WEDDINGS: PLANNING A PERSONALIZED BRIDAL SHOWER

It’s wedding season! Many of us have friends getting married right now and we’re faced with the impossible task of planning a fun, unique, and appropriate shower to celebrate the occasion. What kind of party you ultimately decide to throw for your bride-to-be should depend on her personality, your budget, and what type of gifts the couple really wants or needs.

 Gather the girls to host a bridal shower completely customized to your bride-to-be!

Gather the girls to host a bridal shower completely customized to your bride-to-be!

Since our friends already had what they needed to set up their home, we decided to host a Honeymoon Travel Shower for them with food and decorations evocative of the Mexican beach honeymoon they were in the process of planning. A beach theme, Mexican cuisine, and margaritas made for a perfect pre-wedding fiesta.  

 Aqua blue and sea green along with coral and shells inspire this Mexican Riviera theme for our bride's honeymoon shower.

Aqua blue and sea green along with coral and shells inspire this Mexican Riviera theme for our bride's honeymoon shower.

honeymoon shower ideas Martie Duncan

If your friends are into cooking, a “Top Chef” style kitchen shower could be fun. Ask each guest to bring a favorite dish with the recipe and a utensil necessary to complete the dish. Every bride (and groom) loves a lingerie shower so how about hosting a “Sex in the City” themed party complete with Cosmopolitans and plenty of girl talk? With the popularity of couples’ showers, consider a tool and gadget shower. The guys won’t complain when they can test drive the latest gadget innovations. If the couple is renovating their home, a do-it-yourself (DIY) shower for their home or patio could help them prepare for future entertaining. Guests come armed with everything necessary to paint a room or make-over the outdoor space. You do the work, they reap the benefits!

No matter what kind of shower you host for the happy couple, here’s a guide to help you plan.        

Setting the Scene

Decorations and music are two essential elements in setting the tone for any event. You don’t have to go over the top with your decorations, but do put some thought into them. Many hostesses will stop by the party supply store and pick up uninspired decorations which can be expensive. A better idea? Use items you have or can borrow and add a few key decorative objects like we did for this party. Start by selecting a color scheme. For a chic seaside tone, I used aqua and soft blue as my color palette. Adding shells to a row of candles on a hammered silver tray anchored the beach theme. Two brightly colored glass fish seemed to swim over variegated blue sea glass in a round vase filled with water, making a whimsical yet elegant centerpiece. Travel posters, luggage tags, and suitcases with travel stickers borrowed from a travel agent completed the décor. Throw on a compilation CD of “margarita” music and you’ve set the mood for a perfect party. If you prefer a traditional Mexican color palette, there are hundreds of fiesta supplies readily available.

 This couple likes to dive so we wanted to create a water element that was affordable. We filled glass fish bowls with sea glass in party colors and found glass fish to replicate the ocean.

This couple likes to dive so we wanted to create a water element that was affordable. We filled glass fish bowls with sea glass in party colors and found glass fish to replicate the ocean.

Planning the Menu

Creating the menu for a party is often the most difficult task—especially when you’re inexperienced in the kitchen or don’t have a lot of parties under your belt. Nothing creates a party mood like good food and a refreshing cold beverage. Since we were working with a Mexican beach theme, this menu was easy to create---there are tons of easy Mexican recipes or good Mexican take-out if you’re not up to cooking. I decided on sure-fire party favorites like fresh guacamole, warm tortilla chips, and a variety of salsas as starters. Easy fiery grilled shrimp skewers over rice with store bought pineapple mango salsa looked festive presented on a Mariposa shell platter. Build your bar around a selection of margaritas. Add salt, limes, mint iced tea, and sparkling water and you’re all set. A large frozen margarita maker comes in handy for a big crowd. Serve drinks in any pretty glassware that coordinates with your décor or a margarita pitcher and glass set.

Games and Entertainment

I admit it. I am not a big fan of shower games. (Is hate too strong a word?) While a wedding tradition, they can be soooo boring! Smart hostesses incorporate creative activities into their party plans instead of stale games. The wedding gown game---using toilet paper, tissue paper, newspaper or paper towels to design a wedding dress is always fun and it gives guests a chance to mingle and chat. Another fun activity is to create a memory album. Guests bring copies of their favorite photos of the bride or couple and make a scrapbook or photo album together. You can even have a printed and bound copy sent to the bride using an online service. Have guests send images via email or scan them into your computer at the party.

Don’t stress out trying to come up with the perfect shower plan—just stick to the recipe for any good party. Good food, plenty of drinks, a good cake, a fun theme, and good mix of people make any party successful. The fact that presents are involved is icing on the party cake!

Photos by Arden Ward, Arden Photography