Congrats—you’re the maid or matron of honor! And you just realized it’s more than standing up for your BFF and helping to pick the perfect dresses. There are duties that come with that title, not the least of which is arranging an unforgettable bridal shower.
No worries. We’re here to help! Save yourself the headache and start by checking out our event planners’ on-point dos and don’ts.
First and foremost: don’t lost sight of the purpose of the event. It’s a bridal shower, a time for friends and family to gather together to celebrate the bride and wish her well on the journey ahead.
Next, know your bride! This will ensure the shower is a fit with her personality and preferences and make it a day she’ll remember fondly. Is she outdoorsy, prim-and-proper, a sports fan or a traditionalist? Does she like (or hate!) themes? Does she embarrass easily? Is she into shower games—or not? Brainstorm with the bridesmaids and the mother of the bride to gain insider intel.
Don’t go it alone.
Do enlist the help of bridesmaids and the moms.
Many hands lighten the load! Gather consensus from the other bridesmaids, and then delegate tasks to make sure no one is overwhelmed. The mother of the bride is traditionally involved, but also consider reaching out to the mother of the groom, if appropriate.
Don’t ruin the surprise.
Do ask for the list and open dates early.
Let’s face it: the bride knows you’ll eventually plan a shower, so keep in touch and make sure you get the wedding guest list as soon as it’s done. That should be fairly early in the couple’s planning, so feel free to ask if they plan to be out of town, oh, say, four to six months hence (wink, wink!).
Don’t forget snail mail invites.
Do go the online route, too.
Pro tip: only invite those invited to the wedding. The couple may have had to make some tough decisions about whom to invite, and you don’t want things to get awkward by inviting the bride’s former high school bestie. As for the invitation itself, go for both paper sent through the U.S. mail and some sort of e-invitation to be sure both Great Aunt Millie and 20-something Cousin Devon can easily reply.
Don’t decorate like it’s the wedding.
Do tailor it to the bride—and theme it if you think she’s game.
This swings back to knowing the bride. Age is a bit of a factor: brides under 35-ish will likely enjoy a display shower with a simple seasonal or color theme marked with easy games like a Q&A about the happy couple (with prizes!). Brides over 35 may prefer wrapped gifts, a bow hat and traditional games like a scavenger hunt from what might be tucked away in guests’ purses.
Don’t overdo the activities.
Do have fun!
Aside from figuring out if the bride—and the crowd—will be into party games, do keep in mind the bride will need time to mingle and visit to greet and thank everyone. Keep activities to a minimum, but remember to have some of the bride’s favorite music playing in the background for a festive atmosphere.
Don’t feel you have to host it at a home.
Do look for a venue that specializes in wedding parties.
Hosting at home seems like a good idea … until you have to clean, re-arrange furniture to suit the number of guests, borrow and squeeze in extra chairs, decorate, cook and clean up. We’re tired just reading that! There are many excellent venues that can handle as much (or as little) as you’d like—at various price points—freeing you and the bridesmaids up to make cute party favors (more on that in a bit).
Don’t assume you can’t afford a plated affair.
Do work with a venue’s event planner to explore all the options.
Grab your favorite bridesmaid—you know, the one with the level head who’s fun to hang out with and will help you make good decisions—and hit a few venues. Call ahead and make an appointment with the event planner. You’ll likely find that a lunch or brunch can be affordable. A few money-saving tips:
- Start with finger foods and hors d’oeuvres, and then offer a simple meal.
- An easy plated meal may very well be in your budget; ask!
- Consider a buffet to encourage mingling—the event planner can direct you to affordable options.
- It’s OK to limit the bar—choose champagne cocktails, beer and wine, and consider the bride’s favorite drink as a showcase.
- Make desserts fun! Instead of a cake, think about mini cupcakes, a pastry assortment or something spectacular like cherries jubilee.
Don’t forget party favors.
Do choose something that will be a keepsake.
Few shower guests really look forward to Jordan almonds packaged up with a bow. Go for something they can use and look back fondly upon, like a cute frame, personalized mini candle or mini bottle of wine. Before the guest takes her favor and leaves, make sure she fills out an envelope (and give the bride matching thank-you cards) so the bride doesn’t have to stress over “thank-yous” as the wedding nears.
We’d love to be one of the restaurants you consider (of course!). At Vickers Restaurant, we specialize in special events. Check out our beautiful venue, and see how we cater to happy couples before and during the wedding. Our event planner would love the opportunity to do the same for your bridal shower.
Vickers Restaurant serves traditional Continental cuisine with classic French flair. Indulge in attentive service and outstanding menus in quaint and comfortable surroundings. The same European service is available through our stellar event planning service. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a wedding for 150, you can rest assured you’ll enjoy the highest level of care and attention to detail. Join us for happy hour, dinner and live piano on Fridays and Saturdays—we’ve got the area’s most extensive European wine list and excel at vintage cocktails. In season, relax in our outdoor garden for drinks or dinner. Vickers is the perfect spot for fine food, cocktails and entertaining.
Flower photo credit: Bonsai Doll Fern Photography; restaurant photo credit: Vickers; cannoli photo credit: Ed Williams; remaining photos credited to BigStock