillows, props, the more clutter the was, the better the decorations looked.

All of the wonderfully talented guests brought delicious and beautifully made sweet and savory dishes to the party.

All of the guests were asked to dress up in some kind of vintage or period inspired clothing. Regency clothing was a great, but in the film there are plenty of in-jokes regarding items and materials being used from various time periods.

Michelle didn’t know very much about the entire theme of the shower.
The only information I gave her was time, date, and that she should curl her hair for that day.

I upcycled a dress for Michelle for the shower. This white dress was inspired by the ball gown worn in the movie by Miss Erstwhile.

Originally the dress was just a simple chiffon summer dress. Using my powers of Goodwill scouring, I found an amazing white blazer with incredible beading and embroidery. I took it apart and used a lot of it for Michelle’s party dress.

A diy photobooth area was put together, complete with a backdrop for guests. This was put together by the bridesmaids and some friends using the pre-existing garden furniture.
It’s always nice to have a photo area especially for theme parties because guests will undoubtedly have gorgeous costumes. It also gave everyone chances to take photos with Michelle.

Photos by Shannon Cottrell and Lauren Elisabeth Photography.

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