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A few simple steps to do it up right (expert advice)
photo by Purple Peony Couture
By Lisa Butterworth for our sponsor, Etsy Weddings
What do you do when one of your best friends gets engaged? If you’re like me, beyond the excited squeals and enthusiastic hugging — you have no idea.
I met my friend Jeanette when we were five years old. Five! And when one of your best friends gets engaged — as Jeanette recently did — it's time to celebrate her. Here’s a helpful breakdown of the party-planning process — so when it comes time to throw your best girl a bridal shower, you can honor her in style.
Photo & Invite Design by Erin Mowry
1. Pick Invites
We’re going the simple, eco-friendly route and sending email invites through PaperlessPost.com, but there are a ton of adorable, tangible shower invite designs on Etsy, as well as download-and-print options.
Clockwise from top left: Light shower invitation by Youngwanderlust; Hydrangea invitation by Digibuddhapaperie; Whimsy invitation by Yellowbrickgraphics; Love is sweet invitation by Pinkcreativeinvites; Coed shower invitations by Cadencepaige; I Do couples shower invitations by Minkcards. See more shower invites...
This is where a theme comes in handy. If you have a specific vibe, you can decorate accordingly. If your party doesn’t have a theme, pick a color scheme to bring it all together. A few areas you’ll want to decorate: serving buffet, bar area, gift table, activities area, table for favors. Don't forget about centerpieces, string lights, hanging decorations, banners, and food markers for added flair.
Clockwise from top left: Poppy hanging flowers by Whimsypie; Engagement ring cookies by Peapodsnyc; Bride-to-be banner by Fancyflamingo; Mossy pot place cards by Fairyfolk; Corset cookies by Pastrytartbakery; Mr. and Mrs. chair banner by Purplepeonycouture; Candy heart tree by Astylishdesign; Something blue wedding cake cookies by Lindasedibleart. Browse more décor...
3. Plan a Menu
Plan your menu according to the theme of your party or the time of day. If you’re intimidated by all that kitchen prep, make the shower a potluck and have everyone bring copies of their dish’s recipe (here are a couple of adorable, (1) free downloadable (2) recipe cards for such an occasion).
Photo by Erin Mowry
4. Snag Fun Favors
It’s the hostess’s job to send all the party-goers home with a little favor. To go with our beachy, West Coast theme, we’re making friendship bracelets for all of the ladies. Make sure your favor is small but meaningful and tie it in with the theme of your party as best you can.
Clockwise from top left: Personalized seed bomb favors by Visualingual; Pinwheels by Pickledparlor; Personalized honey jar labels by Elsiej; Succulent favors by Tobieanne; Personalized photo sleeve by Myonesweetdaydotcom; Unicorn farts lip balm by Longwintersoapco; Gin and tonic soap by Aromaholic. Shop for favors on etsy...
5. Shower Her with Gifts
The bride-to-be is almost certainly registered with at least one department store, but often it’s more fun to shop off-list, especially for a shower present. Kitchenware and home décor are excellent go-to gift genres, but a sassy piece of lingerie will always be welcome, too.
Clockwise from top left: Bride panties from Bridalbooties; Chill pill soap by Kcsoapsnmore; Vintage clock from Ethanollie; A Guineafowl Gathering painting by Unitedthread; Ceramic salad bowls by Blueskypotteryco; Dry rub spice trio from Craigsmarket; Customized rubber stamp by Housethatlarsbuilt; Personalized wood initials ring by Braggingbags; Vintage ceramic teapot from Hindsvik; Wood ampersand by Hindsvik. See more gift ideas for the bride-to-be...
Whew! That’s a lot of steps. The most important thing to keep in mind is to create an environment that will allow your guests to have fun, even if the cupcake frosting isn’t perfect or the décor doesn’t totally come together. As long as it’s memorable, and the guest of honor feels loved, you’ve done an amazing job.
Lisa Butterworth is a writer and editor soaking up the eternal sunshine in Los Angeles. When she's not on the hunt for the latest and greatest in girl culture as the West Coast editor of BUST magazine, she's flea marketing, taco trucking, and generally raising a ruckus.1
Photo by Michelle Lindsay Photography
The bridal shower is an opportunity for friends and family to celebrate a bride’s upcoming nuptials. While it should be a fun and relaxed event, there are lots of questions and etiquette concerns that often arise. Check out our top do’s and don’ts for planning a bridal shower.
DON’T invite people who aren’t going to be invited to the wedding. The only exception would be if you’re having an extremely small wedding (like, less than 20 people) and your guests know and understand this in advance. Also, if your office is hosting a shower for you, not everyone you work with needs to be invited to the wedding.
DON’T host the shower yourself – it looks like you’re asking for gifts. Normally, the maid of honor and bridesmaids host the bridal shower, but it is acceptable for family members (yours or your future spouse’s) to throw you a shower if the situation is appropriate.
DO allow multiple parties to throw a shower for you, if they want. But DON’T expect guests who are invited to multiple showers to bring more than one gift. They only need to bring a gift to the first shower they attend.
DON’T use the wedding décor as inspiration for the bridal shower. The bridal shower should have its own theme and color scheme – let the wedding’s décor be a surprise!
DO send a paper invitation, rather than via email.
DON’T include registry information on the shower invitation. It may be noted on an insert, or guests may be directed to the couple’s wedding website which can feature registry information.
DO set up an activity for guests. This will allow everyone to meet, mix and mingle. From a toilet paper wedding dress contest to a cooking class, a group activity will liven up any bridal shower.
DO create a ribbon bouquet. We love this tradition, a bridesmaid or other attendee can gather all of the ribbons from the gifts and create a bouquet for the bride to carry at the rehearsal. Just be sure that the bride takes it home with her!
DO thank everyone promptly. Send handwritten notes to the attendees thanking them for their gift, and give a small gift to the hostess or hostesses (some ideas: a personalized mug or a gift certificate for a manicure).
DON’T stress about your shower. This is a party that’s thrown for you, so allow others to do the work and enjoy the day!5
Photo by Frame 36 Photography
Throughout your engagement, thank-you notes will be a constant part of your life. Every time you receive a gift, you’ll need to break out your stationery and pen and hand-write a note to the giver. As much as we love technology, it’s important to write thank-you notes in the traditional way.
If you’re having a bridal shower, you’ll need to write thank you notes no later than two weeks after the event. Yes, we know you’re busy but it’s essential to show your guests your appreciation in a timely fashion - so don’t let yourself get behind. Purchase nice stationery, but don’t use any paper goods with your married name or monogram on them until after the wedding.
While your thank-you notes should be personal to each guest, there is a formula that you can follow to make writing them a snap. Here’s how it should go:
Thank you for the (name the gift)
A sentence about how much you love the gift and how you will use it.
A sentence thanking the person for attending your shower (or expressing sadness that they weren’t able to attend)
Share how you are looking forward to seeing them at the wedding (if they aren’t attending the wedding, say you’re looking forward to seeing them soon and share where you’ll likely see them – Thanksgiving dinner, at church, etc.).
Here’s an example:
Dear Aunt Suzanne,
Thank you so much for the lovely teapot. I’ve been using it every evening to make a nightly pot of tea for Sam and I. I was so glad that you could attend my bridal shower and hope you had a great time. Looking forward to seeing you at the wedding next month!
Easy, right? So get out those pens and stationery and start writing your bridal shower thank-you notes!0
A bridal shower is a lot of fun – not only for the bride-to-be, but the special women who get to share in her joy and excitement. Besides gifts and chattering about the upcoming wedding, bridal showers are known for their fun, humorous and sentimental games. With all the ideas out there, it can be difficult to decide on bridal shower games for your shower.
For a little extra help, here are some things to consider when deciding which bridal shower games you will choose.
What Are Your ‘Girls’ Like?
Typically, bridal shower games are made fun by the unique personalities of the women present. One way to determine great bridal shower games is by thinking about your friends and family members and what their personalities are like. Do most of your friends enjoy watching movies and keeping up with Hollywood romances? Maybe they are all suckers for a good love story. If so, you could play the famous couples bridal shower game.
For this game, you simply write one half of a famous couple on a sheet of paper – then call the name out during the game. The guests try to determine the other half of the couple. If you have a themed bridal shower, you can choose couples who fit your theme. For example:
Romeo and Juliet
King Arthur and Gwenevere
Hagbard and Signy
This is sure to be a great bridal shower game that your girls will have a lot of fun with!
Will You Be Having a Destination Bridal Shower?
If you will be having a destination bridal shower, there are many bridal shower games you could play. Think of bridal shower games which would integrate into the destination. Will you be exploring the nightlife, spending time at a spa or having an adventure with your girls? Consider games that allow you to continue playing while you’re traveling from one place to another.
For instance, the ‘memory lane’ game would be great for a destination wedding. Each guest is given a task of finding one thing that reminds them of the bride and groom before the night is over. At the end of the night, each guest will produce their object and tell the story of why it reminds them of the couple. This is one of the best destination bridal shower games and with the mix of funny and sentimental stories that are sure to be told – there won’t be a dry eye or a frown in the whole group!
Bridal shower games are not only a way to have fun at the bridal shower. They are a great way for the bride and her friends and family to bond, celebrate the upcoming wedding and have a great time. When you’re planning your bridal shower games, keep this in mind and you’ll do fine!1