It is FINALLY starting to feel like spring and the calendar confirms that summer IS coming. And what’s another name for Summer? WEDDING SEASON! With weddings come bridal showers and stagettes; events, that along with her wedding, the bride has been dreaming about her whole adulthood! As a guest, your responsibilities are to RSVP accurately and on time, show up with a gift, participate in activities, and have a fun! Easy. As a hostess, sometimes the day can seem a little daunting. Being a hostess is a great honor, but it comes with a lot of responsibility. As veterans of the Bridesmaids/Maid of honour game, we’re sharing our top tips for hosting a shower with you! Many of these principles apply to stagettes, and baby showers as well!
1. First and foremost, talk to the bride. Seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised by how often this step is skipped due to excitement, or is attended to later when if you run into issues. Even though you know the bride really well, maybe she’s had ideas about this day for a long time that she hasn’t shared with you yet. Ask her what SHE wants. Sure, your idea may be amazing, but maybe it’s not for your bride.
2. Establish a theme. This one goes hand in hand with “talk to the bride”. It could be as specific as a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or maybe just a colour scheme. Either way, a theme will help you determine décor, activities, and menu items. It’ll actually help you, not hinder you!! We are currently obsessed with all things Palm Frond and Pineapple and this idea from Pretty Printables Ink is an absolutely PERFECT jumping off point for creating that fun, tropical theme!
3. Use your theme, or color scheme to help you plan your decorations. Etsy has a huge selection of shops that sell decor for every theme and color scheme! Banners and fans are huge right now, and obviously tassels are here to stay! Everyone LOVES fresh flowers and giant Balloons filled with confetti and Mylar letter balloons anchored to tassels or big ribbons are always a hit. You can also keep it simple and skip the shipping hassle and shop (our favorite stores) Winners and Homesense for decor. We have been lucky enough to find tons of bridal shower decor by My Minds Eye Paper Goods over the years and constantly hoard it away until our next hostessing gig (see below!). Remembers, LESS IS MORE. Not every surface needs to be adorned with decorations!
4. With your bride, create a guest list. Some brides prefer intimate gatherings with bridal party, close family and friends. Others dream of a big shower that includes her moms and her mother in laws friends. There is also a trend towards couples showers, or “jack and Jill” showers, where both the bride and groom invite guests. These showers more like a cocktail party and less like a traditional shower.
5. Your guest list will largely impact your venue. A small or midsized shower could be hosted in your home, if you so choose, but a shower of upwards of 30 people could become a challenge. Consider a restaurant with a private room, or even your community hall. Lots of the community halls in and around Edmonton have been recently renovated and are quite inexpensive!
6. Have a contingency plan! If you’re hosting the shower at your house with the hope of having an outdoor garden party, but Mother Nature has other ideas, do you have room to host inside?
7. Take to Pinterest, or using your experience as a guest, plan a few games or activities. Try to stick to about 2 hands on games maximum, and one or two activities that guests can complete on their own. Remember, as fun as hands on games are, they are very time consuming. Some favourite hands on games include: “He said, She Said”, “How well do you know the Bride”, and themed Trivia ( See example below from Pretty Printables Ink ). Favourite activities for guests to complete on their own are personalized bride and groom Crossword puzzles, and having guests write their favourite memory of the bride for the bride to read later (either on her on or at the shower!)
8. Consider offering guests a favour, as a thank you for attending. For example, you could set up candy bar and provide cute to-go bags!
9. Send invitations to guests with minimum one month notice, and have your guests RSVP no later than 1 week prior to your event date. If you have to rent tables and chairs for your event or provide numbers to a restaurant it may be a good idea to have guests RSVP about 2 weeks prior to your event. Nowadays, there are plenty of options for invitation type, with E-Vites and becoming a front runner. They are very budget friendly, and make it very easy to keep track of your RSVP list. If you’re partial to paper, like me, there are still plenty of budget friendly options available. There are TONS of sellers on Etsy with hundreds of invitation templates, or sellers who will custom make your invite. The sellers then send the editable PDF to you, and you can fill it in with your event info and print it on your own. See below for an example from Pretty Printables Ink. The Bright Florals/ black + white are PERFECT for any spring and summer shower!
10. Ask for help. Just because you’re hostessing, doesn’t mean you have to take the whole day on by yourself. Ask the other bridesmaids to pitch in for décor, or take on a craft or two. Delegate roles, and tasks such as making and activity or game, or providing an appetizer or dessert.
Here is an example of a shower we hosted for our Sister in Law, Carly!
Carly’s grandmother passed on a full set of vintage tea cups to Carly’s mother (We are talking close to 50 sets!). Since Carly’s Grandmother was such an important person in her life, she wanted to find a way to make her present in her wedding and wedding related events. In our discussion with Carly, she revealed that she would love to have a Tea Party Themed shower and showcase her Grandmothers cups to serve tea or punch in. We loved the sentiment in this idea and knew it would be such a fun theme to decorate and plan a menu for.
We sat down with Carly and created a guest list that would include Carly’s friends and family, family-in-law, and friends of her mother and mother-in-law’s. Riki offered to host the shower at her home, on the uppermost level where guests would be able to use both indoor and outdoor space. There would be enough space to host indoors, but if weather permitted, guests could mingle outdoors as well.
We collaborated with Carly’s mom, our mom, and Carly’s other bridesmaids on a menu, and naturally came to the conclusion that tea-sandwiches were a must! We offered a variety of sandwiches, along with salad and fruit. A large array of desserts such as French macarons and cupcakes were also incorporated! For drinks, we offered a mimosa bar, iced tea, and fruit infused water.
We found a seller on Esty with a large selection of downloadable and editable PDFs, and selected a design to use for Carly’s invitation. From the same seller, we selected matching recipe cards for guests to fill out for the bride, and an insert with instructions to do so, both of which were included with the invitation. In addition we purchased a matching sign reading “Tea is Happiness in a Cup”, and matching place cards (can also double as name tags and food labels).
We rented chairs, round tables, and white table cloths from Special Event Rentals. Tables were decorated with a bouquet of garden peonies, and Carly’s Grandmother’s tea cups. We decorated the space simply, with a few tassel banners and balloons, the “Tea is Happiness in a Cup” sign, and a few framed photos of the lovely bride and her husband to be (aka our brother). Guests were encouraged to dress in Tea Party attire!
As an introductory game, we asked guests to write their favourite memory of Carly, and had Carly read them aloud and guess who wrote each memory. Guests were then asked to introduce themselves, and tell us how they knew Carly. We also played “He said, She said”, a game where a statement was read aloud, and guests were asked to indicate who they thought made the statement by either raising “lips” for Carly or a “mustache” for the groom, Connor. This game is highly entertaining both Bride and guests, and has become a shower favourite! On their own, guests were given a Connor and Carly themed Crossword puzzle to complete. Tea themed prizes were offered to winners of each activity!
For favours, we set up a “tea bar” and provided small tins for guests to custom mix their own teas to take home. Carly’s mom provided a plain white tea pot and permanent chalk markers for guests to sign as a guest book for Carly.
It was such a sweet shower, for an even sweeter girl! We were so honoured to have been hostesses for our Sister!
We are thrilled to have teamed up with Pretty Printables Ink, an Edmonton company specializing in printable invitations for all of life’s celebrations, to give away a $50 credit for Pretty Printable Ink’s Etsy shop. To enter, head to our instagram page for all the details!