Ten Tips For Throwing a Bridal Shower

Planning and organising your bridal shower can be a daunting prospect. Whether the Bride-To-Be chooses to do it, or more commonly the Maid of Honour, it's essential to to bare in mind who's invited and what they would enjoy to do. One of the purposes of a bridal or wedding shower is for guests who havn't previously met each other to get acquainted, so when the big day happens, everyone feels like old friends.

1. Choose The Planner

We've seen Brides organise their showers, although theyre usually control freaks! They have enough to plan and worry about and shouldn't shoulder the responsibility of organising their own shower. We always suggest that they get involved, but leave the bulk of the planning to at least 2 close firneds - normally the Maid of Honour and whoever she nominates. Initially there doesn't seem to be much to do, but remember, there's the food, music, guests, decorations and entertainment to think of! Much better to spread the 'burden' on a couple of people you trust and who know what you would like at your shower.

2. Choose The Date

Make sure not to choose a date that falls on a holiday or event that would prevent the guests from coming. There's nothing worse than throwing a shower and only a few people turn up! Also ask when 'key people' can attend. These are people you consider to be the life and soul of the party or are close firneds - or people that you would like to introduce to other guests such as the groom's female family members. The Shower should be at least 1 month before the wedding and you should allow yourselves 2 months to plan. This will give you plenty of time and reduce the Bride's last minute stress!

3. Budget Accordingly

Showers needn't be expensive. If you have the money to splash out on lots of food and rent a venue then great. If you're saving money to buy a new house for example, then best to keep costs down. Things to consider buying are: food, prizes for games, entertainment, favours, decorations. For a typical guest list of 15, we'ld suggest to allow a budget of $500. Whatever your budget, this should be the first thing you decide as it will dictate most aspects of your plan.

4. Pick A Theme

From our experience, basing a Shower on a particular theme gives the most fun as it engages people, especially if you base the theme around your guests' interests. For example, if you're a dress maker and your colleagues are coming, why not have a Fashion Shower and stage cat walks and exchange fashion tips. Make sure not to choose a theme that excludes guests. From a practical view, a Kitchen Shower is useful as guests can bring kitchen related gifts which you will find useful in your new home. Choose a theme, and then follow it through from invitations to shower favours. The theme will help you decide what the shower should involve, for example, a Chocolate Shower would mean a blind chocolate tasting game, chocolate fondues and everyone comes dressed as their favourite chocolate! Always consider the Bride's personality and tastes when it comes to choosing a theme.

5. Guests

Decide on who and how many people to invite. Thinking about the guest numbers at this stage will help when it comes to choosing the venue. Remember: The shower is not only for close friends to get together, but also for your firends and relatives to be introduced and acquainted - so make sure to invite the Groom's female relatives and friends. When the Big Day arrives, everyone will have already bonded and will be familiar with each other. When making a list of guests, assume 10% won't be able to make your chosen date. Only invite guests who are also invited to the wedding, especially if they are unable to attend the wedding as this will make them feel some sense of involvement in your Special Day. You don't want to invite too many people - large groups tend to split off into smaller separate groups. The shower should be about togetherness, not cliques.

6. Choose A Location

Your specified budget will dictate your chosen location. If you have the money to rent a restaurant, bar or other venue then great - it will add a sense of occasion. If not, then throw a Garden Shower and decorate the garden with outdoor candles, balloons, guest-of-honor chair for the Bride, hearts, ribbons and bows. What better place than a warm evening in a secluded area of your local park? Ask the friend with the biggest house! They should be happy to loan a few rooms of their house for an evening - as long as it's tidied afterwards! An at-home shower can still be elegant if thought is given to the presentation. Another good idea is to hold the shower at a location that has significance to the Bride - such as the location of their first date, the restaurant where they shared their first meal, or the place where she was proposed to. Music also helps to add ambience, but make sure the choice is not disruptive to the party and not heavy on the ear - you're granny may not want to hear techno all evening!

7. Food

The food you serve can depend on the theme. For example, if you're having a Garden Shower then a finger buffet and white wine spritzers is apt. If the bride is from Italy then serve Italian dishes. A good idea is to make sure to serve food that isn't messy - your guests don't want to go home with bolognese dripped down their front! Remember you're guests and plan the food accordingly - do you need to provide a vegetarian option? Vegan? Kosher? To add to the sense of occasion, serve food that guests wouldn't eat on a day-to-day basis, such a sushi, tapas, lobster etc... Provide a choice of foods as not everyone will share similar tastes!

8. Plan Some Games

Games are a great way to keep your guests involved and entertained for the whole evening and are great ice breakers. It also helps to put people at ease and talk to each other. There are plenty of free shower games out there, or you could play board games or classic games such as Charades. We have our own Bingo Game that you can download for free (more coming soon!). In our experience, the free games that are available on the internet are either of low quality, look cheap or require an amount of time to setup. We think it's much better to spend a few dollars on a couple of great Bridal Shower games that look great and save you time. Everyone should be included in the shower games, although be mindful that not everyone is as confident and bold as you!

9. Gifts

Guests appreciate a few guideliens so their choice of items are narrowed. You may even want to compile a wish list. The wish list can be based on the shower theme. This is useful for those wanting practical gifts, for example a Kitchen Shower would mean guests bring gifts for the kitchen, a Garden Shower would mean guests bring gifts for the garden. Remember: you don't want to appear greedy or disingenuous. Your guests shouldn't be made to feel they have to bring you a gift, otherwise they will do so begrudgingly, or not turn up altogether! Normally, shower gifts are IN ADDITION to wedding gifts, so don't expect people to bring expensive items. You may ask the guests to club together and buy you a group gift such as a day at the local spa.

10. Shower Invitations

Invitations should reflect the theme of your shower. Make it stylish or classical, fun or funky, quirky or novel. Whatever design you choose, it should display the RSVP name and number, the date to RSVP by, the shower theme, host's name(s) and obviously the date and location of the shower. You may also want to include the directions, wedding date, gift wish list or a comical poem and any further descriptive text that will aid the guest. You want the guest to come, so make sure the invitation is appealing and... well...inviting! If you're sure all your guests use the internet, then its acceptable to send out invites by email, just make sure this doesn't exclude anyone. Don't invite people by phone as people will tend to forget dates if its only been verbally agreed. The preferable choice is to send a traditional card invitation so people have a physical reminder, and then email people 2 weeks in advance of the shower to keep it in the forefront of their minds and to confirm they can still attend.

Bridal Showers are a great way to get people involved, build up anticipation to the Big Day, receive gifts and above all - have fun! Keep that in mind and you can’t go too wrong. We hope the above tips take some of the chore out of organising the event, and we wish you a wonderful shower!

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