Tips and Tricks to Make You the Hero of the Wedding
The big day has finally come! Maybe it's your sister or your best friend from school. This is somebody you've known for a long time, you've watched them grow up and meet the person they're going to spend the rest of their life with. They're getting married!
But even better, it has fallen to you to organize the bridal shower. Perhaps you're the maid of honor, or perhaps you were given the job of organizing the bridal shower out of love and respect.
Or perhaps you volunteered to organize the party because you know all brides deserve to be treated like a princess leading up to their special day. Whatever the sequence of events leading up to this moment, it's on your shoulders now, and it's up to you to make the bridal shower great.
Not that there's any pressure or anything.
A wedding day is a joyous day, but it's also a stressful day. There are the dynamics of family, the enormity of the event, and the stress of planning. All of these things can make a bride very stressed in the days leading up to the wedding.
As the person who is organizing the bridal shower, there is one obligation that you have that surpasses all the others. That is to not be an additional source of stress for the bride.
People dream about their weddings all their lives, and emotions are running high as the big day arrives. Many brides get so stressed out that they forget to enjoy themselves.
Don't forget that at the root of it all, a wedding is nothing more than a big party that the bride and groom are paying for (or their families). You deserve to have fun at your wedding, and you deserve to have fun.
In fact, the bridal shower is a great time to sit the bride down and say, "This is your wedding, don't forget to enjoy it!"
So, any time you start to feel stressed about your obligations as the bridal shower planner, take a deep breath and remember that the stress you're feeling is a drop in the bucket compared to what the bride is going through.
And if you're still feeling stressed, read on, because this article contains everything you know about planning the perfect bridal shower that the bride will remember forever.
What is A Traditional Bridal Shower?
A wedding has historically signified two young people leaving their families and beginning their lives together. Because the people getting married are young, they don't necessarily have all the things they need to either hold a wedding or begin a household.
Traditionally a wedding shower is an opportunity for friends and family to provide gifts to bride either to ensure she has the necessary items for the wedding ceremony, or to start supplying her with what she needs to start a household.
A bridal shower is a nice way for people to help out a young couple in a variety of different ways. It can be embarrassing for a person to ask their family for assistance, and so by appointing a third party as the bridal shower organizer, that awkwardness is eliminated.
The Modern Bridal Shower
With the blending of customs and the changing of courtship and marital relations over time, there are many different forms a bridal shower can take. These days, a bridal shower is fundamentally a party in which the close friends of the bride can celebrate and support their loved one.
Although a bridal shower can take place many weeks before a wedding, it's critical to understand the mounting pressure that comes from organizing a wedding. A bridal shower is a moment of joy, celebration, and relief for the bride who enjoys the comfort of her support network.
At the root of it all, the bridal shower is a party among friends. Parties are opportunities to alleviate stress, and it's important to keep that in mind as you plan and organize the event. Every choice you make as the shower organizer should be to celebrate the bride and help her relax.
Whether you're planning a modern or traditional bridal shower, there are several key elements that you should include and consider:
The Hidden Danger of Invitations
Your party begins with the invitations. That's when the date and place are set, and you're also able to provide a brief explanation to the guests about what kind of party it will be. The guests will have to know more or less how they should dress, and what they're expected to bring.
Although it's up to you to design the party and keep the bride from having anything to do (believe me, she's got enough on her plate). The guest list is the one aspect of the bridal shower that you should take a moment to consult with the bride.
A wedding can be an opportunity to heal old wounds that may have caused pain or awkwardness for many years. But it's very likely that there are some people that the bride just won't have the energy to see on her bridal shower, that she's willing to invite to her wedding.
Family relationships can be complicated, as can a lifetime of friendships. If you're close enough to the bride to have been selected to plan the bridal shower, you should be able to approach her in the early planning stages and discuss the guest list.
It might be best to schedule a private evening with the bride. Bring a notebook and a bottle of wine, or a suggested guest list that she can approve. If the bride says, "no," to any name then scratch it out and say nothing more. Leading up to a wedding, a bride does not need her decisions questioned.
It's best to get the bride's approval for the date, the guest list, and the location. She's the guest of honor after all. Surprises can be nice, but they sometimes add an element of stress. Brides like to know their friends care about them and they enjoy looking forward to their bridal shower.
Don't try to plan a surprise bridal shower. That adds extra stress a bride doesn't need. Chances are in the days leading up to the event; she'll assume her friends have simply forgotten about her and be miserable.
Picking the Perfect Venue
Bridal showers are as unique and as perfect as the brides themselves. The venue for a bridal shower can be anything from a cozy evening in the house or apartment of a close friend, or a trip to the day spa.
There can be an element of surprise within the bridal shower, provided the bride knows the shower is happening, and she approves of a bit of secrecy. Perhaps she knows the date and that a car trip will be involved, but she can be left to speculate on what's actually planned.
Basically, anything is appropriate as long as it fits in with the person you know the bride is. The bride will be feeling very emotional and will appreciate having the chance to spend some quality time enjoying the company of her friends.
Pick something that allows the participants to interact with each other and to share stories. A bridal shower is a memorable moment, and the best memories are shared by people enjoying something together.
Your bridal shower could be a day at the beach or the park, or it could be a running race, or a canoe trip. There are limitless possibilities. What makes a bridal shower a bridal shower is the declaration that it is an activity where friends of the bride celebrate their friendship together.
Pick something that the bride and her friends love to do. Let it be something that relaxes her, and it doesn't have to be extravagant. There are plenty of emotions in play already. All you have to do is give them the opportunity to come out.
You don't have to hire a professional designer to create the perfect bridal shower, but a few cozy decorations are nice. There are plenty of videos and ideas on places like YouTube and Pinterest.
Crafting can be an opportunity for the organizer of the bridal shower to get together with some of her friends and help alleviate the stress of creating the bridal shower. The more people who understand the objective, the easier it is to bring the party to fruition.
The bride will be overjoyed to see how her friends worked together to bring the party together, and the community effort is what creates the seed of a pleasant, enduring memory.
The important thing to remember about decorations is that they're just a piece of the overall experience. Don't get so caught up in the decorations that you forget about all the other elements that make up a successful party.
There are a lot of ideas out there for inexpensive decorations that look just as good as those created by expensive, professional designers. For some good tips and tricks for decorations, food and favors, check out this video:
Starving Guests are Not Happy Guests
Refreshments are a very important part of a bridal shower as hungry people don't tend to have a good time. If you have a lot of activities planned, you might want to have several food options ranging from snacks to something more substantial.
If you plan the bridal shower at a restaurant, the food problem takes care of itself. Again, keep the tastes and preferences of your guests, but particularly the bride in mind as you plan the menu.
It is a good idea to provide some indication of the food options on the invitation so your guests will know whether or not they should eat before they arrive at the event.
Further Personalizing Your Bridal Shower
Once you have the basic elements of your bridal shower locked in, there are a lot of details you can add that will help to create a unique, personalized experience.
Designing a bridal shower is like picking a car, do you want a sunroof, do you want four-wheel drive, do you want two or four doors. There are no wrong answers, but as there are certain cars more suited to some individuals, there are certain bridal showers more suited to certain brides.
If you are really forward thinking, you should take the opportunity on some quiet evening with your friends to discuss what kind of bridal shower everyone wants. Offer the idea as an exercise for poaching ideas, but also let the moment guide your planning should it fall to you to organize their showers in the future.
Some ways in which bridal showers can be personalized are:
It can be a daunting task moving into a new home or an apartment which is why there are so many parties which are designed to supply people with the basic objects they need for survival.
The bridal shower started off as one such opportunity, but over the years, the gift-giving component has taken a back seat to creating a deliberate moment to celebrate the solidarity of friendship.
Acquiring the necessary objects for a wedding is a good reason to have a bridal shower, and if that's the purpose, include directions to that effect in the invitation. It's a great idea to create a gift list at a local department store so that guests can keep track of gifts without accidentally making duplicate purchases.
Another option is to request that the guests bring a modest, thoughtful gift. Let the guests know that they are allowed to bring something not of immense monetary value, but something that is a token or memento of an enduring friendship.
A wedding is the beginning of a new chapter in a person's life, but it's not the end of an old one. As a woman makes the transformation from single to married, she will feel great nostalgia for the friendships of her youth. Give her something to help her recall those feelings whenever she needs them.
Party favors are a somewhat expected part of a bridal shower, and they can be objects of great delight to the guests as well as the bride. Once again, the party favors don't have to be hugely expensive items.
Party favors can be something as simple as a framed picture of the bride with each person who attends the shower. In fact, you could purchase a bunch of frames and a digital printer and set up a photo area at the bridal shower as part of the festivities.
The party favors simply have to be some kind of solid memento that the guests can use to take with them and nurture their own emotions over the shower and the grand change that's about to affect everyone's life.
Be thoughtful and don't worry about whether or not your party favor is the "perfect" gift. Just make sure the guests leave the party with good memories, and some solid item that will help them remember the feelings from the day when they stumble across it years later.
Bridal Shower Ideas for Games
Games are a fantastic way to help cultivate and change the emotion of the room. Perhaps people will be too choked up with emotion to talk normally, and in that case, it's fun to bring out some games or activities.
It's good to have a theme of love or romance as you pick your games. Homemade games are a fantastic choice because they allow you to reflect on your friendship with the bride and tell stories about her.
Always allow for gameplay to be interrupted if someone wishes to share a story about a special moment with the bride. The objective of the bridal shower is to share and remember all the good times that have led up to this upcoming marriage, and to set a foundation for even more great memories to come.
Some bridal shower games:
Plan your activities for the bridal shower based on your knowledge of your friends and your knowledge of the bride. Always remember, the bridal shower is a party that is designed to bring you all together and to relieve some of the bride's building stress and anxiety.
Bridal Shower Themes
Just because something has never been done before, doesn't mean that it's a bad idea. It might just be that everyone in the whole world has been too much of a coward to try it.
When it comes to your bridal shower, you can be safe, or you can be radical. It's just like giving a speech in high school; you won't really know how confident you are in your plan until you get up and have to start talking in front of the whole class.
Again, you know your friends, and you know the things that they like. If you are feeling an undue amount of stress, just get three or four of your closest confidants together and ask their opinion. In all likelihood, they'll be happy to help you plan the perfect occasion.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Classic Love Story
With a classic love story design, you can focus on white and red streamers, balloons and heart-shaped decorations. Perhaps you can advise your guests to come dressed as their favorite characters from classic Hollywood romances.
A classic love story theme is easy to organize as there are always heart-shaped candies and ornaments available throughout the year. Your party favors can be a simple block of wood carved into a desk ornament that says 'love.'
Everyone loves a Disney theme, and if your bridal shower is for a close friend that you've known since childhood, an evening spent watching Disney movies can bring up some very deep and powerful memories.
Perhaps you can even declare a pajama party, and inform all the guests that they have to arrive with casual, comfortable Disney sleepwear (better yet, the sleepwear can be the party favorite).
As you make your way through classics like 'Cinderella,' 'Aladin' and 'The Little Mermaid' you'll remember moments from high school or college that you haven't thought about for years.
A Disney themed bridal shower can help put you in touch with your inner child. In all likelihood, your inner child really needs to come out and play in the weeks leading up to a wedding.
A nautical theme can be a lot of fun, particularly if you and your group of girls can get out on a boat and putter around the lake for the day. Instruct the crew to show up in white boat shoes, white pants, and a navy blue shirt.
Pontoon boats are a relaxing way to get away from the world and take in some sun. Get some fresh air, get in touch with nature, and (most importantly) get away from all the stress. Who knows, maybe you can even finish the outing with a swim?
Perhaps you are feeling a little more rowdy, and you want to blow off steam in a different way. A pirate theme can help you psyche up the bride so she can approach her wedding head on.
Having a silly theme which allows you to yell, "Arr!" and "Walk the plank!" is a fantastic way to break the ice and have fun. Also, there are always a huge amount of pirate themed decorations available at craft and hobby stores.
Welcome to Heaven
It's easy to recreate heaven in your house with white bed sheets and cotton balls. The heavenly theme is a celebration of the imminent joys of marriage. Help give the bride a psychological boost in anticipation of her imminent marital bliss.
An activity can be making angel costumes from simple sheets. It's essentially a toga party with halos. Finish the evening off with films like 'City of Angels' or 'Ghost.' There will be tears, but they will be happy tears.
A wine sampler bridal shower theme might lack nuance, but it's a slam dunk. Make it simple on the invitations, tell everyone that their job is to bring a case of wine to stock the bride's cellar. At the end of the night, everyone may take a bottle home as a party favor.
The party begins when the first guest arrives, and the first cork is pulled. The party continues until there is no more wine, or everyone falls asleep (whichever happens first).
When you've had enough wine, there's no need for bridal shower games to bring forth the laughter and the tears and the nostalgic memories. The wine will call forth all three.
I Promise You, Your Bridal Shower Will be Fantastic!
If you have been putting undue pressure on yourself ever since you were assigned the task of organizing the bridal shower, please relax! You have to take away all the enormity that surrounds the events of a wedding and simply remember it's only a party for your closest friend.
You are allowed to have a great time at the bridal shower. You are allowed to laugh and cry and hug onto your soon to be married friend. The idea is to treasure all the memories that have come before, and to remind yourself that there are new memories yet to come.
A marriage can feel like the end of a chapter, but it's not the end of a book. Your friend will still need you when she is married; you might discover that she will need you even more than she ever did when she was single.
In the weeks leading up to a wedding, all brides become a bundle of stress, almost to the point where they don't enjoy their weddings at all. The bridal shower can be a huge stress relief for the bride. Part of your responsibility is to remind her she has the right to enjoy her wedding.
So relax, pop open a bottle of wine, let your hair down, shed a few laughs, shed a few tears, and take lots of pictures. The bridal shower is for the girls. It's one more day of memories in a life long friendship of fantastic, memorable days. Treasure it (see, I told you the pirate theme was a good idea)!