Bridal Shower at Benulee

September 3, 2015



Birthday week continues with a fun party . . . but not for me! It was a beautiful bridal shower I helped host for a dear, sweet girl.


Leslie Anne TarabellaFrom left to right, Kay, Bride-to-be Ginny, me and Harriet. The three of us hosted a bridal shower for our dear Ginny because we love her and her family, and also because we love throwing a good party!


porch at Benulee in Fairhope AlabamaHarriet hung billowing swaths of white tulle on her porch that gave everything a romantic, dreamy touch.


The Spirit of Fairhope Just before entering the front door, there was the welcome table, and instead of holding a traditional guest book, there was a copy of “The Spirit of Fairhope” written by Dean and Megrez Mosher. Each guest chose a page and wrote a little note to the bride. I loved that idea!


Bridal Shower at Benulee in Fairhope AlabamaThe party was held at Benulee, Harriet’s fabulous house. I’ll show you more of the house tomorrow, but for today, I’ll focus on the party. This little bit I’ll go ahead and share, the house is an exact replica of the house where Harriet was born in Mobile. I know! Amazingly cool! The neighbor’s dog was kind enough to come over and pose for me on the front porch. (Then she came over and licked my leg while I was signing the book).


Bridal Shower at Benulee in Fairhope AlabamaGuests were welcomed with candied Baldwin County Pecans next to a wedding invitation and a cool, bubbly Mimosa.


Foyer of Benulee in Fairhope Alabama, Leslie Anne TarabellaThe entry hall is large enough to double as the dining room. Kay and Harriet have been friends since elementary school, and I’ve always loved being around them. Everything they do is just wonderful.


Southern Bridal ShowerWe used old glass “trays” for plates, and lots of shiny silver with white linens. Ahhhh. Just what my welcome reception will look like in heaven!


Southern bridal shower at Benulee in Fairhope, Alabama. Leslie Anne TarabellaThe brunch menu consisted of; ham and cheese croissants, mini quiches, pinwheels, breakfast bread pudding, cheese wafers, deviled eggs, creamy cheese spread and fresh fruit. There was also a dessert table with cookies, petit fours, and chocolates. 


Antique Bride Dolls used for a Southern Bridal Shower in Fairhope, Alabama. Leslie Anne Tarabella

You may remember last week I went to Mary Esther to pick up a package far too precious to mail. Well, this is what was inside . . . antique bride dolls!

The three dolls above, were on the fireplace mantle over the spot where Ginny sat to open her gifts. Harriet put billowy white tulle and sparkling lights around them to make them look like they were floating on clouds.

My Mother kindly loaned the treasured collection to me. She received her first bride doll from the jewelry store when Daddy bought her engagement ring. After that, she just slowly started a collection. They are displayed in a beautiful cabinet my husband built for her years ago. I always said I would use them for my “daughters” weddings someday . . . therefore ensuring I would have two boys.


Antique Bride Dolls used for Bridal Shower at Benulee in Fairhope Alabama. - Leslie Anne TarabellaHere are more dolls on the serving table. Each one has a different personality and is so beautiful.


Antique Bride DollsIt was fun to see the different styles of dresses and veils that have been popular over the years. The dolls sparked conversations amongst the ladies who chatted about their childhood dolls and wedding dresses.


Southern Bridal Shower at Benulee in Fairhope Alabama. - Leslie Anne TarabellaThe gorgeous sideboard held the drinks. Southern sweet tea, ice water and ginger ale punch. Harriet has the most stunning serving pieces!


Bridal Shower in Alabama.

I made the cheese wafers in the bottom right of this photo (I don’t know why the fork is there). I was going to make traditional cheese straws, but at the last minute couldn’t find my cookie press! Who the heck would run off with a woman’s cookie press? 

As I was tearing my kitchen up looking for the blame thing, I suddenly remembered my mother’s recipe for crunchy cheese wafers, which is almost the same thing as cheese straws, with the addition of one extra ingredient. I love these wafers so much, my Mother will make them for my family, and I’ll hide them and eat them all myself. Hey! don’t judge me! They’re that good, and I’m sure my family doesn’t need all that cheese anyway! I’m doing them a favor.

Here’s the recipe. Save some for me!

Alabama Cheese Wafers

4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (don’t use pre-grated)

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup softened butter

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 – 1 ground red pepper to taste

2 cups Rice Crispy cereal

Preheat oven to 350° Mix cheese, flour, butter salt and red pepper until it forms into a soft dough. Stir in cereal by hand. Form small balls of dough, place on baking sheet about an inch apart and flatten with the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in flour. (that’s just how we do it). Bake 10 minutes, remove and using a spatula, flip each wafer over and continue baking another 5-10 minutes until golden and crispy.


*Most similar recipes don’t require you to flip these over, but my Mother said it makes them extra crispy and crunchy which we love.




  • Wow, what a wonderful shower! The book signing is such a fabulous idea, such a brilliant keepsake! And those bride dolls, incredible!

  • Oh my, such a gorgeous Southern bridal shower for a beautiful bride-to-be!! I loved seeing this fabulous home and look forward to seeing more pictures. I’ve always loved bride dolls too and several years ago started collecting vintage wedding cake toppers. I now have 30 couples and they “reside” in a dainty white French secretary I have in my bedroom. Needless to say, they were so much fun to find in various antique & junk stores. I love thinking about the couples they represent and the joy of their special day. Sending “Love and Best Wishes” to this happy couple as they begin their new life together!!!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks so much Barbara. I also love looking at those wedding cake toppers. When I was married, the trend was to use fresh flowers on the cake, and I regret I didn’t use my Mother and Daddy’s cake topper. It’s so beautiful and classic looking!

  • Beautiful bride to be. You three out did your selves…great brunch…great bunch !! Loved every minute.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Peggy. It was so good to see you there. You are the perfectly lovely, perfect guest!

  • I love these ideas Leslie Anne!! We had a retro wedding shower at our church several years ago and we used some of those cute glass trays and cups. Those dolls certainly bring back memories…I remember seeing them in the Sears and Roebuck Christmas catalog when I was a girl. Thanks for sharing all these great ideas.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh, you’re welcome Arlene! I had totally forgotten about the dolls until I saw the glass trays Harriet was going to use, then the “retro” popped into my mind and I knew the dolls would be perfect. Ginny is also such a traditional girl, I knew she would appreciate it, which of course, she did!

  • The tulle and tiny lights set the dolls off beautifully . Great idea.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Harriet also came up with the idea of setting some of them in crystal glasses, so they were different heights on the table. It was truly more beautiful than the photos showed.

  • I loved seeing your Mama’s bride doll collection. I was obsessed with bride dolls as a little girl. None of mine survived. I will tell you that someone made some of those same wafers for one of my pre-wedding parties (don’t ask me which wedding, I forget) and they had an olive tucked inside. I don’t think they had been flattened, but otherwise the recipe looks the same. And who WOULD run off with your cookie press? Probably the same person who ran off with my favorite corkscrew, my mini tea strainer, and my own Mama’s measuring spoons, that’s who.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Hahaha! My Mother also makes the olive recipe and those are also to-die-for! I do believe it’s just the same, except without the rice crispies. You just form a ball of dough around the olive and bake. Great at a cocktail party. (I need to look it up now to make sure that’s right. The recipe, not the cocktail party!).

  • The Bride to Be will always cherish the memory of this beautiful shower.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      She’s such a sweet girl and was one of my first Fairhope babysitters!

  • My Aunt Gin fixed those very same cheese wafers. Just last week I was wishing I had her recipe. Thanks!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Good timing! Enjoy!

  • Gorgeous home and party! Now if Mama says to flip, then flip we must. And I plan on trying that recipe. My Aunt gave me her wedding party dolls. Bride, Bridemaid and flower girl. Love them! I think they have real hair.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Real hair? Wow, those must be beautiful dolls. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a set with a flower girl and bridesmaid. Good luck with the recipe, but be careful, they’re addictive!

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