Planning the perfect bridal shower

Posted: Sunday, March 16, 2008

Before she actually "gets hitched," there are a slew of parties for the bride an engagement party, a bachelorette party, and of course, the bridal shower for the bride, her female relatives and friends. Traditionally, it's up to the maid or matron of honor to plan the shower, although bridesmaids or the bride's mother often lend a hand. Planning the event can be stressful, but here are some easy steps to help you get the party planned, started and finished with style.

* Talk with the bride. Although details are up to the shower planners, it's important to get input from the bride before charging ahead with any plans. Ask who she wants to invite, where and when it would be best to hold it, and what kind of food she would like to serve.

* Establish a budget. Like every other aspect of the wedding, you should have an idea of how much you want to spend before you begin. Find out who is going to pay for what from the start to avoid difficulties later.

* Set a date. Generally, the bridal shower is held a month or two before the wedding. However, if key players like the bridesmaids or close family members have scheduling conflicts, hold it whenever it's most convenient.

* Choose a theme. Incorporate a theme into the shower invitations, gifts and food for creative and clever fun. A kitchen shower, for example, asks guests to buy kitchen- and cooking-related gifts that the newlyweds will need in their new home. Guests can also bring along a recipe. An alphabet shower assigns each guest a letter and they can bring an appropriate gift. (A guest assigned the letter "b" can bring barware or baking tins, et cetera.)

* Reserve a space. There are so many options when choosing a venue. You can have tea at 4 p.m., brunch at a restaurant or lunch at someone's home.

* Invite the guests. From a simple soiree to an all-out bridal bash, you're limited only by your budget and your sense of style. Send out shower invitations after those for the wedding have been mailed. Invite only those who have also been invited to the wedding. On each invitation, be sure to include directions to the shower venue, where the couple is registered and the theme of the shower, if any.

* Don't forget the fun. No shower is complete without a game. Be sure it is something that the bride will enjoy, and that guests are familiar with or can easily learn. One easy game is a "Purse Raid," where someone reads a list of items that could be inside anyone's purse, ranging from common things, like tissues, to the more unusual, like a toothbrush. Whoever pulls out the most items wins.

* Shower her with gifts. Seat the bride front and center as she opens her gifts. Have someone keep track of who gave what so that the bride can send thank-you notes. Don't toss the bows poke a hole in a paper plate and pull the ribbon and bows through, leaving slack to grab onto. Now the bride has a "bouquet" to use at her wedding rehearsal.

Wrap up your shower celebration with a toast. You may even want to prepare a speech or read a poem that captures your feelings and hopes for her future. Thank everyone for attending and pass out favors. Now, smile and relax you did it!

Morris News Service

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