Planning Guide

Bridal Shower Tips from the Experts

Bridal FlowersIt goes without saying that a bridal shower is a very special event for the bride-to-be and if you are the one who is going to throw the bridal party do everything possible to make sure the bride’s big day is more she has dreamed of. With our tips for bridal shower that cover every aspect of the event, from bridal shower themes and games to etiquette and gift-giving, you will be able to plan a perfect bridal shower that will be truly memorable for her and fun for her friends and family too.

Whether you’re planning an over-the-top soiree or something lower-key a thorough planning and attention to detail are the prerequisites of success. We offer you a chance to weigh in the dos and don’ts of planning a bridal shower hoping to help you do it right.

Invitations

With such a profusion of shower stationery that range from sweet and simple to couture, there are plenty of choices to suit any budget. While the stationary options are truly endless there is the only way to send them – by mail only. Another completely appropriate option is sending creative e-cards by e-mail. It would be really cool if the design of your stationary matched the decor of the restaurant where the event is going to be held.

Etiquette

No matter whether you are going to invite 18 guests or 80, the invites should be sent a month to six weeks in advance. As for deciding whom to invite to the wedding shower if you're planning a really small destination wedding, you may invite people who won’t be present at the main event to the shower, but refrain from doing that if you're having a larger wedding.

Shower hosts can be a range of people. In the old days gone, a traditional bridal shower was never organized by family members who couldn’t even take part in the planning. Nowadays not only bridesmaids and family friends are playing host. Today, the bride's family, including mother and sisters, more rarely even the groom's mother can throw a shower. Even thought the bride is always excluded from playing a host, she can take part in the planning and decision-making, even choose the date and the menu.

Whether the host is a bridesmaid, sister, cousin or mother, she should always be on hand, alongside the bride, to meet guests. And don’t forget to provide place cards if you have a party with sit-down meal.

Traditions

The tradition of the groom showing up with flowers just before the gift-giving ceremony is long gone. Guests who haven't met the groom before have a nice chance to be introduced before the wedding. But if the groom isn't able to attend the party, consider placing a framed photo of the couple at the event.

Traditional bridal shower rituals are still popular, including making a bouquet out of the shower gifts' ribbons and bows and using it as a stand-in for the real one at the wedding rehearsal. Another old-school tradition about having something old, new, borrowed, and blue on hand, is still one of the favorites of today's brides as well.

Or you may choose to create a new tradition that will add a great deal of sentiment. You may pass around photos from the shower of the bride’s mother, or take a snapshot with multiple generations of women.

Location

When deciding where to have a bridal shower try to choose a location that's memorable for the bride. Many people prefer to celebrate in venues where their parents got married or some other personally historic event took place. Others feel like celebrating in a favorite restaurant, where they might know the owners. Especially beautiful are outdoor showers in a park, garden or backyard, but always make sure you have a rain plan, just in case. But the most intimate place for a bridal shower is, of course, home. This highly personal location that can be either her grandmother’s home or her childhood home is becoming more and more popular as it makes for the most intimate shower of all.

Some decades ago the bridal showers were exclusively daytime affairs, nowadays evening showers are becoming extremely popular mostly due to the fact that choosing evening time is the only way to rent out a restaurant. Besides busy schedules and expenses justify hosting a combination event which is a new trend now. So an exquisite dinner with girlfriends can serve as a shower and bachelorette party in one.

To help make the spot you have chosen really personal and chic, event planners advise to scent the space with aroma candles or room spray to match the theme of the shower.

Themes

When choosing a bridal theme the hosts should be really creative and take into account the bride’s interests and the shower location. Think about the bride’s style, her favorite food and drinks, where she likes to hand out, the activities she enjoys and what inspires her and try to incorporate those things in her shower. It can be really tricky but it is essential to focus on one thing that is very important for the bride and stick to it.

The best way to create the right atmosphere and make a bridal shower special is deciding on a color palette. You may choose the bride's favorite colors for an extremely personal palette or opt for blush pink, white, and gold to evoke romance. But the trend of the season is choosing metallics: just imagine a strikingly beautiful room all filled with splashes of silver and gold.

Gifts

These days there is a huge variety of the gift-giving options. It is rather common to tell the guest the gifting themes, such as lingerie, kitchen or personal interests of the bride. Especially lovely are Round the Clock' showers when every attendee is assigned a specific time of day, and it is required that the gift should relate to it. Midnight, for instance, could be Champagne; eight in the morning could be coffee.

Another trend is to include registry information into your shower invitation and it is perfectly acceptable, although it doesn’t mean that all guests have to use it.

As throwing a shower party can be a rather expensive undertaking, it would be nice for a bride to offer thank-you gifts to her hosts that can double as decoration for the event itself.

Opening Gifts and Saying 'Thank You'

Naturally the guests will appreciate if the bride will keep the tradition of the shower alive and open her gifts in their presence. But some brides feel really shy during the gift opening even though it is often the most memorable part of the event. If the bride just can't handle all the attention the hosts can ask guests in advance to wrap their gifts in cellophane, and put them on display at the shower for everyone to see.

After the bridal shower the honoree should send all guests thank-you notes by mail. Even though sending shower invitations by e-mail is considered OK, sending thank-yous by e-mail is definitely no-no as pen-and-paper notes are the only polite and socially accepted way to express appreciation. To prevent accidentally forgetting guests or gifts and make sure that everything is organized the right way, the bride may ask the maid of honor or a family member to make a list of who gave what.

A Thoughtful Gift

It is obvious that the more thoughtful and off-beat the gift, the better. If the guests are not sure what to present the host can suggest gift ideas as well. A good idea is to fill a recipe box with gift cards from the couples' favorite places that may include ice cream shops or the bride's hair salon. From time to time they can take a gift card from the box and treat themselves. Or you may start a scrapbook on the shower day with notes about each gift as well as ribbons, cards, and special keepsakes.

Favors for Guests

Searching for creative favor ideas? Consider giving umbrellas hinting at the "shower." Sometimes bridal shower favors for guests can even do double duty. For example, at the alphabet-themed shower the seating cards can be notepads printed with the person's name, and go together with colored pencils; the combination will also serve as the favor to take home. Another option is to favor your guests with delicious jam.

Drinks

As for beverages, it's nice to have one signature cocktail and several fun drinks, including an alcohol-free one. Choosing shower drinks experiment with the colors: purple cosmos and blue Hpnotiq or red sangria. Also, it is a good idea to take into account the seasons: in the winter consider serving apple cider and lemonade in the summer. Besides offering traditional wine and Champagne, also serve alcohol-free "mocktails" for mothers-to-be and nondrinkers. Today when coed showers become more and more popular, it's also nice to offer a full bar with lots of options.

Hors D'oeuvres

In terms of hors d'oeuvres people prefer cocktail food that is one bite as eating anything bigger can be messy or too awkward. Comfort food and casual fare like little grilled-cheese sandwiches with a demitasse of tomato soup can be equally chic.

Here is the example of the three-course meal served at the perfectly executed bridal shower: salad with edible blooms and a choice between chicken with morels, asparagus, and citrus demi-glace or roasted sea bass with shaved pear and fennel salad. And finally a refined cake for dessert.