When Rebekah Brown first had the idea to hold a surprise wedding shower for her sister, Sarah Stevens nee Brown, at the Café  Nordstrom in Towson, she called café manager Stephen Arnold, and he told her that nothing like that had ever been done there. But Rebekah persisted— after all, since Sarah’s middle school days, Nordstrom had been her favorite place to shop, and its café her favorite place to eat. Luckily, Arnold got permission from the higher-ups, and the superior customer service Nordstrom offers shoppers soon translated into party-planning assistance for Sarah’s shower.

From her dorm room at Ohio State University, Rebekah relied on the help of Sarah’s now sister-in-law, Rebecca Teaff, creative director of Baltimore-based design firm RedStart Creative, and store and café managers to plan the shower for 60 guests— all the arrangements were done via e-mail and telephone. On the Sunday evening before Memorial Day, guests gathered in the store café in Towson Town Center for the surprise. In the meantime, the bride-to-be had been sent on a scavenger hunt whose last clue was, “We’re not worried about your finding it, you certainly know your WAY. Now head on down to Towson, to your favorite store’s CAFÉ!” When Sarah arrived, she found friends and family to greet her, and the café transformed by vases of bright pink and lime green Gerber daisies, centerpieces made from Nordstrom shopping bags stuffed with pink and green tissue, and a bubble-gum pink leather loveseat brought in from the Brass Plum fashion department. A self-professed “shoe-aholic,” Sarah’s shoes were also scattered around the café (Rebekah had stolen them out of her closet). As a special gift, Rebekah gave Sarah a new pair of green Tory Burch sandals, which she slipped on at the shower, and later wore at her reception.

Guests chose soups, salads and sandwiches from the traditional café menu (which includes Sarah’s personal favorites: the grilled cheese sandwich and Roma tomato basil soup). There was a chocolate fountain, along with wedding shower games including a “Price is Right”-inspired game and “If the Shoe fits,” in which Sarah and her fiancé, Dave, tested their knowledge about each other. The bride’s mother, Jackie Brown, couldn’t have been happier with how the shower turned out. “The invitations, decorations, flowers, food and games, the dear friends who hosted and the Nordstrom Café staff captured all of Sarah’s favorite things just beautifully,” she says. “The whole effect was adorable… so Sarah, and so Nordstrom.”

In July, when Sarah walked down the aisle, she wore two items bought from her favorite store: a pair of Nina high-heeled sandals and a Lilly Pulitzer sash.

Café Nordstrom Towson Town Center, 410-296-2111

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