In terms of pre-wedding events, the bridal shower is arguably the most important. It's a day where the bride-to-be will be surrounded by family and friends as they celebrate her upcoming wedding and help usher her into life as a married woman. Compared to the effort that it takes to plan a wedding, organizing a bridal shower seems like it would be pretty easy, but that's not always a case. Depending on who's hosting, how large the guest list will be, and what kind of party the bride would like, planning the shower can actually require a great deal of work.
Luckily, there are ways to make that process fairly painless. Here, wedding planner Shannon Leahy shares her best tips for planning a beautiful, memorable bridal shower without driving yourself crazy.
Remember to keep your plans simple.
A formal sit-down meal is nice, but not necessary. "Rather than committing to a sit down luncheon, serve platters of tea sandwiches and salads, and let guests make a plate themselves and sit wherever they would like," Leahy says. By offering self-serve food and skipping out on formal seating arrangements, Leahy says that the bridal shower's host will shave hours off planning. You won't have to create a seating chart or check out all the different place setting options; instead, all you'll have to do is select pretty centerpieces, choose plates for the buffet table, and order the food.
Leahy also recommends adopting this same approach in terms of how you serve alcohol. She recommends putting bottles of wine out for guests to serve themselves. To make the party feel a little more elevated, set up a DIY mimosa or Bloody Mary bar where guests can craft their own sips.
You don't have to do everything yourself.
Whether you're hosting the shower at home or at a venue, know that you don't have to do everything on your own. For an at-home event, Leahy suggests ordering an array of store-bought foods that can be served on beautiful china and platters you already own. Hiring a caterer? Then consider renting china that can be returned after the event. More often than not, rented dishware can be returned unwashed, meaning you have even less work to do post-party. Leahy recommends using Table + Teaspoon or contacting local rental companies to learn about their policies. If you're looking to take the disposable route, consider Harlow & Grey, a company that offers pretty options that can be tossed out.
Choose your shower's start time carefully.
To avoid the extra effort associated with serving a full meal during the bridal shower, Leahy recommends choosing a mid-morning start time (anywhere from ten to one). This, she says, ensures guests don't expect an entire meal during the party.
Delegate your duties fairly.
Leahy reminds hosts that they don't have to do it all on their own, so delegate all bridal shower duties fairly amongst the bridal party. She recommends asking the maid of honor to take notes on what gifts were received, or asking a bridesmaid to clean up the trash from opened gifts.