Updated: Nov 3
I have planned and hosted quite a few bridal showers and it's always SO MUCH FUN! You might be thinking I'm crazy, and don't get me wrong, parties like this always have their rough patches, there's always a point about two days before the event that I wonder why I agreed to do it, but in the end, I have never regretted it or left feeling upset about how things went. It always works out. So on that note, I wanted to share my tips and tricks for celebrating your best girl in style and making her feel like the luckiest bride in the world!
Five most important things to think about before you start:
Who will be invited? This should be your first question because numbers will dictate where you can host the shower. Ask your bride to send you a guestlist along with contact info so you can invite everyone. Facebook events are probably the easiest way to do this or you can send an email invitation but keep in mind that many younger people don't check their email regularly and you may have to chase people more.
Where are you going to host the party? Once you know how many people are invited you can make plans for this. Your house or the bride's house are obvious choices but consider collaborating with the bride's mom or an auntie who might have more space and would feel special to be included; there's something so lovely and intimate about gathering in someone's home. If you have a big budget and lots of people you could rent a hall or pretty outdoor space as well to keep from being crowded together.
What kind of food are you going to serve? A great way to do this without having to provide food for so many people is to ask everyone to bring an appetizer or dessert, just remember that then you don't have control over presentation and dish choice. If that is a problem for you, another great option is to do a huge charcuterie table, or some kind of food bar where you don't have to assemble everything. I've done showers both ways and both have turned out beautifully. Also make sure you delegate to the bridesmaids! If you do a themed food bar, make sure it's something she would enjoy and take into account whether she has any allergies or is vegetarian etc. If you do a charcuterie table, include her favourite treats or ask key people to bring dishes that are her go to comfort foods.
How are you going to decorate? You can keep this really simple or go full board, it really depends on how confident you feel in being able to get everything done and your budget- although you can decorate beautifully on a very tight budget. And remember, DELEGATE. This is by far my favourite part of hosting showers.
You can download lots of cute signs on Etsy and use your "functional" items, like your drinks, food, even gifts, as decorations or elements mixed in with floral arrangements to beautify the space you are using!
A beautiful way to include the bride's family legacy could be to ask her married family members to send you their wedding and newly wed photos then print them off and display them at the shower.
A balloon arch or installation can be a gorgeous, high impact way to draw people's eyes. Hang it above the bride's chair or the food table and you have a great focal point and photo opportunity.
What kind of entertainment will there be? A lot of bridal showers have games. Now, I'm going to tell you a secret: I hate games. so. much. I'm sorry. But there are a few that can be really fun and not lame. A couple that I have actually really loved are Gift Bingo (create a card with a bingo grid including gifts that have been purchased off the registry or just classic wedding gifts, making sure to give everyone a freebie space and bingo dabbers, or just markers, and the first one to get a row wins!) and Bridal Madlibs (everyone fills out a sheet on one side and then the answers get turned into a story about the bride and groom. It's cute and funny and people like hearing the finished stories read aloud. You can find loads of free printables on Etsy)
I've also loved getting a cute little frame, a nice piece of paper and some lipsticks and asking each person at the shower to put their lip print with their name. Then write "kiss the miss goodbye!" and giving the frame to the bride as a keepsake.
I've never done this one before but am considering it for the next shower I throw! A flower bar is a great way to give people something fun to do and simultaneously send them home with something to remember the experience by! You can buy bunches of flowers and greenery and then arrange them in cute vases and tell everyone they can choose three, or five, or however much you want to spend on this. Super cute, super fun. Everyone will love it!
Keep in mind what your bride likes, does she hate to be put on the spot? Choose games that are group participation, or that she can watch. Or, if she's super competitive, put together games that will feed that competitive spirit.
Remember, if you find an idea on Pinterest that you absolutely love but you think, "there's no way I could pull that off!" Think creatively about how you could make it work in a less complicated way. I found the world's most adorable ice cream themed shower: "She's Been Scooped Up!" I died. SO cute. And also so complicated and detailed and expensive looking. Immediately my brain was thinking up ways I could pull this off without going overboard. The topping wall is amazing but also probably unnecessary and would still look great with the cocktail glasses and spoons displayed on a table. I could pre-scoop ice cream into little paper ice cream pints and keep them in the freezer until the shower so that it's less work the day of. And maybe instead of the balloons in the acrylic box I could make clusters of balloons and tape them to the table next to a cute, borrowed cake stand (or one I already own) with a cake that a loved one made in the shower colour scheme. Click on the photos to take you to the website with this shower and you can maybe try to think of more ways to make this theme do-able for your party.
Over all, give yourself lots of time- especially if you are DIY-ing! Make sure to ask for help. I'm sure there are lot's of people who would love to help and including the bride's loved ones will make it even more special. And have fun with it! The bride asked you because she thinks you can pull it off and because she loves you- if you're anxious and not present the whole shower she won't have as much fun because she will be worried about you! So once the day rolls around, do what you can and if something doesn't work out, don't stress. It's more important that you are all there to celebrate the bride and show her love than that each detail went perfectly.
I hope you enjoy this guide and find it useful!
Lots of love,