The bridal shower is a celebration of the bride by her friends and family. This event was traditionally all female, but today this can be a co-ed event. Typically the maid of honor (or family or friends) makes the arrangements for this event. The bridal shower can take place a few months before the wedding or a few days before it. It is easier in the planning process if the bridal shower is held far in advance of the wedding.
The bridal shower is a much more formal than the bachelorette and bachelor parties and invitations should be sent out about 1-2 months before the event. This will give guests enough time to set that date aside and find the perfect gift for the bride. The invitations should include the bride's name, date and time of the bridal shower, location, name of the hostess, and RSVP information. It is common for bridal showers to have a theme for the gifts, so make sure the invitations clearly state the theme. Very often the maid of honor keeps the date of the bridal shower a secret. Surprise bridal showers are always a big hit, but make sure that all the guests know that the party will be a surprise so they don't accidentally inform the bride. Also, make sure the bride will be free because there is no party without the guest of honor.
Usually bridal shower are casual social events. There is often a meal (buffet style, BBQ or pot luck work well), icebreaker games and time for socializing. It is customary for guests to bring gifts to the bridal shower and the main event of the party is when the bride opens her gifts in front of everyone. If there is a theme, such as cooking gifts or bringing a gift that starts with a certain letter in the alphabet, make sure your gift meets these guidelines. Someone should be in charge of writing down who brought each gift. This allows the bride to personally thank each guest for their gift. A simple way of doing this is to write down what the gift was on each card. Thank you cards should be sent to everyone who gave a gift for the bridal shower. This will probably be the first round of what seems an endless list of thank you cards. But guests will feel hurt if you forget to thank them for taking the time to celebrate with you and for their generosity in their gift.
Make sure you give out the party favors before people start leaving. A good idea is to have the party favors on a table by the door where people will pick them up on their way out. Some popular favors for this event are personalized mint tins with the brides name and date of the wedding shower on it. For decorations consider hanging a Happy Engagement banner and blowing up bridal shower balloons. A lace umbrella is always a nice touch for the bridal shower. Since the bridal party is a special time to celebrate the bride, she should have a hat or sash to designate her as the party girl. A party veil, and bride-to-be hat, sash and tiara are excellent options. Specialized plates, napkins and table clothes can be purchased to decorate and set the mood for the event. Personalized napkins and matchboxes also add a nice touch.
By Nicole Mazzeo
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