Planning the Modern Bridal Shower
Traditionally, bridal showers are held for the purpose of “showering” the bride with gifts and helping her prepare for her new household. Originating in the 1890s, these gift-giving parties were originally intended only for upper-class women, but by the 1930s they were common for all engaged women. The tradition continues today—with some new elements thrown in!
Although modern-day bridal showers generally look similar to those of the past, they’ve transformed over the years into events resembling parties in the bride’s (or couple’s) honour and featuring activities to be enjoyed by both genders. It’s all about convenience, fun, and adding a new twist to a time-honoured tradition.
Are you planning a shower for a not-quite-100%-traditional bride-to-be or couple? Follow our tips for planning a bridal shower that’s fun, fresh, and modern!
Not Just for Women
Traditions last through time for a reason, but as social customs and gender norms change, traditions tend to change as well. Bridal showers have been strictly female affairs since their inception. In recent years, though, a “couples shower” has become acceptable, which showers both individuals with gifts. Some brides also invite the men in their lives to participate in the shower, which is an entirely new spin on tradition.
Allowing men to attend changes the dynamic of the event, of course—activities such as the beloved “toilet-paper dress” won’t work—but new events can be introduced, such as having a caricature artist attend the party and draw portraits of the guests. Feel free to break with a traditional women-only shower and invite the men in your clients’ life to take part!
Some New Rules
Tradition dictates that a bridal shower should be held as early as six months before the wedding. But—you guessed it—we’re not sticking to tradition!
It’s best to hold a modern-day bridal shower six to eight weeks before the wedding date. Only extend that time frame if there are guests who live out of town with special travel considerations.
In terms of how long a shower should be, we recommend no more than two hours. Historically, bridal showers have been much longer due to the fact that gifts were opened during the event. If you want to cut down on time, just wait to have the bride (and groom, if you’re hosting a couple’s shower) wait till after the party to open the gifts. Have some large shopping bags on hand and send the guest(s) of honor on their way after two hours to open their presents at home.
No Forks Needed
Convenience is the name of the game at the modern bridal shower, and this includes the food! The best kind of treats to serve at a shower are those that can be eaten in one bite. Here are some suggestions:
- Mini shrimp rolls
- Deviled eggs
- Pigs in blankets
- Mini cupcakes
A large selection of handy food items at a bridal shower will ensure that all guests have their fill, but can also carry on conversations without having to worry about a plate of food.
Variety of Beverages
Champagne may be the most celebratory drink around, but at a modern bridal shower, you want to offer a variety of beverages that allow something for everyone. Don’t cut champagne from the menu altogether, but add a few other options to suit different palettes:
- Bloody Mary
- Fresh fruit juices
Another option is to create a signature drink named after the bride and groom—this is a special way to celebrate the couple, and will always be memorable!
If your clients are attached to the idea of the bride dressing up in a toilet paper wedding dress, or using personal facts about the couple for a trivia game, then by all means go ahead with it! However, modern bridal showers (especially those that bring both men and women into the mix) will need fresh twists on traditional shower games.
One such game is a cake decorating competition. Divide the guests into two or three groups, depending on the size of the party, and provide them with supplies and a cake to decorate. This kind of activity promotes a friendly, competitive spirit and also allows guests to get to know one another as they work together. Plus, it takes care of some of the catering!
Team-oriented games also lend themselves very well to social media. Create a hashtag for your event and encourage your guests to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to show their cake decorating efforts!