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by Roz Keith
Your best friend just got engaged and you’re throwing the shower. One of the best things you can do for the happy couple is to generously take on the planning of the bridal shower without burdening them with unnecessary details. All they need to know is where and when to show up.
Here are a number of tips, tricks and trends as well as some do’s and don’ts for the organizer and the bride.
Use a notebook or 3-ring binder (with pockets) that you can use to house all the details
Work with the bride to set a date – the shower should be held 1-2 months prior to the wedding
Tip #3, 4 & 5
Decide on a theme, choose a location and determine a guest list
Set priorities. DO determine the must haves and you can back into the rest later. For example, if you know that you must have 75 people because the bride has a big family, then your food costs are going to dictate how the budget is spent
Use the bridal registry as a cue when determining the theme. If the couple has a lot of kitchen items on their registry, then you could throw a “Recipe” shower. You can get playful with the invitation wording and the theme by playing off the “recipe” idea.
- Design the invitation to look like a recipe (Jan and Steve’s love is one part family, 2 parts friendship, etc)
- Ask guests to bring a favorite recipe on a 3 x 5 card
- Plan the menu around their culinary favorites
Determine a budget upfront. DON’T assume that everyone is comfortable spending the same amount. DO plan an event that meets your budget and stick with it. While this seems obvious, when overlooked it can be the cause for a lot of stress.
DO hire outside professionals to help where your budget will allow. Consider hiring a professional photographer and videographer to document the day. Photographer, Elayne Gross, reminds us that a “bridal shower is a great time to capture special moments between the bride and her family.” There will be lots of private conversations at the tables and great laughter… watch for those special moments. Watch their faces; see the laughter and excitement as the bride opens her gifts.” Contact Gross at www.ElayneGrossPhotography.com
Hiring a caterer is a great option and you won’t have to worry about the food, serving and cleaning up. According to Julie Herman, of Annabel’s & Co. Catering, the benefits to using a full service caterer are numerous. “The servers will greet your guests, take coats, serve hors d’oeuvres and drinks and then clean up—you won’t even know that you had a party when they’re done.” Ideally, you want a caterer who will come in and set up the food presentation to optimize guest access and traffic flow. DO look for a caterer that is experienced in the presentation so your food will not only be delicious but beautifully displayed. Following these guidelines, says Herman, “will allow the hostesses to be guests at the shower.” Call Annabel’s directly at 248-813-7800.
Couples showers are gaining in popularity, according to Event Coordinator, Ali Lazzeri of Blue Heaven Events. “The trend is all about personalizing the event for the bride and groom. For a couple that loves the outdoors, you could host a camping-style shower and rent a pavilion in the park.” Check out Camp Ticonderoga in Troy or The Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Hills for venues that offer an outdoorsy feel . Does the couple spend every spare moment at the beach? Host the shower at a venue with a water view. Then, plan/design invitations, décor, favors and games to compliment the chosen theme. “Set the tone for the shower by reflecting the couple’s interest and you’ll make it a unique event.” Lazzeri can be reached at 248-408-8660.
The menu is trending towards “healthier, lighter fare,” says Herman. “Fruits and vegetables create a artful presentation on a buffet or plated meal.” She recommends a buffet if the group is larger than 20. However, if your home is spacious and you can accommodate serving a plated, sit down meal, then by all means work with your caterer to execute your vision.
Destination Showers are popping up. Think “day at the spa” for the bride, her close family and friends. Each guest can enjoy a spa service, have a light lunch and beverage and then the bride can open gifts. If you want to meet in the afternoon, swap wine/champagne and hors d’oeuvres in lieu of lunch. The party can then move to a restaurant for a leisurely dinner. This might be the time that the event goes from “girls only” to “men allowed.”
Remember, at the end of the day, this is all about the bride and groom…it’s not about you. DO consider their wishes, their lifestyle, any dietary restrictions, family issues (wheelchair access for an elderly relative) or their personal style. If the couple leads a casual, laid back lifestyle, they might be very uncomfortable with a fancy, formal shower at your private golf club. DO get organized immediately. Consult a planning timeline
(www.partyplanningplus.com) to help guide you. If by chance, you are a bride reading this, then here are a couple of tips for you. DON’T get involved in the planning. Let your bridesmaids (or other hostesses) do their thing. It’s their budget, their responsibility and their way of showering you with love. DO show your appreciation on the day of the event. When you thank your guests for coming, make sure that you acknowledge your hostesses and how much you appreciate their efforts.
Happy planning! You are on your way to putting together a day filled with memories their will be cherished for a lifetime.