Whilst merrily cruising Pinterest this weekend, I came across a number of pins about bridal shower ideas, games and decorations, and I have a number of tips and suggestions I’d like to share with you here.
As with all aspects of a wedding, there are no rules. You make it the way you – and the bride – want it to be.
In all likelihood you are the maid of honour, and you may never have planned a kitchen tea before! Rule number one – DON’T PANIC! You can probably rope in the bride’s mom and the bridesmaids to help you with the party.
The most important thing to do, first and foremost, is to ASK the bride-to-be what kind of party she would like!
All too often I have seen brides have attention lavished on them at a champagne breakfast, smiling politely, whilst wishing they could have had the spa day or boot camp-themed blowout they really wanted.
If she’s not one for dressing up and party games, keep this in mind whilst you’re planning her party. And it is HER party. Keeping the guests happy is secondary to making sure the guest of honour has happy memories.
And if the bridal-couple-to-be would like a joint party, then do that! Arrange the kind of bash where men and women will be comfortable celebrating the coming nuptials.
So what is the difference between a kitchen tea, a bridal shower, a bachelorette, a pamper party and a hen party?
For any of these parties, the guest list should consist of the female wedding guests, and its very bad manners to invite someone to the shower if they are not on the guest list for the actual day.
Just as an aside, these parties traditionally exclude children mainly because the nature of the conversation and gifts can be of an adult nature, but as I already said – there are no rules.
A kitchen tea, bridal shower or wedding shower is essentially the same kind of party. They are usually held early in the day and the gifts consist of items the bride or couple will need in their new shared home, and this is most likely the party that you would invite the mom, mother-in-law-to-be, grandmothers and aunts to attend. You may not want to have kinky toys and underwear on display when granny darling is in attendance.
A bachelorette party or hen night is usually reserved for the younger wedding guests, or for the bridal party alone, and it can take place straight after the kitchen tea, or it can be arranged on a different day entirely. Its a girls’ night out kind of do, and the gifts often reflect this with sexy underwear and so on.
When it comes to surprising a bride-to-be with a party of any kind, think about what kind of person your bride-to-be is. Planning a wedding can be stressful, whether or not you have a wedding planner. If your bride-to-be is someone who has every moment of her wedding day scheduled to the minute, she may not enjoy a surprise party.
You can surprise her with a theme and decorations and gifts, but at least give her a heads’ up on the date so she can put on some make up and get dressed nicely. She is most likely going to be photographed after all and she will want to look her best.
With party games, there are loads of them that can make a shower fun for the guests and the guest of honour, like Don’t Say Wedding and Mad Libs, but remember that if you want to play games and hand out prizes- quizzes and crosswords and puzzles mean someone is going to have to sit and check them in order to pick a winner- missing out on the fun whilst they do. Games where the guest of honour can quickly choose a winner are best.
Keeping track of who brought what gift can be tricky. You can get someone to make notes as the gifts are opened – if you open them at the party at all – but if you’re getting the bride-to-be to guess who its from or what is inside this could get confusing.
The coolest shortcut I ever came up with was getting the guests to write down their gift’s contents in the guestbook along with their wishes and advice for the new bride or for the couple! That way there will be a proper record for her to look back on and write thank you notes with.
For the guests, there really is only so many times you can say “Ooohh…” and “Thats beautiful…” whilst your bride unwraps her gifts!
Try mixing it up!
This does mean you- as the organiser- may have to keep an eye on the proceedings and play the role of emcee, declaring it game time or stopping the unwrapping process to get everyone to top up their refreshments. And even if you aren’t playing any games, taking a break to fill teacups and cake plates means people mingle a little and get to talk to the bride.
And if you’re not big on “public speaking” then perhaps ask someone to do it for you.
An ecstatic guest of honour and happy guests is the aim of the game!
Good food and mingling is a HUGE step in the right direction- get the balance right and you don’t need expensive party favours and decorations!