By Irene Jay
Plan a party the bride-to-be will never forget.
Where, when and how to plan the best bridal shower ever.
Your best friend is madly in love and getting married! And though it’s a pity to lose your favorite wing-woman to her Knight in Shining Armor, what’s better than months full of parties leading up to the big day? Or at the very least, months full of wine, excuses to dress up and hellooo, groomsmen?
So while she’s in charge of taking care of everything else (like seating charts, invitations and writing her vows), planning the most unforgettable bridal shower has fallen into your hands. So while she’s in charge of taking care of everything else (like seating charts, invitations and writing her vows), planning the most unforgettable bridal shower has fallen into your hands.
But where the hell do you start? From ideas and trends to décor, invites and games, here’s how to hit it out of the park when it comes to shower planning.
Why have a shower? The shower is exactly what it sounds: Showering the bride with presents off her registry. After he pops the question (and you guys pop the champagne to celebrate), the bride- and groom-to-be register for all the things they’ll need in their new household, even if they do already live together). Sure, it’s a little 1950s, but that’s the fun of it. It’s a chance to shower the bride with well-wishes and gifts before her strut down the aisle. Plus, she and her groom are picking up the tab on the wedding venue, band, cocktail hour, dinner, the open bar and the fondue fountain, so the least you could do is pick up that Le Creuset she’s been pining for.
When should you have it? You should bank on having the shower at least three months before the wedding, but there are no hard-and-fast rules detailing the day or the time, so have fun with it. If your bride is having a winter wedding, plan the shower for the start of fall so that you can still soak up some of those sunny days and warmer nights. If she’s getting married in late summer, plan an early spring shower. The flowers will be in bloom (think of the photo ops!) and people are less likely to be traveling then.
Where should you have it? Here’s where it gets a little tricky: If your bride is super particular, you might want to clue her in on the planning process, but if she’s not, still keep her taste in mind. The most important thing to remember? It’s about her not you (sorry!), so make sure the venue matches your bride. If she’s having an informal outdoor wedding, planning a low-key picnic shower might work really well, but if your bride is planning a black-tie only affair, it’s a good idea to plan a shower locale that matches the tone of the wedding venue. And if you’re hoping to surprise the bride-to-be, it’s okay to ask for suggestions on where she’d like to be showered in cookware, but keep mum of the final choice.
Who‘s in charge of what? Typically, the mother of the bride (and the mother-in-law) have a fair say in how the shower is handled, but that doesn’t mean the ‘maids are free of responsibilities. It’ll be the maid of honor’s duty to act as the ringleader for the event. She’ll be in charge of making sure there’s party favors, games and enough food to feed the guests. Just don’t forget it’s a shared responsibility.
It’s probably best to make a general to-do list ahead of time and split up the tasks so everyone’s in charge of something and this way, nothing gets left behind or doubled up.
Think of a theme If you’ve been following along with your bride-to-be’s Pinterest, then you probably already have a good idea of what your shower theme should look like. If you haven’t, here’s a quick tip: It should mimic the style of the wedding in some way. For instance, if you’re going to be carrying Gerber daisies down the aisle, splurge for daisy centerpieces on the tables and flower seeds as a favor. Crisp white linens and delicate floral touches keep the theme cohesive. But you don’t have to use the floral arrangements as your guide. If the bride is planning a beach wedding, opt for beach-friendly snacks and treats, and if the wedding is a black tie affair, try working a black and white color scheme into the party mix. Whatever you plan make sure it stays true to the bride’s vision. She’s the one you’re aiming to please!
Decorating tips Again, décor depends on the theme, so figuring that out should be first and foremost on your to-do list. Décor should match the theme as well as your bride, so if she wouldn’t love it, it’s safe to say you should skip it.
Do you need a guest list? Okay, so you’re not planning a Saturday night at the 40/40 Club, but you still need to know who to expect. Start out by stealing a copy of the master wedding guest list, once it’s finalized. You’ll only want to invite the ladies you plan to have at the wedding. Yep, that means you’ll need to invite everyone from Great Grandma Bee and the groom’s third cousin Susie to your friend’s pesky coworker. A tip? Start a Google Doc to keep track of whose RSVP’d and who you’re still waiting to hear from. On the day of the shower, print it out and keep a few pens nearby. You’ll need to keep track of who gifted what, so the bride can write her thank-yous.
Do we have to be polite? The short answer is yes, because you’re spending the afternoon surrounded by faces you’ll likely see again (at the wedding), so you don’t want to leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth. The long answer is that though we’re living in a modern age, weddings are still incredibly traditional, so people expect a certain type of behavior. A good way to differentiate? Be a lady at the bridal shower and a freak at the bachelorette. Okay, fine, not exactly what Ludacris sang, but still, it’s useful.
Games You don’t have to plan tons of games (especially if your bride isn’t the gamey type) but a few tongue-in-cheek quizzes to pass the time are usually appreciated (and fun!). The best times to play? Before the main meal is served and before dessert. It helps break up the party and won’t distract guests from the main event — the gifts!