The New Bridal Shower Rules For Hosting a Unique Party
If you're a bride, a host, or a guest and you're dreading the bridal shower, it's likely because you associate the party with awkward games, stuffy food, and boring, too-long gift-opening sessions. Before you write off the celebration as another chore on the wedding to-do list, though, you might want to reframe your perspective. Sure, bridal showers of the past involved those toilet-paper wedding dresses you hate, or served tea sandwiches that don't appeal to your appetite, or required the lady of honor to unwrap presents uncomfortably as everyone stared at her. But no one's holding you to yesteryear's standards—it's about time that we made the pre-nuptial event our own. Throw everything you know about bridal showers to the wind, and get updated on what's new and acceptable for the affair.
We've seen a lot of bridal showers in our day, and we've talked to tons of creative planners with unique visions for the soirées. That's why we took it upon ourselves to bend (and even rewrite) the rules. Ahead, see how we scrapped the traditional bridal shower lineup and sought out to inspire a more personalized party. We've provided ideas for your theme, activities, and details, so that no one involved—from the bride to the attendees—leaves the bridal shower you throw disappointed. The purpose of the event is to bond, celebrate, and have fun. These tips and tricks allow you to do just that, and are sure to impress those tired of the same-old, outdated bridal-shower story.
Pick a Palette
When it comes to shower stationery, why not go with colors and an aesthetic that complement what the bride has chosen for the big day? For a wedding taking place at a winery on Long Island, we chose a Minted bridal shower suite in a regal shade of purple that matched the bridesmaid dresses. A kraft paper envelope picked up the colors that would show up at the barn reception.
Go Somewhere Special
Just because Grandma will be attending doesn't mean a bridal shower must be held in a family member's living room. For this Brooklyn bride, brunch at Pulino's on the Lower East Side of Manhattan was far more fitting. On the menu? Classic Italian fare.
Pack Some Décor
When planning a shower at a restaurant, keep in mind your décor must travel. These accordion photo centerpieces were inspired by a Paper + Cup template that's a cinch to customize. Since they fold into perfect rectangles, they are easy-to-transport and still have a personal touch.
Create Menu Cards
It's All in the Details
Dress Your Tables
Transform restaurant tables into a personalized party space by adding a few simple touches: We created a blue table runner made of wrapping paper then added Mason jars full of baby's breath.
Schedule an Appearance by the Groom
A framed photograph of the happy couple, which the bride took home afterward, hung over the table. Here, the bride shares the story behind the picture with her flower girl.
Play Non-Awkward Icebreakers
Rather than relying on name games, guests instinctively found their faces among the photo centerpieces which then sparked conversations between new acquaintances.
Serve a Signature Drink
Glasses of white peach sangria added a pop of color to the tablescape.
Opt for Family-Style Servings
Cut out the confusion that comes with a dozen different food orders and opt to go family-style. It'll also ensure that everyone can sample as they please.
Cook Morning Classics
For those craving breakfast, Pulino's pancake skillet baked with blueberries and lemon ricotta, shown here, and a cheesy baked egg dish were on the menu.
... or an Ultimate Lunch Favorite
Pizza may not be on the every bridal shower menu, but if your bride can't get enough of the doughy stuff, it should be! Guests shared slices of mini margherita pizzas topped with tomato, mozzarella, grana, and basil.
Create a Hashtag
The invitations informed guests that gifts were not required, rather their "presence would be their present." A few small gifts, however, were of course welcomed and opened casually throughout the meal.
Surprise the Guests With Gifts, Too!
Remember the Flower Girl
For underage party goers, separate party favors were prettily packaged, including floral hair accessories. The maid of honor also toted home a few jars of baby's breath to decorate her room at home.
Plan a Scavenger hunt
This bridal shower involved a scavenger hunt around the grounds where the wedding was to be held the following weekend. The bride-to-be and her ladies deciphered clues leading them to different spots around the gorgeous property until they ended up at a picnic spot to celebrate the upcoming nuptials.
Indulge in a Boozy Sundae Bar
This retro ice cream parlor bridal shower came complete with ice cream, bourbon, whiskey, and of course all of the candy counter necessities. Ingredients and toppings for the boozy sundaes were displayed in dishes and canisters and arranged in a buffet for guests to enjoy.
Accessorize With Flower Combs
Guests at this bridal shower were greeted with flower combs. The florist worked with Chinese-inspired pink and red blossoms to create the combs, and each comb was presented with a card for the guests.
Dine on a Dessert-Only Spread
The bride to be's mom brought family heirloom silverware and mix and match dishes for the dessert-only, afternoon shower. The plates of goodies were placed on a table among succulents, terrariums, and the arrangement of roses, dahlias, ranunculus, scabiosa, lysimachia, and chocolate cosmos.
Embrace a Theme
The pastel color scheme served as a nod to Wes Anderson's use of pastels in his movie The Grand Budapest Hotel, which inspired this shower. The table was set with mismatched vintage pieces, and Lilla Bello put together the arrangements of tulips, ranunculus, garden roses, spray roses, and peonies that ran down the center. The pastry chef at The Peninsula re-created Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolat towers from the movie, and the bride, Jenny Bernheim of Margo & Me, even sent guests home with Mendl's to-go boxes filled with sweet treats from the shower.
Have Fun in a Photo Booth
Instead of a traditional photo booth, this bride used a Flipbooth, which creates flipbooks instead of traditional photographs. The bright and colorful backdrop was inspired by the bold colors in Wes Anderson's movies.