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Pre-wedding Parties

How to throw a totally awesome shower

So, I decided to host a bridal shower for my BFF. Yay! She is one of the best humans ever and deserves a great celebration. She accepted and is very excited for it too! The problem is that I have actually never even been to a shower... and that accounts of showers on these boards make it seem like showers are often less than enticing. 
Therefore I am hoping to get some great advice from you classy ladies on how not to host a super lame shower that bores everyone to death while committing etiquette crimes. 
I'm purposefully asking this in a very open-ended way, since I have a ton of time (September 2015). Just curious to hear your thoughts and experiences. 
- The stars, like dust, encircle me in living mists of light. And all of space I seem to see in one vast burst of sight. 
ohannabelle

Re: How to throw a totally awesome shower

  • Your friend is very lucky to have your enthusiasm for hosting an awesome shower! 

    Honestly, as long as you don't make people play stupid games (Google bridal shower games, you'll see what I mean) and provide your guests with good food and drinks they'll have a great time! 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    mj8215peachy13
  • Your friend is very lucky to have your enthusiasm for hosting an awesome shower! 


    Honestly, as long as you don't make people play stupid games (Google bridal shower games, you'll see what I mean) and provide your guests with good food and drinks they'll have a great time! 
    I actually like bridal games! As long as the game portion a) involves everyone, not just the bride, b) isn't anything that could make people uncomfortable (e.g. pin the penis on the hunk... yikes!) and c) doesn't take like more than 15 minutes.

    I would also consider limiting the number of guests. I went to one shower that had about 50 ladies there and it took forever to open gifts. Like just way too long.

    Other than that, properly host your guests with food and drinks.
    mj8215peachy13
  • Food, drink, conversation, quiet music you can talk over, food, good friends, drinks, a seat for every butt, not forcing people to stop talking and stare at the bride as she opens gifts, more food, and chocolate.  
    mj8215
  • If you play games, just don't let them be too much! I once went to a baby shower where the hostess made us play like 8 games in a row and it was dreadful. Agree w/ @sjf2715 about the game guidelines.

    mj8215peachy13
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    The last few showers I attended and/or hosted, we have played Bridal Bingo.  Its an easy game to play and it also an easy game to ignore if you don't want to play.  I print typical Bingo cards with numbers on mine.  I also print out a sheet of labels from 1 to 79 (or whatever the highest number is).  As the gift arrive for the bride, I randomly choose a number or two from the labels and attach to the gift.  Then as bride opens the gifts, the numbers are called out.  I've seen the bridal bingo cards you have to fill out yourself, those are always the least successful version of bridal bingo.

    Don't host more people than your budget can accommodate.  Having a shower in someone's home is also perfectly acceptable.  Don't think you need to host a fancy shower in a restaurant.  Good food, seating for everyone, and you have a great start already.  A nice big bowl of sangria doesn't hurt either!

    mj8215poodledoodleooochibiyui
  • In my experience, the best showers are the ones with really good food, alcohol, and seats for everyone. I like showers that aren't during meal time because they take longer. Just awesome apps and some afternoon cocktails. 

    I'm never really a fan of cheesy games, but one game that I think is a good ice breaker is where each table/group fills out a questionnaire that has questions about the B&G/their relationship. The group works together to create their answers. Then the hostess reads off the answers. Whichever group gets the most right, each person in the group gets a prize. The best prizes are edible. One time, the prizes were $5 starbucks gift cards - very pleasing. 

    Edible favors are always a hit, too.
    *********************************************************************************

    image
    mj8215
  • beachyone15beachyone15 TEXAS (the home of my exes) member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    I don't mind a game or two. I recently attended a shower where they had a mimosa bar - awesome!

    One thing I would say, is depending on the location of the shower, you might want to be greeting people as they arrive (or at least have a sign). The last shower I attended was in this kind of open lobby area of an apartment complex. It was a little awkward walking in and assuming I was in the right place. Although you don't have to worry about this as much if you're at someone's house.

    I would also say no more than 25-30 people. I actually had two smaller showers (with different guest lists) and liked that I had time to talk to everyone that came.


    Daisypath Anniversary tickers



    mj8215
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Just don't have a ton of games.  I'm fine with 1-2, but after that it starts to drag out the shower and get annoying.  Like a PP said, host what you can afford.  Super themed showers can be cute, but really what makes a shower awesome is having enough food and drinks, enough seats, and being timed well (aka no super long periods of "dead" time.  It's great to mingle, but I don't need two hours of mingle time). 


    image
    mj8215
  • mrscomposermrscomposer Mani-snow-ba member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary First Answer

    The shower I planned for my sister was super simple - really good food, two types of punch, lots of seating, and no games (when I announced that we weren't going to be playing games, people actually cheered).  We had a station set up where you could either write down advice or a recipe (or both), which we gathered up and gave to her later.  We visited, took a group picture of everyone there, C opened presents, the end. 

    We took a picture because I had bought a nice frame and got everyone to sign the matting - then gave the picture to her as a gift.

    **The OMH formerly known as jsangel1018**
    mj8215
  • Wow thanks everyone for the great suggestions! I will probably host it at our place (will just send FI - actually he will be my husband at that point <3 - to the gym or something :)  ) No games or very few non-lame games sounds like a good plan. And I love hosting so that's taken care of. I can't imagine she would want more than 20 people there. So should be fun! 
    Guess I can go back to stressing about my own wedding for the time being... 
    - The stars, like dust, encircle me in living mists of light. And all of space I seem to see in one vast burst of sight. 
    [Deleted User]
  • mlg78mlg78 member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    Don't make it too big and don't play stupid games.  One thing my mom did for mine, however, that got a lot of positive comments was she created a crossword puzzle of facts about my husband and I.  It was just at their seat and they could do it, or not do it, while I'm opening gifts.  At the end they wanted to know the answers they were all stumped on.  


    mj8215
  • scribe95 said:

    I have been to and hosted dozens of showers. I definitely think they can be fun and not boring. My tips:


    Keep it small (too many people slows everything down and not everyone gets to mingle with the bride)

    2 games max - interactive and fun

    Good food and cake

    Alcohol - at least mimosas or something like that

    At a few I have been to they had everyone go around and say how they met/knew the bride and a funny story about the bride. That was a hit. But again, only if it's small (like no more than 15 people).


    If you do this, don't go around, in order, and force people to speak.  Some people might not feel comfortable put on the spot like that.  They might feel just fine telling the story to half the people at the party twice, but having all eyes on them might freak them out.  I mean, not me, I'm an attention whore, but I might not have a funny story ready until after I've heard three or thirteen other stories first, so being required to go second would cause me to hate the party and the stress I was put under.
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I am in the midst of planning a shower (just printed out the invitations today and got them all ready to go!), have hosted one shower and have attended quite a few.

    My advice:

    -I love bridal shower games! I think they are really fun and I am one of those people who will play just about any game you throw at me! However, you should limit the games. Two or three is a good number. One game that I used at the first bridal shower I hosted (which was super popular) is Bridal Bingo. You give everyone a bingo square (there are free templates on Pinterest, or you can make your own in a Word doc really easily) before the bride starts opening gifts and tell people to fill in the squares of what they think is in the gifts - towels, a spatula, salt and pepper shakers, etc. Then, people check the boxes as the bride opens the gifts. Whoever gets bingo first gets a small prize. I will be using this game at the upcoming shower I'm hosting.
    With games, stay away from anything too crazy. I would avoid any that make people do anything embarrassing or makes them move around too much. Toilet paper bride where you make groups of four or five people and give them a roll of toilet paper and they have to make a gown on one of their group with the toilet paper? Eh, I'd skip that one.
    How well does the bride know the groom? is pretty fun. Ask a bunch of questions (favorite color, what superhero would he be, dream vacation spot) to which you have obtained the answers from the groom ahead of time. Then ask the bride and see if she gives the correct answers.

    -Good food. At the showers I've been at, it's usually finger foods/hors d'oeuvres. Spinach dip is always a good one. From scratch ones are awesome, but the hot spinach dip recipe on the back of the packages of Knorr vegetable recipe mix is pretty amazing and really quick!) Meatballs. A veggie tray. A cheese, meat and crackers tray. Fruit salad. Small sandwiches (can be bought at a store). Some sort of dessert. I like this one trifle I make that's super light, delicious and easy.

    -You don't have to go hog wild on the decor. The first shower I hosted was at another woman's house. She had a bright springy tablecloth and fresh flowers on the table, and that was pretty much it. At the upcoming shower I'm hosting, it's kitchen themed so I'm going to do a tools bouquet, that's basically kitchen spoons and spatulas in a vase with a ribbon bow around them. I'm planning to do some flowers in a vase. I might get a little bit of ribbon bunting or something to hang up but I don't know.

    -Alcohol is not necessary. You know your circle best. All of the showers I have been to have been dry. Much of my circle where H and I used to live and our families did not drink at all. At the upcoming shower, most do not drink and those that do know that the bride's family does not drink.

    -I find it nice to go around the circle and introduce yourselves and how you know/your relation to the bride. Telling a story might be awkward and put people on the spot so I'd probably avoid that. Especially if you've blanked and can't think of one right away.

    -My family and circle are Christians, so oftentimes the host will ask the mother or grandmother of the bride to say a prayer or give a short (minute or two) Bible reading or thought or poem about love/marriage. I will probably at least ask the bride's mom to do a short prayer before we eat, but I probably will skip the Bible verse or thought.

    [Deleted User]mj8215
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Argh, I'm so sorry for the quadruple post! Mods, feel free to delete. TK is being glitchy and won't let me edit the posts to just "double post" to keep them from being so long, so feel free to delete if you can! I'll try back later and see if it'll let me.

  • peachy13peachy13 in my cubicle, doing very important work member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    The best showers I've been to have the following: 
    complimentary drinks (or at least a mimosa/bloody mary bar, punch bowl, etc.), 
    food (I'm not picky), 
    enough tables and chairs for everyone, 
    a big enough gift table and card box, 
    not waiting forever for the bride to show up,
    and possibly most important for me: a speedy gift opening process. 

    The best instance of that last item was when I went to a shower and one bridesmaid handed the gift to the bride, the bride opened it, the MOH wrote down the giver and the gift, and then two other bridesmaids took the opened gift away and stored it somewhere else. At the same shower, there was also a raffle every 10th gift that was opened -- the MOH would ask the group a trivia question and whoever guessed right got a little gift. It kind of kept things fun. Otherwise I generally don't like games. 
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers


  • Wow, this is all great advice, thanks ladies! 
    - The stars, like dust, encircle me in living mists of light. And all of space I seem to see in one vast burst of sight. 
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    adk19 said:

    scribe95 said:

    I have been to and hosted dozens of showers. I definitely think they can be fun and not boring. My tips:


    Keep it small (too many people slows everything down and not everyone gets to mingle with the bride)

    2 games max - interactive and fun

    Good food and cake

    Alcohol - at least mimosas or something like that

    At a few I have been to they had everyone go around and say how they met/knew the bride and a funny story about the bride. That was a hit. But again, only if it's small (like no more than 15 people).


    If you do this, don't go around, in order, and force people to speak.  Some people might not feel comfortable put on the spot like that.  They might feel just fine telling the story to half the people at the party twice, but having all eyes on them might freak them out.  I mean, not me, I'm an attention whore, but I might not have a funny story ready until after I've heard three or thirteen other stories first, so being required to go second would cause me to hate the party and the stress I was put under.
    This. I hate being forced to participate in anything, and if I'm great aunt Margaret I probably don't have my own funny story about the bride. If I'm a friend, I just will blank on a story and be stressed the whole time. Pressure to be funny is also never good.

    Anniversary

    [Deleted User]
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Oh, about gifts. Bring a pad of paper and a couple pens. A really nice thing for the host or one of the bridesmaids to do is write down everything the bride receives and who it's from.  That makes it easy for the bride to do thank you cards later. 

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    In addition to the above suggestions, don't make the guests address their own thank-you envelopes. This is very not appreciated by shower guests because it's the bride's job to do this when she writes thank-you notes and sends them.
    [Deleted User]
  • I hosted one last summer that was IMO pretty fun. She didn't want the traditional ladies get together so it was more of a party, family and friends and the men were involved. We did a big spread of food, combo of Costco stuff and things we made. Hosted it at my parent's house, they have a second house on their property and the upstairs is an open event room so that is where food and seating was. They are also on 2 acres so we set up yard games all over the yard for people to go out and play. The one "game" we did was a box set up when people came in that they could write marriage advice on for the happy couple, then we put them in balloons and tacked them to a board. We took all the guests outside and took turns throwing darts at them and reading the advice inside!

    Decorations, don't go big.. we actually used her single bud vases for the wedding and just put a single flower from mom's property in them on each of the tables and some succulents we dug up.

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