The First Steps

Planning a Unique Bridal Shower

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The Custom

The underlying reason for a Bridal shower is that it’s a perfect occasion for family and friends of the bride to spend relaxed time with her before the big wedding day. A Bridal shower is commonly hosted by the maid-of-honor and bridesmaids or friends and family of the bride or groom. The custom is said to have grown out of earlier dowry practices when a poor woman’s family might not have the money to provide a dowry for her, or when a father refused to give his daughter her dowry because he did not approve of the marriage. Another custom was to help the new couple set up a home, or to help the bride get together a trousseau. The Bridal shower kicks off the wedding festivities and it is important that everything goes well.

Basic Planning

The bride has probably been stressed from all of the planning, and the shower gives her some much needed time to unwind with her friends. The bride is the princess of the day, so be sure that in your planning you don’t do anything that will make her feel uncomfortable. Unless you feel it’s mandatory to surprise the bride, involve her in the planning. In order to take some stress off of the people involved in the planning of the party, you may choose a location that caters and also has beverages available for the guests. If you are working with a group of several women try to limit the planning to one meeting where you can choose a them and then decide who will do each of the basic planning step like as obtaining the guest list and sending the invitations, accepting the invitation responses, choosing a location, creating centerpieces, buying favors, arranging for the games, selecting the menu or buying the gift. Choosing a theme ensures that everyone on the same page. Give each member of the group a budget and set them loose. If you are planning the party on your own, be sure to make a list and do just one thing at a time.

Theme

A Bridal-shower theme is a way of designing a party around a certain subject, time in history, or part of the world. Bridal shower themes are as varied as the brides themselves and add a specific ambiance to the party. Once you have chosen a theme, the rest of the shower planning becomes easier because invitations, decorations, and favors can all be coordinated to fit the theme. . Whether the bridal shower theme is part of the wedding or unique event that the friends of the bride put together and creates inspiration and a more magical environment. There are so many themes from which to choose. Some of the most popular are: kitchen shower, exotic locale, the bride’s favorite pastime, using the bride’s heritage, plan a shower with her favorite ethnic foods, or stock the bar. A Halloween themed bridal shower can be a fun and inventive way to celebrate the bride-to-be, as long as the event does not scare her away from the altar! Use your imagination to create the perfect theme.

Location

The location is important when having a Bridal shower. If the location will be a venue that is a particular size or that needs reservations, make sure to get the reservations as soon as possible to ensure the shower location. Once the location is decided, it is important to choose the date and time for the bridal shower. Be sure to consult the bride before deciding upon a location.

A local restaurant, the home of one of the hostesses or a Country Club where one of the hostesses is a member are ideal locations. Having the party at a restaurant or club gives you the advantage of using the expertise of a highly trained Catering Manager in planning your party. The Catering Manager’s job is to please her guests. Take advantage of her knowledge to select the theme, décor, food and every other part of the shower.

Invitations

When you’re trying to come up with a unique bridal shower invitation idea, you can drive yourself crazy, but remember the bridal Shower invitation is the first impression of your party. The first thing you will want to ask yourself when you are thinking about a unique bridal shower invitation is, ‘What is the theme of the shower. The theme is very important when you’re deciding what kind of invitations to send. For example, if the theme of the bridal shower is a ‘Cinderella story,’ you can find beautiful imprinted invitations to match or create your own. Many desktop publishing programs have great invitation templates and your local office supply store has a great selection of paper products for printing.

Be sure to plan your bridal shower and order your bridal shower invitations at least 8-12 weeks in advance. If you have many out of town guests attending you may want to mail the bridal shower invitations as early as 6 weeks in advance so everyone is sure to reserve the date for your party so that they can attend. Bridal shower invitations should not only invite your guests to the event, they should contain clear instructions on the location of the shower, any theme that is being used for the bridal shower and an RSVP card that can help you determine the number of guests attending you can expect at the bridal shower. You can always find an approach that will fit your budget from basic one layer bridal invitations all the way up to more expensive and higher quality layered approaches. Paying attention to the little details when it comes to bridal shower invitations can make a nice statement with your guests and provide them with an elegant keepsake of the Bridal shower.

Decorations

One of the best things about throwing a bridal shower is choosing the decorations. Decorations for your shower should pull together the look you’re trying to. The decorations at a bridal shower are very important, particularly if it will be themed. Your decorations can be bright and dramatic, or soft and romantic. Confer with the bridesmaids about the theme of the bridal shower, establish a budget, and finalize decision about decorations, menu, favors, and music and bridal shower games.

Whether working with a Catering Manager, or are creating centerpieces on your own, remember to incorporate the theme of the party. Many people think that centerpieces have to be lavish and expensive, but the simplest bud vase of flowers, monogrammed with the bride’s initials, can make a beautiful statement. Another idea for centerpieces is to incorporate your party favors into the centerpiece. Another interesting bridal shower favor idea is to create a breakaway centerpiece, where several smaller pieces comprise of the centerpiece. This saves time and money. A simple floral arrangement with a circle of theme related favors sets the table with a beautiful and meaningful touch. Favors can also serve as place cards. If your location does not offer a simple centerpiece, or you are looking for something more creative, consider saving money by making all of the decorations and favors.

Games

Deciding whether or not to have bridal shower games and is a very important part of A Bridal shower planning. Bridal Shower Games make excellent ice breakers when the guests do not all know each other. Games also keep things moving along and are a way to facilitate relations between the guests. It’s easy and keeps your guests sticking around until the very end, anticipating the fun that’s in store. About 20 minutes into the bridal shower, it’s time to test your guests with this fun little game that tests their observation skills. Today bridal shower games can be downloaded from the internet and easily printed out on your home computer. Personalized games are also available. Make sure you remember to buy prizes or gifts for the game-winners. Personalized gifts or gifts incorporating the showers theme are inexpensive and can be ordered at the same time you order your favors. These gifts are a valuable keepsake of the shower.

Favors

Favors are not a requirement, but they are a fun way to share your wedding day memories. Bridal shower favors are often personalized with the name of the bride, or of the bride and groom and the date of the wedding. The most precious favors are those that celebrate the bride’s personal style and incorporate the theme of the party. The favors, which serve as small mementos for each of your party guests, should also fit the theme. The selection of party favors is endless. Just remember, the favors you choose should be feminine, elegant, and practical.

Gifts

Once the guests have been greeted and any games have been played, the bride should be led to her chair to open the gifts. After the shower is over, it is proper etiquette for the bride to thank her guests, not only for the gifts, but for sharing the day with her.

The hostesses of the luncheon or party should find the right gift for a bridal shower is to show the bride how much you care. Choose from the bridal registry and select a gift that she might not otherwise receive.

Any Bride-to-be will tell you one of her favorite mementos from the A Bridal shower is a miniature picture album filled with a photo of her and each guest (taken at the shower) and a handwritten bit of advice from that guest slipped into the adjoining page.

It is also proper etiquette for the bride to give a gift to the hostesses as a special “Thank You” for the party.

A bridal shower is a fun way for a friends and family to celebrate her, prior to the wedding whether it is an afternoon luncheon party, a spa retreat, or night on the town, the Bridal shower is always a highly anticipated part of the wedding festivities. Throwing a bridal shower is the perfect way to show the bride how much you care and is a great opportunity to create wonderful, long lasting memories with friends and family.

Laurie Cohen is the mother of three daughters and has planned numerous bridal showers. Visit her website http://ForBrideAndBaby.com for more wedding planning ideas and resources.

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