A friend or family member just got engaged — so exciting! Of course, you’ll want to celebrate and shower her with love and well wishes before the big day. Bridal showers are a centuries-old tradition for setting up a new bride with gear for her home. We have easy ideas to modernize this still-relevant custom and throw a fabulous shower the bride and her guests will love.
Do: Consult with the Bride
Consult with the bride about what she prefers. It’s all about her! Some people like it when you make a fuss over them and others don’t. A shy bride might prefer an open-house style couple’s shower where she doesn’t have to be the center of attention all day. Other brides may shun tradition and want less present-opening and more “fun with friends.”
Don’t: Get Hung Up on Hosting
Get hung up on who’s hosting, or where. Often in today’s busy lives brides will have multiple showers — among co-workers, family members in her hometown, college friends, or friends in the town she lives in now. Showers can be hosted by the family, the bridal party, the maid of honor, or other friends. More showers equals more fun for all!
Do: Coordinate Guest Lists
Help coordinate guest lists, particularly for multiple showers. Make sure nobody’s invited more than once. Guests who aren’t invited to the wedding typically shouldn’t be invited to the shower. Note: The bride may make an exception if she’s throwing a small wedding or a destination wedding.
Don’t: Become Overwhelmed by Planning
Delegate or let others help. Many hands make light work! Agree on a timeline and date well in advance —a head start means less stress. You’ll need to find a location, design and send invites, and decide on food, decorations, favors, games, etc. Invites should go out four to six weeks before the event.
Do: Discuss Budget Early On
Discuss and agree on the shower budget early on. It can dictate the locale and other important decisions. If someone can’t contribute as much financially, they can donate their skills or time for tasks like flower arranging, baking treats, decorating the space, addressing invites, cooking, or cleaning.
Don’t: Be Afraid to Break Tradition
Experiential days out are the latest shower trend for modern brides – anything from a fitness class, a trip to a winery or spa, a group cooking class, hair and makeup lessons, a mixology lesson, making DIY perfume kits, the sky’s the limit! Some brides may prefer donations to charity or a mortgage fund in lieu of a registry. Consider skipping favors, or send guests home with a simple treat like cute sugar cookies.
Do: Customize the Event for the Bride
Channel the bride and customize the event just for her. Personalize with her favorite candy or flowers, her initials on cupcakes, pictures of the happy couple, or pitchers of her signature cocktail. Set the scene with a theme; especially if you’re throwing a traditional sit-down event. Use anything from a color combination, a destination the bride loves or will be honeymooning to, or even a favorite food (such as wine and cheese, chocolate, BBQ, sushi, or even pizza). Just about any party theme goes! Carry it through the invitations, decorations, and favors. Tip: A secret Pinterest board can be great for inspiration among a group of planners.
Don’t: Make the Bride Cringe with Outdated Games
Make the bride cringe with outdated games (bow hat anyone?!). At a traditional shower, you can up the present opening fun for all with easy additions like a garland to hang “silky little somethings” from; a simple game of Present Bingo; or “Name That Present” with prizes for best or funniest guess. An always-appreciated addition? Pass around a pretty notebook so guests can contribute their favorite tips for a successful marriage, or jot down a sweet memory of the bride.