So you have been asked to serve as a Bridesmaid and you suddenly find yourself with the task of hosting a Bridal Shower for your dear friend and want to make it as fabulous as she is!
Fun History Tidbit:
Apparently Bridal Showers were held when a woman wanted to marry an “Unsuitable Man” (and haven’t we all wanted to do this from time to time!?) and her family refused to provide a dowry. The friends of the couple would gather to provide necessities for them to set up their own home.
Today the Bridal Shower is a special time for the (usually) female friends, family and neighbours to “shower” the bride-to-be with gifts, friendly advice and attention while playing games and enjoying great food and getting acquainted with one another.
What to think about?
When to hold a Bridal Shower? The typical timing of a Bridal Shower is between 6 months and one week before the wedding date. There is some flexibility in this timing and it should be altered to adapt to the bride’s circumstances and those of her guests. Eg. if the couple has purchased a home prior to the wedding, you may wish to move up the date to allow for loved ones to purchase items they need right away. The 2-4 month window is nice because it allows the Bride to get excited about a wedding event and also gives the host some breathing space before the wedding countdown begins. It is an expensive and hectic time for a bridal party (mostly just the women!) so it is nice to spread out the events.
Who throws/hosts the Bridal Shower?
While researching this, I found that some of the “Etiquette Professionals” advise against the shower being hosted by a family member of the Bride because it look like they are trying to get gifts for their family member. This strikes me as outdated and a bit impractical. I have attended lots of showers hosted by the Mother of the Bride and it never occurred to me to be offended or think badly about it. Often the Maid of Honour and Bridesmaids would not have an appropriate home to host large parties and there can be a large cost involved so often the parents are in a better position to shoulder this than your bridal party is. Give this some thought but don’t obsess! Who are we kidding- a Bridal Shower is about “showering” the bride with gifts and honouring her.
How to choose a theme for a Bridal Shower
Do you even need a theme? The answer – Of course not! But before you dismiss the idea- here are some things to think about. It can help you when you are making decisions. Maybe it is not a theme, but a style, motif or even colour scheme that is your jumping off point. You will have to send invitations, plan a menu, decorate, encourage mingling, allow lots of time for gifts and ultimately execute the entire event and sometimes a theme will help reign in your ideas and let you create a cohesive and enjoyable event.
For Example: A Handbag Themed Bridal Shower is a good starting point. This would be an obvious choice for the accessory-obsessed bride. The purse motif can be printed on the invitations, reflected in the decorations and cake as well as the games (Whose purse is the heaviest, lightest etc? What is the strangest thing in your purse? Who can guess the weight of their purse? Purse scavenger hunt- eg safety pin, comb, condom etc.) and also the cake or cookies and bridal shower favours.
Should the Bride bring a gift for the Bridal Shower Host?
This is not necessary but is always a nice touch. There is a lot of work and a fair bit of expense involved in hosting a Bridal Shower and you want to show your appreciation. The host is generally a loved one so they are happy to do it for you but fresh flowers, a potted plant, chocolates or a promise of a lunch date is always an appropriate gesture.
The Bride doesn’t want a shower?
This is an increasingly common sentiment among modern brides and grooms. Many couples have lived together for years, often even have children together and do not need their family and friends to help them set up their first home. Some people are very particular in their taste and know that it is too much to expect that others will be able to choose for them and other people do not relish the idea of being the centre of attention and opening gifts in front to everyone. There are so many valid reasons why you may decide to skip a bridal shower and you should respect the needs and wishes of the happy couple. In many cases, an alternative activity or even can be arranged to celebrate the coming union. Consider going out for a meal, a concert, sporting event or weekend cottage getaway to enjoy the company of friends and family in an setting that is not all about gifts.
Go easy on one another
Ultimately you want the pre-wedding process to be fun, enjoyable and celebratory. Weddings are meant to be a time for the families to come together and celebrate the upcoming union. Drama, hard feelings and miscommunication can too often derail the festivities and sometimes end friendships. A bit of foresight and a lot of patience can help prevent this. Though weddings are a time of joy, they can also push on pre-existing hurt feelings, stir up jealousies, strain budgets and threaten fragile family relationships. Go easy on one another. When planning a wedding, follow these simple guidelines and you will have the wedding of your dreams and your friends and family will all rejoice with you.