My Party Planning Method
I’m no expert, but I do have a lot of experience throwing parties of all kinds- baby and bridal showers, christenings, birthdays, anniversary parties, communions, confirmations, holiday parties and even a wedding or two! I thought I would share a few tips on how I plan my parties.
Planning a bridal shower, or any type of party for that matter, can seem daunting, but it’s really not as difficult as you may think. There really is a relatively simple “punch list” I follow. The most critical decisions are selecting a date for the party, deciding on what type of event it will be, which will be the determining factor for where you will have it. I like to host a bridal shower after the wedding invitations go out, about about 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding. I’m not sure if that’s “proper bridal etiquette” but it works.
The Guest List and Venue
Is it coed or strictly the ladies? Coed showers are very popular and immediately double your guest list. A traditional shower involves the “female” guests invited to the wedding. Once you’ve come up with a number of guests, you need to select a venue. The questions you need to ask yourself here are:
Determining What Type of Venue
What style party will you have? A simple cake and coffee affair, an outdoor BBQ, a restaurant brunch or luncheon, or a rented venue like a banquet hall, or a casual shower hosted in your home.
Whatever you choose, make sure you have ample room for your guests to be comfortable.
So you now have your guest list and venue. If you’re having the shower in a restaurant you will have a menu to choose from. If you are self hosting or renting a banquet hall you can work with a caterer on the food choices. Most showers are held during the day and are a brunch or luncheon type affair.
There are way too many food choices if you are going to cater or cook to cover here, but Pinterest alone has thousands of bridal shower menues that you can check out.
If you have a crazy family like I do, that loves to cook in bulk, you can provide the food yourself. Just be sure your venue had a kitchen available for your use and have a plan for transporting the food, keeping it hot/cold, etc.
The theme you choose determines your decorations and sometimes even your menu and beverages. It can be as simple as a color choice, for instance, the colors of the wedding party. It can reflect the style of your wedding–rustic, vintage, or elegant. It can be something that the bride and groom enjoy-movies, wine, craft beer, cooking, a sport or hobby or anything “special” to the bride and groom . There are even showers revolving around a specific area of the couple’s home–the kitchen, the backyard etc. How about a travel themed shower–instead of purchasing gifts, guests contribute towards the couples honeymoon expenses! The possibilities are endless!
Plan the decorations around that theme. I’ve been to a Casino Bridal Shower where there were playing cards fanned in the flower arrangements and used as place cards, there were different touches of casino elements throughout the room and it was really impressive, elegant and fun!
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A “Bee” Themed Bridal Shower
Here’s a great example of a themed bridal shower. I helped a dear friend with her daughter’s bridal shower. The groom’s parents are beekeepers and as a nod to them, the theme chosen was “Love is Sweet”–as in honey and bees!
The shower had a guest list of approximately 40 people. It was held in a beautiful riverfront restaurant in a room of all windows overlooking the water and guests were served a three course luncheon menu. The room was beautiful on its own, but once decorated it became a much more personal and inviting space.
I made a lot of the decorations for this shower using my Cricut Explore cutting machine. Honestly, this is my absolute favorite crafting tool (more on that here). I used it to cut the layers for all of the paper elements as well as to make the stencils for the signs. We saved a ton of money making these decorations ourselves, but if you’re not into crafting you can find lots of beautiful things on Etsy and Amazon!
We decided on two signs and I designed a stencil for each in Cricut Design Space which is the online design space for the Cricut machine. I love making stencils with the Cricut Explore for my signs–you can see some of my Cricut projects here! I painted the canvas black, affixed the stencil and applied the paint. The paper bees were cut in two layers on the Cricut Explore. They were assembled using Elmer’s Glue Sticks and then taped in place so they could be easily removed for a more elegant use on the favor table at the wedding reception.
The second sign was made in the same manner and read “Sweetest Wishes for the new Mr. & Mrs.” and the bee and hive were also taped from the back for easy removal since these signs did double duty-for the shower and then at the wedding reception favor table which included adorable bottles of honey from the groom’s parents beehives.
Here’s a close-up of the tissue paper flowers! These are so pretty, relatively inexpensive and pack a huge punch! They come in just about every color too!
One of my favorite elements of this shower was the seating place cards and how we displayed them. I designed and cut them on my Cricut Explore using white cardstock. Each had the table number, two adorable bees, the guest’s name, “Morgan’s Bridal Shower” and the date!
We were originally going to use a large wooden frame-picture removed- strung with rows of wire and clip the place cards in place, but I had this metal “display” rack with rows of small clips that was perfect. I had my husband make a wooden base so it would stand up. I spray painted the base black to match the metal and arranged the place cards by table number. It was topped it off with a two-layer paper sign cut with my Cricut Explore and tied on with yellow and white polka dot ribbon. I made lots of bees in different sizes and they were scattered on the tables as well. The bees were made with a three layer cut of black and yellow cardstock. A “lacy wing” layer was fastened using a glue stick on the “body” so I could fold up the wings to give them dimension.
A request for a favorite recipe for the bride-to-be and a blank recipe card were sent to guests in the invitation. They were asked to fill out and bring to the shower. They were collected as the guests arrived and placed in a recipe box.
There was also a “Guess How Many Kisses” game. The winner took the jar of kisses home! Small honey bees were scattered on the tables as well as a picture of the Bride & Groom-to-be, Morgan and Jake!
The table centerpieces were made from a white bud vase and wrapped with layers of wide chiffon ribbon trim to make a bridal gown. Strands of white pearl trim adorn the “waist” and yellow roses, greens and baby’s breath filled the vase in keeping with the “bee” color theme. These were on the guest tables and dessert table.
Each table had a color coordinated menu, a simple jar with yellow or black and white polka dot ribbon tied around the neck and filled patterned pencils in yellow, black and white (to fill out the Advice & Wishes cards), the bridal gown centerpieces, yellow napkins folded into flowers (I have to figure out how to do this) and bumble bees scattered around. There was also an “Advice & Wishes” card for each guest to write for the bride.
A “Love is Sweet” banner was made for the dessert table. The backs were made (on my Cricut Explore) with yellow and white honeycomb shapes and the letters were black. A Bee “filler” was placed as a separator between each word. Holes were punched (two per letter) and then it was all strung on yellow and white polka dot ribbon.
Chocolate covered pretzels, assorted candies in the yellow and black bee theme placed in clear glass containers of varying heights with yellow organza bags for the guests to fill up, a cupcake wedding dress and, of course, the perfect cake made up the dessert table. Wooden Mr. & Mrs. cutouts and black geometric cutout table runners finish it off!
Look at this gorgeous cake. It tasted as good as it looks! It was made at a local bakery and the topper can be made on the Cricut.
Last but not least, the favors. Each box held a small jar of lavender beeswax lotion and a bar of beeswax lavender soap, made by the groom’s parents. They were placed in a black favor boxes that read “Meant to Bee” with the bride and groom’s names and were trimmed with more of the yellow and white polka dot ribbon with a small bee charm attached.
The happy bride, Morgan, (in white of course) and her bridesmaids. It was a beautiful day filled with lots of love and laughter. I was honored and excited to be included in the planning/decorating process to celebrate this sweet girl’s wedding!
If you liked this post about showers, you may want to take a peek at these!