24 Elements of an Unforgettable Bridal Shower
Throwing a bridal shower for one of your nearest and dearest is a daunting task. You're responsible for celebrating the bride-to-be in a way that everyone will love, so you want to get it right. Instead of stressing, though, take on the assignment in stride. It's an honor to host the event!
To help you plan the best party for your bride, guests, and budget, we've compiled a list of the things that've made bridal showers great in the past. The following ideas are all pulled from real celebrations, making them feasible for you, too. They also touch on tradition and etiquette, so that you can feel confident that your fête meets everybody's standards.
First and foremost, nail down the basics, like who you'll be inviting and what your gathering's theme will be. Then, start picking out the details, like the menu items, activities, and decorations. We provide suggestions for all of these things, and recommend other elements that'll make your soirée stand out. Because you want your function to be something that attendees (including the woman of honor) look forward to, rather than something that they dread (chances are, they've been to or have heard of plenty of boring and awkward bridal showers).
Click through for everything that you need to throw a pre-wedding event to remember. From the location, to the dress code, to the stationery, to the favors, we've covered it all. Trust us, it's the little things that'll make your party a big hit—little things just like these.
A Personal—Yet Achievable—Theme
Think about the woman of honor, and build a theme based on her preferences. You can seek her input as necessary, but do leave some element of surprise. And don't get too carried away. Throwing a pig roast in a Manhattan studio, just because the bride loves a good luau, probably won't go as planned. Know that practical can be just as fun. For example, you can throw a honeymoon-themed party, where guests gift the bride with accessories, tools, and clothes fit for her first newlywed getaway. You could serve honey-flavored foods and play on the word "honey" throughout the party.
The Right Guest List
Don't invite who you want, or even who you think that the bride wants. She doesn't have to know who's coming (a surprise visit from the grandmother that she thought couldn't make would be amazing), but she should approve of everyone on the guest list.
A Great Location
A(n Easy) Dress Code
Set some sort of standard for your celebrants' attire, whether you pick out a color palette or ask them to dress to a certain level of formality. It makes photos that much better! That being said, don't push their buttons by expecting anything unreasonable.
Some Wedding White
As for the bride, we're partial to wedding-white. If she goes that route, let her know that she doesn't have to look bridal! She should show off her personality while steering clear of anything too similar to her wedding dress.
A Wedding Hashtag Used Now and Latergram
Keep all of her wedding-related images corralled in one virtual place, and she'll have an album to click through for anniversaries to come.
A Snapchat Filter
Instead of swiping through premade options, consider creating your own Snapchat filter. It'll literally leave its mark on the special day by stamping photos from the event.
You might think that paper goods aren't worth the cost, especially since electronic invitations are available. Don't they just wind up getting thrown out? But if you pick stationery that's easy on the eyes, guests will be impressed. If you'd really prefer to send digital memos, at least consider a hard copy for the bride. She can hold onto it as a keepsake forever!
The Right Playlist
Lulls in conversation are inevitable when hosting guests from all walks of a bride's life (her college roommate Karen might have yet to meet her Aunt Betty). Fill the air with on-theme songs to keep the energy up. Ask the bride to make a playlist of her favorite hits, or create a rundown based on the chart-toppers of every year since she was born. Another route is to let the groom create an original playlist, so that he has a subtle—but sweet—hand in the day. You can also launch a playlist on Spotify, or another streaming service, a few weeks in advance of the party, and let partygoers subscribe and add songs—or simply listen in to get into the party spirit.
Signage is a great way to really drive the theme home. Bonus points for cheeky wording, like this "Ash Gone Mild" slogan for a bride named Ashley's shower.
We're under the impression that flowers are involved in too few of life's big moments. Cheery blooms are never not appreciated, and you can even send them home with the bride and/or her guests.
It's the little things that count, and that'll make your event stand out, like personalized tags at each seat. Everyone loves hearing (or seeing) their name, and your attendees will smile when they realize that they've been recognized.
This suggestion is a little broad, but that's because we want you to get creative and include elements that are totally one-of-a-kind. These veggies displayed the names of guests at a farmer's market-themed affair, for example—how genius is that?
Drinks are a must, and boozy ones are probably preferred. We personally love fruity and floral cocktails, though fruit- or flower-infused water is just as classy.
One All-Star Dish
Consider the theme and the bride's last-meal-on-earth dish to dream up a spread that packs flavor, style, and creativity—and doesn't break the bank. Let one dish steal the show. If the bride is crazy for barbecue, then order brisket from her favorite smoker and fill out the spread with condiments, biscuits, and sides bought from a local grocery store or made at home. Above, an ice cream bar stocked with artisanal pints was rounded out with generic candy, bought in bulk.
Instead of hiring a full wait staff, save money and keep things intimate by letting guests serve themselves (they can even make the food, if that's what you all agree upon!). The one exception? A person to man the drink station. Paying a mixologist or friend to serve a signature drink and work a light bar will keep guests where the action's happening—and not in line for a cocktail.
Stuff to Serve With
Just because you can get away with serving yourselves doesn't mean that you should use ugly paper or plastic plates and utensils to do so. Consider renting eye-catching dishes, silverware, and glassware, but don't worry if you can't swing it. There are tons of good-looking disposable options out there for everything from bowls to napkins.
A Fun Activity
If even the mention of a "shower game" makes the bride cringe, a good alternative is a hands-on craft for partygoers. At this shower, celebrants engaged in the super-cool process of making their own lipstick.
A Cool Backdrop
You don't have to go wild with decorations to make your party pretty. Little things (like an easy-to-create backdrop of streamers) are all that it takes.
A Seat of Honor
If the bride in question is going to be opening gifts during the fête, make sure that she's comfortable. It doesn't hurt to turn her seat into a work of art, either—she's the queen of the day and deserves a throne! This special chair was planned by Blue Skies Events Nola and featured Bee's Wedding & Event Designs flowers.
Gifts Sourced from the Bride's Registry
Presents shouldn't all be china and linens. But here's the catch: The bride should know what theme's coming, so that she can stock her registry with relevant items that she also wants. Bridal showers are thrown about three months before the wedding, so her registry (if she's lucky!) will probably be slightly picked over by then. Give her a prompt to fill out her wish list.
A Surprise Appearance
Definitely invite the groom to show up when the party's nearly over, but not empty-handed. He can bring along a bouquet, a bottle of bubbly, or something for the crowd, like mini desserts, or his groomsmen if they live in—or are visiting—town. It's a fun way to follow tradition by keeping the shower ladies-only, then letting the boys and girls mingle later, without throwing a full-on "couple's shower."
Favors Guests Want
If you're going to do favors, make the money worth it. Cute tokens like these monogrammed pouches are sure to get used.