How to Plan an Unforgettable Gal-pal Party

Editor-turned-stylist Tessa Woolf has been a long-time fixture of the Utah wedding scene since 2006 when she started as an editorial intern for Utah Bride & Groom magazine. Woolf harnesses a zeal for style, travel, writing and rosé. After years of scribing other people’s wedding stories, she is now penning her own love story. But before she said “I do,” her tribe of creative friends threw her a bridal brunch that was purely Tessa. 

Photos by Elisha Braithwaite

While it may seem daunting to impress an expert stylist and editor, Woolf’s gal pals know the recipe for high-fashion fun. Fuse Weddings & Events’ Mara Marian—along with Decoration Inc.’s Amanda Hansen and Blended Table’s Emery Lortscher and Colour Maisch—rewrite the rules for the bridal brunch.



How do you create magical moments from the get-go? 

Marian: When I design, I try to focus on what we call “unexpected design opportunities”—areas that don’t need a design element. Things like bars, tables, linens and seating are obvious, but they’re not going to blow your mind. Working with Amanda of Decoration Inc. is always fun because she also loves to play with space and design “off” the tables.

Adding color to the garage door panels was her idea, and it was such a fun welcome. Plus, they ended up being a steady photo backdrop for guests throughout the party.


What was the inspiration for the brunch menu? With an all-woman guest list in mind, Blended Table kept the menu heavy enough to be brunch-appropriate, then added easy, small bites that were also cute, including little pancake stacks, adorable round mini breakfast sandwiches, tiny hash-brown nests and small biscuits.

 Tessa’s Bridal Brunch – September 30

• Mini Stacked Pancakes Topped with Blueberries & Maple

• Mini Breakfast Sandwiches

• Trifle Fruit Cups

• Hash Brown Nests

• Mini Biscuit with Clotted Cream and Jam

• Mini Lemon Tart, Chocolate Petite Decadence, Mini Olive Oil Cupcake with Mascarpone frosting

• Rosé Bar and Mimosas



Or at least after 10 a.m. legally in Utah. Are mimosas not enough for brunch? 

Marian: Tessa loves rosé wines. When we go out, it seems like she’s tried nearly all of them. As Amanda and I began planning the shower, having a single rosé option wasn’t enough for us. Rosé slowly evolved into a theme and ultimately became the central focus of this festive design. Because the Blended Table space is really a blank canvas, we brought in all shades of pink—from the linens and balloons to lounge furniture and florals. This personal detail was not lost on Tessa nor her friends.



 Marian: How do you keep the conversation going? I always love interactive elements. Having something “to do” helps take pressure off introductions, small talk and forced socializing between guests who don’t know others and might find these situations a bit uncomfortable (more people than you might think!).

 At a shower or cocktail party, I always plan some seating—but never enough seats for every guest. You don’t want to create an environment where everyone just sits and chats with the people they know well. Ideally, the party has a lot of energy and guests feel compelled to move around. In this case, guests could head to the bar to grab some rosé, chat with some folks, play rosé pong, grab a bite, take some pics or make a bouquet. 


What inspired this bouquet bar?


Hansen: We tried to strike a balance of girly, glamour and edge. I knew Tessa had seen hundreds of arrangements in her day and thought an edgier way to add floral was to have a large bouquet bar. We kept the shades soft and girly, but displayed them against black for a more current look. We used seasonal blooms, including dahlias, fragrant garden roses, hydrangea and added some bleached and dyed fern for texture.

Marian: The reed diffusers were prosecco-scented and were from Katie Waltman Boutique. The boutique’s owner and namesake Katie Waltman, who attended the shower, is a good friend of Tessa.


Need more bachelorette party inspiration? Check out our full guide. 


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