The origin of the bridal shower goes back over a hundred years where friends of the bride-to-be would gather to provide gifts that could be used towards her dowry when the family could not afford to pay one on their own.
Aside from shifting from cash gifts to give away to buying gifts that she can keep, the actual format of the bridal shower has also significantly changed. Depending on what kind of bride you’re planning for there are three very different approaches you can take when planning a shower.
Likely the most popular is the traditional wedding shower. This is typically a ladies only afternoon held at the bride-to-be’s parent’s home. “We had a high tea theme where we all wore garden inspired dresses and had three different teas,” said bridesmaid Anna Chaudry, 29. “It was an elegant afternoon with games, gifts, and delicious sandwiches, fruits and pastries.”
If you’re planning a traditional shower some great themes also include an “All White Bridal Shower”, a theme that speaks to something distinctive about your guest of honour like a “Red Carpet Shower” if she’s really into movies, or a themed shower aligned with honeymoon plans like a “My Big Fat Greek Shower” if the couple is planning a trip to Greece.
Think about little details to keep your theme going from start to finish from the invitation cards to the take home gift. “We sent all of our guests home with loose tea tied with a thank you tag,” said Anna.
A slight break from traditional format is the emerging Spa Shower where guests enjoy an afternoon of blissful pampering at a local spa. Depending on the number of guests (this is usually for a smaller group), massages, nail treatments and time in the hot tub, sauna and pool are all on the agenda. Many spas will arrange for a space for the group to enjoy lunch and to open gifts. Mocktails and cocktails are a great addition to this afternoon and can be themed.
“We had about 12 girls for our spa inspired shower and it was a great afternoon,” said sister of the bride Samra Singh, 33. “We had some great girl time and [we all] enjoyed my sister’s company away from the madness of wedding planning!”
This theme can be costlier depending on the spa you choose and the services that you want to enjoy, so ensure to ask all invitees about budgets first.
Mixed showers are not just about the odd uncle or brother crashing for food! They’re increasing in popularity and are more relaxed in nature when compared to the traditional shower. Mixed showers can be in the form of a barbecue or held at a trendy lounge or restaurant.
“We had ours in my brother’s backyard which was big enough to accommodate about 50 guests,” said Sara Joshi, recently married. “It was awesome—we had the drinks, food and gifts without the games and formal sitting time with aunties!”
While the parents may not really understand the mixed shower it really is a great time for friends and family to get together and celebrate the upcoming wedding together.
Regardless of the type of shower you throw the following tips will ensure that your guests stay entertained and engaged.
Keep your games easy so that everyone can take part. Also try to keep them to theme. “We played ‘Dress the Bride’ where you make dresses with toilet paper,” said bridesmaid, Farah Shariff, “But because the shower was an island theme we had the teams make their best beach wear!” Try and keep to two or three games with fun prizes for the winner, so that means no re-gifting! Again, keep with theme so even your prizes reflect the atmosphere you’ve worked so hard to create.
Your spread will depend on the type of shower you are throwing. For something traditional that happens in the afternoon you can offer guests finger sandwiches, salads and other light snacks with a delectable dessert.
For a mixed shower that may run into the evening, heartier options should be available. Drinks also make a difference so try and customize some mocktails and cocktails that guests can enjoy. Have some fun and cater your food to the theme as well. “My shower was an Italian theme since that’s the one place I’ve always wanted to go,” said bride-to-be Shayla Khan. “The girls had deep fried ravioli, mini pizzas and delicious cannolis set up. It all looked so amazing.”
Give your guests lead time with a detailed invitation at least three weeks in advance. The invite should include the theme, dress code if any and of course, the registry information if the couple has one set up. For those who are having something more unconventional where there may be additional costs like the Spa Shower, make sure to include that information as well.
While the bridal shower continues to evolve, its premise remains intact. It’s a day to help the bride-to-be with the costs of the wedding and her new home. Shower her with attention, gifts and well wishes and make sure to take in the time you have with her before the new hubby starts taking it all!
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❤ The National Bridal Show Team