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Neverland Inspired

Book Club Baby Brunch

The Old Wooden Schoolhouse

Blandford Nature Center

Grand Rapids, MI

January 20, 2018

Claire & Cody


Photography / Corinne Keener 

Cake /  The Cakabakery

Flowers /  Birch Affair

Donuts /   Sandy's Donuts

Catering / Field & Fire

Tablewares/ Target, IKEA

Planning, Design, & Styling

The Revel Rose 

I am forever grateful that my family and friends let me experiment with ideas for their parties and special events. This day was so special for me because Cody & Claire are not only two of my most favorite friends, they are also my family.


I met Cody and Claire at separate times in my sophomore year of college while attending Grand Valley State University. Claire was a master's student I met on the bus one day, and we quickly became friends  while attending a class together and decided not long after to start a monthly book club. Claire has an enormous energy and zest for life. She's always about trying new things, learning new skills, and  essentially views the world as a giant oyster. During those years she was always the first one to respond enthusiastically when I'd say "let's have a party next weekend". Claire loves details, making everything by hand or from scratch, and really good alcohol. I met Cody in a summer class not too long after when he sat next to me, and  I asked him if he had any dental floss, and he did! We enjoyed earning our geography degrees together, hanging out at geography club movie nights, and going on bike rides. The summer after we graduated college, I moved into a house with him and his roommates. One of those roommates would be Cody's brother, and my future husband. 

That winter, I set Cody and Claire up on a blind date at Monarch Bar on Grand Rapids' much less hip West Side back in 2013, and they hit it off and started dating. A year and some change later, they were engaged and trying to get Ryan to ask me out on a date. We eventually would go snowboarding, not on a date, and become bunk mates soon after that. I remember looking over at my friends Cody and Claire that first time I joined them all at their parent's Sunday dinner and thought, "Well. This is funny".


I love that Cody and Claire are now my family. That we do holidays together and plan family trips and have sleepovers and that I get the delightful privileged of being an auntie to their (hopefully super chunky) baby boy. I'm a little mad Claire cut out on our "Let's Get Pregnant Together In 2020 Plan", but whatevs. Someone has to start the baby chain and I am pumped it's going to be them.

There were only two things I knew when we talked about Claire's baby shower. One, I was going to to throw it. And two, we didn't want it to look anything like a baby shower.

I picked one of our favorite places in all of Grand Rapids, Blandford Nature Center, and found that The Star Schoolhouse could be rented for the afternoon. It was a beautiful winter day celebrated with Claire's friends and our family, ahhmazing brunch food from Field & Fire Bakery, Sandy's Donuts, a lemon cake at Claire's request from The Cakabakery, a cranberry pineapple punch + add your own champagne tub, super good and chill tunes, and a combination of decor that included Claire's handmade pennants, poms, bookmark souvenirs, and take home hot chocolate jars.  I adore planning parties with Claire because she is the Martha I've always wanted to be.

The baby daddy and my husband made a bonfire just outside the schoolhouse and hung out (and also carried & hauled ALL the shit) and everyone got to enjoy the fire for a little bit and linger before heading off into their Saturday.  As a surprise for Claire, Cody & I arranged for a mini-portrait maternity session before the party started with Corinne Keener,​ a super cool lass who I used to work with in Grand Rapids who loves photography and happens to love books. So much that she  does a podcast called The Bookstore Podcast. (Follow @thebookstorepodcast). Corinne's super keen eye captured a lot of great details from this day as well as some pretty gorgeous photos of Claire in that banging red dress. 

The best part of this whole day besides having a party to celebrate Claire, Cody, and the fact that they made a baby? Knowing that our event rental fees go towards preserving this beautiful natural and historic place in Grand Rapids for generations of dog walkers and baby mamas to come.

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