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Planning a Fun Bridal Shower

Planning a wedding is stressful. There are so many dates, appointments, and tasks to attend to. The bridal shower often proves a nice break for any Bride-to-Be. It's a day to pamper her, to celebrate her and her pending nuptials.

Should you be assigned the role of hostess of the event, there are few things to keep in mind to make your bridal shower go as smoothly and successfully as possible.

Hosting the Event

Traditionally, etiquette says that mothers and sisters should not host a bridal shower. This role is usually given to the bridesmaid(s); however, it's not a major faux pas if a close relative does end up with the job. In some cases, this might be the only option given time, location, and circumstance.

Most bridal showers are held in the home. A lovely setting is a garden or patio during the springtime. The other common venue is a restaurant, but consider the expense of renting out space as well as the cost of paying for everyone's meal. You should never choose a restaurant and expect guests to pay for their own meals (which in a sense, is them paying for the bridal shower).

Thematically Speaking

If one is used, bridal shower themes focus on the Bride-to-Be and her future life. They either revolve around pampering her in the here and now or they focus on the journey she's about to take. Popular choices include:

  • Bed and Bath: Decorate the home with bed-and-bath gifts.
  • Kitchen: Bring this room to life; gifts range from cooking gadgets to Recipe Club memberships.
  • Day at the Spa: Make her day as relaxing as possible; gifts focus on spa products.
  • Garden Party: Set up tables to seat 3 or 4 guests; decorate each with a pot of tea and flowers.
  • Tea Party: Model yours after the Afternoon Tea served in English tearooms.

What You Need

Regardless if your build your bridal shower around a theme or not, you'll still need a few basics:

  • Food: Mostly appetizers, finger foods, party platters, and fruit trays. From stuffed tomatoes to wontons, the setup for most bridal showers is buffet. If you're having brunch, the menu should be light and elegant as well (small portions, soups, salad). For tea parties, the essentials are scones, shortbread, and cream.
  • Cake: The centerpiece of any bridal shower, the cake should capture the theme or color scheme of the event.
  • Decorations: For bridal showers, decorations aren't as important as say for a birthday party. You simply want to maintain a consistency throughout, so the same flowers, color scheme, and table settings. A crafts store like Michael's should have everything you need in one trip.
  • Games: Bridal shower games aren't necessary, but they're a great way to inject energy into a room. For the Bride-to-Be, you want the shower to never lag. It should always be in high spirits, as the event reflects on her as well - despite the fact that she's not hosting it. Some classic games include 'Bridal Dress' (made from rolls of toilet paper) and 'Who Knows the Bride Best,' which tests each guest's knowledge of the Bride-to-Be's likes, dislikes, hopes, and favorite things.
  • Favors: While favors aren't always given way at bridal showers, nice 'thank you' gifts include souvenir tins, mini champagne bottles, and edible treats like brownie pops or photo cookies. Idea: Creative and inexpensive, a photo cookie can be wrapped in pretty cellophane and tied with a bow. As guests leave, they can take one from a decorative basket or tray.
  • Thank You Cards: To help the Bride-to-Be, you should keep track of all the gifts given. This will simplify the thank-you card process, as each card should be personal and correspond specifically to the gift received.

Invite the Guests

Planning a bridal shower begins with choosing a date and venue, making a guest list, and sending out the invitations. If you're having a themed bridal shower, you should try and incorporate it into the invitation. If anything, the color scheme should match. The invitation should cover the following information:

  • Name of the Bride-to-Be
  • Location (directions)
  • Date
  • Contact information (for questions/RSVP)
  • Theme (dress attire i.e. casual, elegant, etc.)
  • Bridal registry (handwritten note)

Regarding the bridal registry, guests will welcome this clue in finding a good gift. As with baby showers, it's perfectly fine to include a registry name. However, be sure not to write it out. This makes it more personable. And never include a bridal-registry card from the store(s).

Invitations should be sent out well in advance. As with any party, it's proper etiquette to give guests enough time to decide and plan. Pick a date that doesn't conflict with holidays and follow-up with any outstanding RSVPs two weeks prior to the party.

Make It Special

When hosting a bridal shower, it's important to focus on the details and dates, but it's also critical that you consider the person you're throwing the party for. What would she like? Let that be your first clue in creating a memorable event for her and her guests.

Budget is secondary. It's not about who can spend the most, but rather, who can make this day a special day to remember. That's the key to success for any bridal shower celebration. You can do it. Good luck!

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