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Planning a wedding shower can be very much like planning a wedding – you need to get together a diverse group of people, feed them, entertainment them, and hope for the best. It can be nerve-racking, but remember that the idea is to have lots of fun.
A shower is the perfect kick-off to the actual wedding. Also, it gets together friends and family members who might not have met before.
Anyone but the couple itself can host a wedding shower, but it’s usually the maid of honor. While the host is in charge, it’s a good idea to consult with the bride as to her personal preferences. It’s her day, after all. However, keep in mind that you are the host. If the bride has a list of 50 guests, and you can only handle 30, you get to decide who will need to be cut.
Your first step is to pick a date, which should be two to four weeks before the wedding.
Determine your budget. This will narrow down venue and food choices, as well as the guest list. You’re the host, but keep the bridesmaids involved in decisions and planning. While you are in charge, the wedding shower should be a combined effort of all involved. One of the best ways to do this is to create a to-do list for the bridesmaids and assign specific tasks to each.
Give yourself time to establish a list of invitees. Showers are usually small and intimate, but not always. The event should include family members from both the bride and the groom side, the bridal party, close friends, and the flower girl with her mom.
Anyone invited to the bridal shower is automatically invited to the wedding, so friends from the office or college roommates, unless they are in the bridal party, may need to be excluded.
While bridal showers have traditionally been females-only, coed showers are becoming common. Ask the bride which type of shower she prefers. Inviting the groom would involve inviting his party and friends, as well. This could double the number of attendees, as well as the cost.
A theme is the perfect way to tie the whole wedding shower together and will set the tone for the event, so decide on this early. A theme will allow the guests to tailor their gifts to one specific area of interest. This can be houseware, lingerie, kitchen, etc. The theme will also determine the decorations.
Another way to go is to have a non-gift related theme that emphasizes ambiance and atmosphere, such as romantic, Roaring Twenties, Love in Paris, champagne brunch, beach party, Great Gadsby, or western hoedown. The theme should speak to the bride’s personality and interests. It can also give the guests a chance to get dressed up.
After you’ve decided on your theme, have it printed on a special insert to go with the shower invitations to help the guests choose their gifts. If clothing (such as lingerie) is involved, be sure to include color and size preferences. Do not use the invitation itself to relay this information.
The invitation is the first and best opportunity to convey the theme of the shower. While many people these days are turnings to email invites, printed invitations still carry a certain panache. Order them now to make sure you get them out in time. Whether the shower takes place at someone’s home or at a public venue, be sure to include directions and a phone number.
Now that you have a finalized the guest list, you’ll need to get everyone’s address for the invitations. This is a laborious task, so hopefully, the bridesmaids will be able to lend a hand.
Mail out save-the-date notices or emails. If any guests are traveling from out-of-town, a confirming phone call is a nice touch.
The host’s home is the traditional place to hold the wedding shower, but the host is free to choose any other venue that is fun, such as a favorite restaurant, museum, park, or banquet hall. Of course, a standard high tea with all the trimmings is still a great tradition.
If you need to book a venue, now is the time to decide on the ideal location and book it. You may not know the exact number of guests, but you should have a good estimate.
You should have decided on a theme, so now is the time to decide on appropriate decorations, flowers, and music. Start creating a list of vendors.
As the host, you’ll be responsible for feeding everyone. Any type of food is fine, from pizza to haute cuisine, but it should be an integral part of the theme and blend seamlessly with the atmosphere.
For a country girl, arrange for hamburgers and hot dogs. City sophisticates are likely to enjoy a varied brunch with champagne and Bloody Marys. Of course, a classic high tea will never go out of style.
The time of the shower will help determine the type of food that should be served. A 3:00 p.m. shower will include light refreshments, while a 6:00 p.m. invitation will have guests expecting a full dinner.
Hosting the bridal shower at a restaurant is probably the costliest way to arrange for food, but it’s also the easiest, since everything from cooking to serving to clean-up will be done for you. Popular restaurants usually make every effort to accommodate a large crowd, but you should call them a few weeks ahead of time with the number of expected guests. Most restaurants will allow you arrange for flowers and decorations.
You’ll be arranging for payment, and it’s best to do so discreetly. The restaurant should have your card information before the shower.
Mail out the invitations and keep track of the replies.
Keeping your shower theme in mind, decide on games or other fun things to do at the shower. Treasure hunts or bridal trivia games can be incorporated with appropriate music. Arrange for plenty of pictures to be taken.
If you’re having the event catered, place your order. If you will be distributing favors, shop now from appropriate token gifts for everyone.
Make calls to confirm all reservations and deliveries.
This is a week for shopping. If you are preparing the menu yourself, shop for all food items you will need. Stock up on champagne and other drink necessities. Pick up decorations for the shower. This is a good job for one of the bridesmaids.
Be sure to pick up your own gift.
Arrange for one or all the bridesmaid to arrive at the shower early to help you set up.
Decorate the house or another shower venue. Assembled tables and chairs. Prepare the food and set up an hors-d'oeuvre table.
Designate an area where the bride-to-be will open her gifts. Ensure that someone is keeping track of who bought what for future thank you notes. Presents should be opened after the meal, either during or following dessert. You don’t want people eating while the guest of honor is unwrapping her gifts.
Take lots of pictures and have a blast!