Bridal Showers 101 — Part I

Hello, Hello, Hello!  I know I’ve been MIA for a long time, but I’m back and better than ever!  This week I wanted to tell you guys about the wedding season that just wrapped up this year.  Can you believe I had 10 weddings to attend this year!  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to all of them but I was certainly there for my beastie who got hitched earlier this month.  Can I just say her wedding was AMAZING, so much fun & such a great couple.  I had the best time being part of their special day.

As many of you know, being a bridesmaid is fun but a lot of work. You want to make sure the events leading up to your friend’s special day are a blast.  The two main duties of bridesmaids (besides keeping the bride sane) is to throw a killer bachelorette party & a beautiful bridal shower.  Now the bachelorette party is a whole other post which you can look forward to reading in the future.  This two part blog post is going to focus on Bridal Showers.

The planning process of the bridal shower has several components — the menu, location, decoration, games, invitations, party favours & the gift to the bride. If you’re a first time bridesmaid do not be alarmed by that “To Do” list, you will get it done (but start planning early).  I have had the honour of being in a few wedding parties and planning multiple wedding showers so here are some tips and stories.  Grab some coffee and maybe some note pads & let’s get to work!

The Location

The number one thing to lock down ASAP is the location of the bridal shower.  You need a space that will be able to accommodate all the guests comfortably.  Having an idea of the number of people the bride wants to invite is pretty crucial so you pick an appropriate venue.

For one of the bridal showers I helped plan, the mother of the bride suggested she’d host it at her home as the bride wanted to keep it small and simple.  This is fantastic option (if you have it available) because that decreases the cost and allows you to spend more of the budget on other aspects of the shower!

If someone’s home is not an option you will need to look at other venues.  Private seating areas in restaurants or party rooms in condo buildings both work great.  For another bridal shower I was a part of, we used a party room in the condo building of one of the groomsmen.  That’s right, don’t be afraid to ask the groomsmen about potential location options, they can be very helpful with ideas! For us room rental cost $100, but because there was a larger number of bridesmaids this didn’t take up a huge chunk of the budget.

If a potential host is iffy about having a large number of people over, suggesting an outdoor bridal shower in the backyard may be more appealing.  The risk of course being the weather and its lack of cooperation when needed… also bugs. I don’t like bugs.  For the outdoor bridal shower I attended the weather was gorgeous but there were bees hanging around the punch that made things a like less fun (I’m terrified of being stung).

TROTTING TRAVELLER TIPS: Picking a location that’s easy to find and has plenty of parking will keep your guests happy.

The Menu 

After nailing down the location of your event it’s time to talk about the eats, because let’s face it, a hangry crowd will not make for an enjoyable afternoon.  Try not to make the bridal showers the next Snickers commercial.

For one bridal shower, we were lucky because the bride’s mother volunteered to make a meal.  Pretty much the best mom ever!  Sadly, this is not something you can ASK of the bride’s mother, but hey if she wants to, then why not!

Now, if there is no MOM that’s able to make the food then you’re in charge of putting together a killer menu.  Keep in mind, this can eat up a large part of your budget so you need to make sure you’re saving money in all the right places.  For another bridal shower I was involved in planning, we made most of the food.  This saves money and allows you to bring out your creativity.  This particular bridal shower was Paris themed so we had French themed food — French Toast Skewers, Macarons, Chocolate, Cake, Crossiont Sandwiches, Cheese, and Veggie Cups!

Trotting Traveller TIPS: Finger foods that aren’t messy are the best idea as menu options.     Making sure you have enough food for the number of people invited is crucial because any event that runs out of food inevitably causes stress.  Do not forget paper products like plates and napkins & a drinks station.

The Decorations 

Now comes for the fun stuff!! Decorating can be so much fun … this is where the Martha Stewart in me comes out.  So many DIY opportunities AHHH, how do I contain myself.  First things first, you want to make sure you decorations fit your theme (this seems obvious, but I wanted to start with the basics).  For our simple bridal shower we concentrated most of the decorations around the munchies table & where the games would be played.  We used the window casing as a place to hang the décor; Pintrest was our muse.

For the Pairs themed bridal shower, we may have gone overboard…. we even had a bike as part of the decor!  All that was missing was a puppy in the bicycle basket.  Again to save costs we printed banners and famous paintings off the internet and one of the girls even made a Ferrero Roche Tower!  We had a specific table designated for dessert & and a separate table for games & gifts.  An interesting idea that one of the girls had was having guests bring their favourite picture of themselves with the bride instead of a card.  That way the bride has many memories to reminisce over & can make for some really good laughs.

This year photo booths were a very popular item at both weddings and bridal showers. Our Paris themed shower, of course had an incredible photo booth topped with props & a border of pictures of the bride & groom.

Trotting Traveller Tips: Make sure you understand the policies of the place you have chosen to have your event.  For example, is clean up done by the facility or by the hosts? Are you allowed to put tape on the walls?  What time do you get the room to begin setting up? Are items like paper towel or cleaning supplies provided by the facility? Does the event space have a small kitchen area with running water?

Alright bridesmaids, let’s take a break for a bit, go refill that coffee cup.  I hope you’re feeling less overwhelmed and eager to get planning!  In the next blog post I will share information on fun games, invitations, party favours and gifts for the bride to be so stay tuned.  Until then Dream, Explore, Adventure.


Trotting Traveller ♥