A Buzz-Worthy Bumblebee Baby Shower (And One Mom's Miraculous Story)
Little baby Richie made a big buzz long before the baby shower.
When mommy-to-be Jackie Mangiolino was 25 weeks pregnant, she was urgently admitted to the hospital with severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.
"The only cure for preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome is to deliver the baby, but delivering a baby so prematurely is really a last resort,” Jackie says. “My doctors did everything in their power to keep my body going so that baby could develop as much as possible, but when the HELLP syndrome began to progress on May 26, we were forced to deliver."
Enter into the world: little baby Richard Peter Mangiolino who was born 3.5 months early at the time of birth. He weighed just 2 pounds and 2 ounces. "He was, and is, the most beautiful little fighter," Jackie says. "We were so lucky to have caught everything early, and to be under some of the best medical care in the country, which saved both Richie's and my life."
What happened next was something beautiful. "Even before I got sick, my husband Mike and I really wanted to celebrate the pregnancy," Jackie says. As fulltime stationer of Sincerely, Jackie, she reached out to her closest creative friends who banded together to throw her a bright, cheery baby bumblebee-meets-garden shower. This included one of her best friends, Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events.
"Leah and I had already started working on the shower when I got sick, and I was so heartbroken to think we might have had to cancel it,” Jackie says. “After Richie was born, we decided to go ahead and have the shower — which suddenly became even more meaningful."
To invite friends far and near to their special day, Jackie personally designed these silver silk-screen printed invitations.
The June baby shower was hosted at the Plattduesche Restaurant in Franklin Square, New York. "Our family friend is the catering manager at the restaurant and really went above and beyond to make the space, menu, and atmosphere amazing!" Jackie gushes. "The restaurant also has a new, beautiful German beer garden on the property, so while the women celebrated all things baby, the men were invited to share a beer with my husband in the beer garden!"
Buzzing in every corner of this bright garden scene, guests were greeted by these playful bumblebees, courtesy of friend and designer, Gina Paola.
As part of the celebration of baby boy Richie, Leah incorporated paper honeycomb balls in various sizes and shades of blue, as added table decor.
For the tables, wooden planter boxes — each handmade by Jackie's grandfather — served as garden-inspired table centerpieces, and were filled with poppy pink and red gerber daisies. To help guests find their seats, miniature garden buckets were marked with laser-cut table numbers from Etsy's The Duo Studio.
Here's an extra sweet idea: Each guest received a miniature jar of honey, which had custom-printed labels (designed by Jackie) thanking them for sharing in the special day, and also providing Richie's birth details.
The custom sign by Charmaine of Everly Calligraphy says it all: "Everyone's buzzing for Baby Richie." Blue escort cards were designed by Jackie.
Sachi Rose, a friend and florist, provided the summery flower arrangements in a mix of pinks, oranges, and purples. "I loved the burst of colors they provided!"
On one side of the printed menu, a rundown of what was served: penne a la vodka, caesar salad, an entrée selection of choice meats, and a strawberry lemonade cake for dessert. Flip the menu over, and a happy collection of Richie's first photos was printed on the back.
For the standout dessert: a strawberry lemonade cake with honeycomb details from Nine Cakes. "Her cakes are my absolute favorite," Jackie exclaims, "and I knew from the moment I got pregnant (and could eat as much cake as my heart desired) that I wanted one of her sweet designs for my shower."
Swarming in midair (or more specifically, hanging from a paper flower backdrop by Gina) more bumblebees add whimsy to the dessert table.
Get up close for a (super sweet) look at the cake and it has honeycomb detailing, touches of blue to reflect the cool color theme, and silvery bumblebees, not to mention the golden drips of honey. "The final result was breathtaking!" Jackie says. "And so delicious!" It was a strawberry lemonade flavored cake, a perfect choice for a summer baby shower.
Jackie's best friend, Sarah, took care of all the games, prizes, including this decorate-a-onesie-and-bib crafting table. According to Jackie, "that craft table was the hit of the party!" Guests had the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind bib or onesie for little Richie.
"I had no idea how creative my friends and family were until I saw their adorable designs!"
Awaiting mom and star of the day, Jackie, was this intricate laser-cut sign made by Charmaine decorating the back of her seat.
For Jackie and her guests, the day had extra meaning. "Baby showers are special no matter what, but a baby shower celebrating my battle with HELLP syndrome and the birth of a beautiful, healthy micro-preemie?! So incredibly special!"
"I don't think there was a dry eye in the house," Jackie recalls. "We celebrated baby Richie, beating HELLP syndrome, and the entire village of people who were (and still are) supporting my family as we waited for Richie to come home from the hospital. Throughout everything we've been through, my husband and I are so thankful for the generous and kind people who have rallied around us. We've managed to take this experience and turn it into a beautiful, positive journey."
Venue and Catering: Plattduetsche Park Restaurant
Concept and Paper Goods: Sincerely, Jackie
Design and Coordination: Color Pop Events
Design and DIY Bumblebees: Gina Paola Design
Floral Arrangements: Sachi Rose Floral Design
Photographer: Photography By Leandra
Calligraphy, Crest, Chair Sign, Print: Everly Calligraphy
Cake: Nine Cakes
Hair and Makeup Styling: Perfectly Polished Faces