Showers, whether baby or bridal, have a tendency to be cutesy, stuffy, and, let’s face it, boring. It’s a great way for the bride-to-be to get those new towels and that mixer, but the words “I have a shower to go to” are too often accompanied with a sigh and an eye roll.
So let’s change that. Instead of throwing a shower better suited to your great-aunt’s parlor, throw one the bride-to-be will remember and guests will be talking about long after the wedding bells have faded.
Bridal showers are traditionally held in the home of a friend or a family member, but brides today have a variety of options for location at their fingertips. Ditch the old lady vibe for something more fresh and fun.
1. Go local
Every city has its charms and its hidden gems. A boutique candy shop, a funky museum, or even a local restaurant can be a perfect spot for a modern bridal shower. Many venues that wouldn’t be appropriate for a wedding reception are more than happy to host showers, which tend to be more low-key.
2. Go sentimental
You may have to do a little digging for this one. Where did the bride and groom meet? Where was their first date? Find a spot that is important to their relationship and host the shower there. She will appreciate the personal touch, and the sentiment will make it so much more memorable.
3. Go natural
If you are lucky enough to live in a region with tons of natural beauty and a bearable climate, head outside. Especially if your bride loves the outdoors, natural parks, lakeside retreats, and mountain lodges can all be called upon to host an out of the ordinary shower.
Cookies, fruit platter, veggie tray: standard fare at many showers, both uninviting and boring. How can you spice up the offerings at your shower?
1. Get interactive
Hands-on food bars are a huge hit at showers. From ice cream bars with sprinkles and fruit toppings to caramel apple bars with dipping sauces and apple varieties, the possibilities are practically endless. You can even let guests customize their own sangria or mimosas by providing multiple juices and fruits to accompany the wine or champagne. Just make sure you provide plenty of dishware. With so many choices, your guests are bound to head back for more.
2. Get tiny
Somehow tiny versions of regular food just taste better. Not to mention that they are visually more cute. Mini pancakes topped with a single blueberry or strawberry slice, tiny individual wedding cakes, or itty bitty shrimp cocktails — anything full sized-can by minimized into a classy and quirky version of itself.
3. Get stuck
Putting food on a stick isn’t just for county fairs. Layer sponge cake and strawberries for strawberry shortcake on a stick. Stack olives, salami, and mozzarella for antipasto kabobs. Or even skewer together donut holes and fruit for a fun breakfast-themed treat.
Games at showers get a bad rep, mostly because they tend to be heavy on the camp vibe. With the right touch, though, bridal shower games can be a lot of fun and not leave your guests rolling their eyes.
1. Don’t slow down
Stopping for games leaves guest checking their watches. Instead, set up games throughout the shower space so that guests can participate as they mingle. For example, hide rings around the shower space and offer a prize to whoever finds the most. Guests who aren’t interested can bypass, while the very committed can keep their eyes peeled. All this can happen during the course of the shower, with a winner announced at the end. For another option, have guests take three bead necklaces at the door. If they say the words bride or wedding, another guest can snatch a necklace. The one with the most necklaces at the end of the shower wins! Again, this doesn’t slow down the shower and guests who are less into games can opt out while your more competitive spirits can try to trick people into saying the forbidden words.
2. Don’t just play
Shower activities can be used to give the newlyweds a fun keepsake for their new home. Provide a painted wooden letter for guests to sign with well-wishes or ask guests to write date ideas on popsicle sticks to fill a mason jar for a fun gift for the bride and groom from the entire party.
3. Don’t forget prizes
Make your prizes creative and something your guests will actually want to win. Fill a mason jar with nail polish, emery boards, and a lavender face mask for a spa day in a jar. Combine a movie rental gift card with unpopped popcorn for a free movie night, or put gourmet tea in a fun coffee mug for easy relaxation.
General Things to Remember
1. Always celebrate your bride
Make sure that whatever you choose to do, from games to locations to food, the bride will enjoy and be comfortable with everything. Even the most exquisitely planned shower is a failure if the bride doesn’t enjoy herself and feel relaxed and celebrated.
2. Always avoid drama
For some reason, weddings often bring out the worst in some people and the best in others. If you foresee problematic shower guests, either discuss proper behavior with them beforehand, assign a bridesmaid to keep an extra eye out for potential drama, or, if you can get away with it, leave them off the guest list entirely.
Showers are supposed to be fun. Remember that nothing is ever perfect, and sometimes the imperfections are what make the day the most memorable.