Tip #1: Have a theme
Whether it is a present-giving theme, an activity theme or even just a color theme based off of the bride’s wedding colors, it is always nice to have something to work off of. This makes planning the food, games, prizes and favor ideas come more easily. My bridesmaids threw me an “Around the Clock” themed shower where everyone got gifts that went with a specific time they were assigned (ex. My friend Christie gave the most amazing gift for 8AM: a tea kettle and a subscription to the NY Times Sunday edition for a year!). For Becca’s shower, we did a tea party theme. My mother in law, Joyce, let me borrow her fancy English tea set and we munched on tea sandwiches, and sweets like petite four tea cakes and mini lemon tarts. The easiest thing to do is to go off of the bride’s wedding colors. Money saving tip: Go to a local farmer’s market for flowers and ask them to put together bouquets based off of the wedding colors—they will not only put together fabulous arrangements, but they will only charge you usually around $5 a bouquet!
Joyce's beautiful silver English tea set we used for Becca's shower--I also dusted off a china set one of our dear family friends, Kenyon and Shirley, gave us several years ago.
Ali's wedding colors were a vibrant royal blue and charcoal grey which made for an amazing color pallet for the shower. My wonderful husband went to the farmers market and had these bouquets custom made before the shower (I have to suck up to him so he will continue to help me in the future!). Other market-goers loved the colors so much they requested similar bouquets to be made!
Tip #2: Presentation is Key
When I walked into a bridal shower that Kyle’s family threw for me, I was in awe. They managed to make the food spread look professionally catered by using boxes and books draped with tablecloths and scraps of fabric to add dimension and interest to the food display. Money saving tip: Kyle’s Auntie Cheri went to the fabric store and picked up a couple of yards of chocolate brown fabric (one of my wedding colors). She then cut it into smaller pieces and laid it out on the tables to add a pop of color.
My lovely Aunt-in-laws/professional shower hostesses: Cheri and Julie with the chocolate brown fabric I mentioned above.
The food spread at my bridal shower that Kyle's Auntie Cheri, Auntie Julie and his cousin Julia threw me included mini lettuce wraps, a yummy summer soup in martini glasses and other delicious eats!
One of Ali's bridesmaids, Samantha, made these adorable lavender flavored petite fours for the favors. She also made mini-cupcakes to munch on for dessert.
Food for Becca's shower included tea sandwiches made by my sous-chef for the day, Mollie, along with scones and other tea treats.
Tip #3: Never underestimate the power of GOOD FOOD
I used to be on the board of directors for a local community group, and they always had some snacks and drinks at meetings. They said that you never know where people are coming from to make the meeting, or what is going on in their lives. The least you can do is to provide food for them in case they haven’t had a chance to eat during their busy day. Anyways, although bridal showers are really for the bride to be showered with gifts, it is always important to have plenty of good food for guests to feast on to say “thank you” for coming and helping to be there to celebrate the bride. This would not be a relevant blog post if I did not mention food excessively, so I will put some sample menus I had for my last two showers for Ali and Becca (posted in comments). Time saving/organization tip: I got this idea again from Kyle’s Auntie Cheri and his Uncle Jon—they post a menu every time they entertain, not only is it nice for guests to be able to get a sneak peak at the yummy food they are about to eat, but it also helps make sure you do not leave a dish in the refrigerator accidentally and helps you pace your time so that you know how much more you need to get done before guests arrive.
Another of Ali's bridesmaids made fresh baked quiches that fit perfectly into our brunch themed menu.
These fun favors were extra special because Kyle's Uncle Jon, cousins Julia, John, Tanner and his girlfriend Calista all helped to decorate and package them. The shower meant so much because it was an all-family effort!