A wedding is always the best time to gather the bride’s nearest and dearest friends to celebrate the moment with her. However, a bridal shower makes the gathering more intimate because it is pure fun sans all the frenzy and pressure a wedding might entail. A bridal shower is about the bride and her friends having fun, opening gifts, sharing delicious meals, swapping old stories of their childhood or previous escapades.
It is a day or a night to remember, as some would say. After all, a bridal shower is usually held on the last days of the bride’s singlehood.
What Is a Bridal Shower?
Traditionally, a bridal shower is a gift-giving party for a bride attended by close friends and close family members. History says a bridal shower is held as an event to give financial assistance to the couple to make sure the wedding will take place. Bridal showers can be traced to a tradition that started in the Netherlands in the 16th century.
During that time, if a young girl’s father would refuse to provide a dowry to a marriage he did not approve of, the community would assemble themselves and provide small gifts to the girl to help her start a family even without the dowry money. This is why bridal showers center around gifts that the couples can use for their homes.
Today, a bride can opt for a wedding shower – a party for all genders or a bridal shower – one that is exclusively for women.
A bridal shower is said to be held between two to six months from the wedding date. Of course, this is flexible, especially if the wedding date is not too far from the engagement date.
Traditionally, the bridesmaids and the maid-of-honor organize the party and shoulders the expenses. But nowadays, more brides, especially the affluent ones, find it acceptable to shoulder the expenses of the party.
As for themes, it is perfectly fine if there is no particular theme for the party but if you must, you may choose fun, popular ideas such as a beach-themed party, Disney-themed bridal shower, or an 80’s-themed party.
Best Alternatives to Bridal Shower
If the bride is the type that does not fancy gifts and games kind of party, there are several other ways to throw a pre-wedding bash that is equally fun for the bride and her guests.
Here are the 10 best alternatives to a typical bridal shower:
A Day at the Salon
Most girls love grooming themselves. Who wouldn’t love a manicure and pedicure session at the salon with the girls? This may also include hair grooming sessions in preparation for the wedding. The organizer may include salon experts or invite the expert to a designated venue for an exclusive grooming session with the bridal entourage. Aside from food and music, a short program may also be included in the party.
This is increasingly becoming popular as more people start to appreciate the benefits of a good massage after a hard day’s work. Why don’t you and your besties book a day at the spa and enjoy relaxing shiatsu or Swedish massage following a thorough sugar scrub? Some girls love chatting while their massage therapist performs long kneading strokes while some prefer total silence to enjoy the massage.
Since tea and light snacks usually follow after the massage session, this is where gift-giving could occur. Again, you could book a spa or hire massage therapists to come to your home or to a designated place where the party will be held.
Unleash your inner Beyonce and grab a mic because bridal showers are meant to be entertaining and memorable. In this activity, you can let loose without discrimination. You can put on your best hats all in the name of fun. In between, you can conduct a few games that involve singing such as naming their favorite tunes or supplying the missing lines of a song. Be prepared with tokens, of course, so that winners of the games have something to remember on that night.
Prepare to watch Marvel movies with the girls. Chris Hemsworth or Chris Evans? Line up your favorite snacks because this is an exciting event that the participants would enjoy. You can hold it at night – two films in a row until all of you doze off in your pyjamas for an instant slumber party.
You may choose a theme for your movie selection. It could be 80’s movies, blockbusters, scariest horror films, cheesiest romance films – it’s up to the organizing team to pick a theme and line up the movies. Gifts may be given in between the films plus a few words for the bride or the gifts could be placed on a table upon entering the home.
Summer months usually call for swimming events and this is also a good idea for a wedding shower if your wedding falls in the summer months. You may rent a pool if you do not have one at home or you may purchase day passes for the guests. If you have hired the pool for your exclusive party, you can hire a DJ to increase the fun. Don’t forget the snacks, the drinks and of course, the fun floats and rafts.
Hair and Makeup Class
Having girls in your court is always a pleasure because you already know what would please them. A makeup class is something that many girls would enjoy. Even a total newbie would appreciate this class because she can save a trip to the salon on the wedding day.
Hire a hair and makeup artist for a three-hour class (or longer, depending on your program). Participants may bring their makeup or organizers may sponsor a few makeup items that may also serve as tokens for the event.
Cultivate those green thumbs because a gardening party is an interesting activity that many could enjoy. This is not just for those with artistic inclinations or those who are already into urban gardening. A gardening class as an alternative to the traditional bridal shower could entail DIY classes on pot decorations or for simple landscaping.
You can have the ladies decorate their pots and give them away as party favors. The guests can also take home some seeds of flowering plants or fruit-bearing trees. This gardening class will surely be a thing to remember once their plants or trees grow.
Now, this is something that would benefit the bride and the wanna-be-brides in the group. Cooking skills will certainly come in handy for any woman who’s dreaming of becoming a wife and a mom someday.
Hire an expert for a day-long class on being a kitchen expert. Be it making pizza, cooking pasta, or preparing Chinese dishes. This event will surely be memorable if attendees will be able to take home the dishes that they have prepared in the class. It could be a group effort or if the guests are of relatively small size, they can cook solo. The goal is to make cooking fun and nutritious.
A bridal shower at the beach can be formal or casual. A casual, ‘come as you are’ type of party at the beach would be much appreciated since no one needs to dress up or be formal at the beach. Organizers may opt to prepare a tent or rent a cottage with a table that will serve as the group’s resting spot when they are tired of swimming.
For games, you may opt for beach volleyball, tug of war, beach crawling race, and so much more. Organizers, be ready for cold beverages. You may also decorate your glasses or simply use any eco-friendly glass. That way, nothing ends up in the sand or the waters.
If it’s going to be a day trip, make sure to prepare a table where the guests can place their gifts so they are not just sitting on the sand. The gifts might get stolen, too, if they are just lying somewhere. If this is going to be an overnight event in a resort, host a seafood-inspired dinner near the beach.
Most resorts have bands that play music at night, but if there is none, just take the moment to exchange some light-hearted banter with the girls. This could also be the right opportunity for gift-giving and delivering messages for the future bride.
An Out-of-Town Trip
Step on the gas and head to a cool city that is a favorite of everyone on the guest list. Or if you are the adventurous type, you can opt to go to a city that no one has been to in the past. Going out-of-town will surely be fun because there is so much time to connect with the girls and experience new things together. That will potentially make it as memorable as the wedding itself.
You can do an overnight trip or a two-day trip. However long you want it to be, always have a destination in mind, a hotel or Airbnb reservation, and an itinerary for a smooth trip. You can squeeze a short program into one of your lunch dates with the girls.
Are these alternatives good or bad?
These alternatives only exist because not every bride has the personality to sip margaritas until dawn, partying and opening gifts with her equally party-goer friends. The bride may prefer a beautiful adventure with her best friends before going on to become the better half of that one person she wants to spend her life with.
Both choices are okay. It just depends on the preference and personality of the bride whether to go for a traditional bridal shower or not. Some brides even prefer a coed shower – some might call this, a ‘Brodal’ shower wherein the fiancee makes an appearance at the end with a gift and flowers on his hand to thrill the bride and guests alike.
Tips for Organizing a Creative bridal shower
Choose the theme carefully
In planning a creative bridal shower, one must first consider what kind of bridal shower to go for. Would it be a traditional or alternative bridal shower? Would it be done in a restaurant? A pool? Hiking in the woods? An out-of-town trip? After you have answered this question, then you can go on planning the theme of the bridal shower.
Set the Budget
The theme has to be something that everyone can relate to. Then comes budgeting for the party. The organizers of the shower must set a budget because more often than not, the budget also dictates how creative a party can be. If it’s an out-of-town trip, who is going to pay for the bus tickets? If someone will be driving, who will pay for the gas? What about the accommodation? Who will pay for it? These are things you need to settle in the beginning to avoid delays and confusion.
Your budget should include food, drinks, venue, decor, rentals, photography and videography (if any), bus tickets, gas, accommodation, day passes – everything that is outlined in your plan to bring the event to life.
Gather important information first
Unless the event is a surprise, the bride should know that there will be a party that will be thrown for her. The organizers can ask the bride about her preferred activity, themes, date, time, and location for the activities. It’s up to the organizers to put everything together including inviting the guests to the event. As to whether there should be a wedding registry, it’s all up to the bride if she wants specific gifts for her big day.
How to Throw a Virtual Shower?
The pandemic has certainly changed the way bridal showers are held nowadays. Aside from limiting the choices of activities, it also limited the number of people who can attend every event to avoid the risk of infection. But don’t lose heart.
Thanks to Zoom, Facetime, Facebook messenger, Googlemeet and the rest of the applications that have peaked in popularity during the pandemic, today’s technology allows people to catch up and have fun without actually going to a venue. One good thing about this is that you can invite more people to join the shower because it does not violate quarantine restrictions.
Here are some ways you can throw a virtual bridal shower:
You Can Order a Take Out Meal for the Participants
This is applicable if your guests live in the same geographical location. You can eat together and have a chitchat in front of your computer. You can even schedule breakout rooms for a more intimate talk if there are more than 10 people in the virtual event.
Open Your Gifts in Front of the Virtual Audience
You may ask your guests to send the gifts in advance and you can open them during the virtual event.
Bridal Shower Games
Yes, there are lots of virtual games that you can play with the guests. You may start with charades, or you can play the spin-a-wheel and allow guests to reveal a certain thing about themselves that will send all of you on a trip down memory lane.
You Can Pick a Theme
Having a virtual bridal shower does not mean you have to forgo the theme. You can still do the Disney theme by asking guests to dress up as their favorite character for the two-hour party. Get those creative juices flowing when selecting a theme.
You can still watch a good movie in a virtual bridal shower. One option is by using Netflix party which allows you to watch Netflix remotely with your friends through the google chrome extension. This synchronizes video playback so that the bride and her guests can watch together. You may send ready-to-eat popcorn in advance or you can get those microwaveable ones to get the party rolling.
You can still do this by getting a professional makeup artist on board your conferencing application. Guests may use their makeup but organizers may also provide a basic makeup kit. It depends on the budget or expense plan of the party.
Is It Okay Not to Have a Bridal Shower?
A bridal shower is not a necessary prerequisite for a wedding. However, it gets tricky to decline a friend’s offer to host a bridal shower. To avoid hurt feelings, make an early announcement to your wedding party to douse off any possible plans for a bridal shower. Be honest about your reasons why you opt to shy away from this tradition. However, if your friends insist on having one, you may opt to have an alternative bridal shower that is equally fun for you and your guests.
What Can You Do Instead of a Bridal Shower?
One good reason why your friends may insist on you having a bridal shower is that they want to spend time with you before you start a new chapter in life. Let’s face it, becoming a wife and a mom is a full-time career. This means seeing less and less of your friends as you devote more time to your new family. If you do not want a bridal shower, you can opt for a simple lunch or dinner with the wedding party. It’s up to the bride to receive or decline gifts on the occasion.
Who Normally Pays For the Bridal Shower?
Etiquette says the bridesmaids are expected to pay for the expenses of the event, especially if it’s a surprise shower. If the cost is too high, expenses may be shared by a bigger group of people. But nowadays, some brides are hands-on in organizing their bridal showers – even sharing a good amount of money for the party’s cost.