By, Alicia Hensley
Having an event takes some planning. Here are my tips on planning a bridal shower.
How many guests
Whenever I start planning a party, I always figure out how many people are going to be there first. This way I can find a location and order enough refreshments that will accommodate the amount of party goers. Even if you have people RSVP, I would still make accommodations for all people invited. Now, that doesn't mean rent a stadium because you think 10,000 people are going to show up, but you'll want something that if 30 people were invited, you will all have enough room. Even though some people won't show, some people bring an extra person or two, so it's better if you have more than less. (Plus, if there's extra food, you can always send it home with people or bring it home yourself).
Budget is important. My budgets are generally pretty small, so I do a lot of DIY and ask for help from family, friends, and bridesmaids. Figure out how much you are willing to spend on the bridal shower, and ask the other bridesmaids if they're willing to help with the expense. Once you have a budget in mind, and your bride has given you a list of invitees, you can start planning.
Ask family and friends! If your living room or back yard isn't going to work, ask your family and friends if they know of anything. Sometimes they'll let you use their space, or they may even have a community clubhouse that they'd be willing to help rent. If all else fails, Utah has some beautiful parks, so you can always reserve a park pavilion at a low cost.
Choose a Theme
There are lots of different themes you could work for a bridal shower. Ask the bride what she would want the theme to be (you probably don't want to do a lingerie theme, if that will make the bride and her guests uncomfortable). You can do themes like; cooking (have your guests bring a cooking utensil for a gift), recipes (guests can bring a copy of their favorite recipe), or room in the house (where somebody is assigned a room and they bring a give the bride can use in that room). But, a theme doesn't have to be obvious, a great way to use a theme is by using the same 3 colors (the wedding colors maybe?). If you decide to go with a main theme, use it subtly in the decor. You don't have to go overboard. Remember the star of the show is the bride, not the theme.
I usually have a hard time finding invitations that work. So, I usually just make my own or find cute blank ones at the store and print off an insert with the information. I use Photoshop and print them out on card stock. If your budget will allow, you can find somebody to make them for you here.
Games are expected at bridal showers. I wouldn't do more than about 2 or 3. Sometimes they're cheesy, and sometimes they're not. I do games that people can do by themselves, and with the group. I liked the Bridal Shower Madlibs, because people are able to do them throughout the party and they are given to the bride to read later. I have also done a game where I asked the groom 10 questions beforehand and then ask the bride at the shower. If she misses a question, then she has to eat a piece of bubble gum. If she gets them all right, then she knows her groom, and receives a well deserved round of applause.
Remember when I said make accommodations for everybody? Well, refreshments are included. Be sure to order just a tad more than you think, it's easier to send food home with people than to run to the store for more! Serve refreshments depending on the time of the day. If you're planning the party during lunch time or dinner time, you could do it potluck style (which really helps with keeping it budget friendly). If it's after lunch time, don't worry about potluck, and do a dessert bar instead.
One of my favorite things to do is use what I have. There's no need to go out and buy a bunch of serving dishes and decor for one event. If you don't have anything, ask your mom, your grandma, your aunts, cousins, and friends if they have something you could use for the bridal shower. Make sure you give it back to them clean and in the same condition as you borrowed it though! As far as decor goes, use your surrounding as much as possible and focus on the dessert/refreshment table.
There they are. Whether you are planning a big or small bridal shower, these tips should help!