Actress Anne Hathaway, star of the 2008 dramatic romance movie Rachel Getting Married, once shared, “Weddings are important because they celebrate life and possibility.” And you really can’t celebrate a wedding without a well-planned party for the bride. Well, you shouldn’t, anyway.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, December 2009 alone produced more than 135,000 brides in the United States. A whopping 11,867 took place in Texas alone! That is not only a ton of brides, but also a lot of opportunities to hold a wedding shower; and if there is one thing I love, it is hosting a bridal shower. Little compares to the glow of the bride-to-be as she receives attention, excitement, and well-wishes from her friends and family.
Modern vs. Traditional Wedding Showers
The first wedding showers were held in the late 1800s as a way to help less wealthy women pay the dowry to offer to her prospective groom. Today’s wedding showers are quite different and some boil down to little more than an excuse to uncork a bottle of champagne with the girls.
Regardless of how you plan to honor a bride at her shower, the steps for planning the event are basically the same. Here are the steps I used for planning my college roommate’s bridal shower party that I thought others might find useful as well.
- Get Help: There is nothing wrong with pulling in a couple bridesmaids or family friends to help with the planning. Whether you plan to have six guests or sixty, you will appreciate having a backup team to help run errands and pull things together.
- Invitations: Once you have the guest list ready, get to work on the invitations. Do not rely solely on paper invitations. Having a digital copy that you can use to email guests can be very convenient, and if you really want to go digital, make a Facebook event to help keep track of RSVPs.
- Schedule: Miss Manners suggests scheduling a wedding shower anywhere between two months and two weeks before the big walk down the aisle. As for time of day, it can be at whatever time that works best for your bride and guests. For example, a brunch that allows both the bride and her godmother to attend might go over better than a cocktail hour party with the girls from work.
- Location: The location will all depend on the number of guests you invite, the time of day your event will be, the type of people who are attending, and your budget. A backyard gathering for lunch with dessert might be more cost-effective for a large group of people rather than feeding everyone at a pricey restaurant.
- Theme: Any theme you select should reflect either the bride or the bride and groom as a couple. The theme might also be used to direct the type of gifts the couple needs, such as a kitchen party. When my brother proposed to his second wife, a trained chef, we surprised her with a recipe shower. Her maid of honor presented her with a recipe scrapbook while each guest brought a small kitchen item and copy of a treasured family recipe.
- Menu: The menu should reflect the theme. A bridal shower for a bride who plans to honeymoon in Paris might include a brunch of French toast and French pressed coffee. Don’t forget to include some of the bride and groom’s favorite foods! Instead of a cake, consider hiring a local bakery to prepare cake pops decorated in the wedding colors.
- Activities: Along with including traditional trivia games about the bride and groom and passing a journal around for guests to share bits of advice, you could set up a photo booth with wedding-themed props. Don’t forget to have people share their cellphone shots on social networks using a unique hashtag!
- Favors: Allow each guest to take home a favor, whether it is a party bag filled with travel-sized treats like lotion and pedicure accessories, miniature candy bars, or some other way to remember the special day with the bride.
Registering for Gifts
Department stores today not only allow registering for wedding gifts, but also for holiday and birthday gifts. Even if the bride has a wedding registry for the day she walks down the aisle, there’s no reason why she can’t have a separate registry for gifts to help her celebrate the wedding night.
A friend of mine registered for wedding shower party gifts at a large department store, limiting her items to the lingerie department. It was a fun way to update her wardrobe and let her friends introduce her to some fashion choices that she might not have considered otherwise. If you’re a bride-to-be and aren’t sure what kind of gifts you would like to receive from guests on your special day, you can even gather ideas for the perfect bridal shower gift for the bride or couple on websites like www.gift-wiz.com, a site that helps you select the perfect gift for every occasion, every time.
As you can see, there are few limits when hosting a bridal shower party. The primary thing to remember is to avoid doing anything that will risk upsetting the bride, or couple. Otherwise, relax and have fun as you host and chances are the bride and guests will, too!
Image via kelsietaylorphotography/Flickr