My best friend had nine bridesmaids in her wedding party. Nine. So when I accepted the role as one of her maids of honor I was a little nervous. Part of that role includes working with the group of 'maids to plan events, like the bridal shower and bachelorette party, and to keep everyone informed about things the bride may need done or just need for the group to know in general.
When you're working with such a large group there are a lot of opinions to consider and personalities that have to try to mesh. Luckily, everyone in the group was so easy to work with and had a mindset of doing whatever was necessary to ensure the bride had great events from the bridal shower through to the day of the wedding. It felt rare, I so appreciated it, and I look forward to continuing to build upon some of the new relationships I formed.
We got the conversation about bridal shower planning started early and used GroupMe to chat regularly. For the bridal shower, we were given the nautical theme so we used that as a base for the event and coupled that with the fact the bride was becoming a "Baker".
Here's a list of things we discussed that you should consider right from the start if you're hosting a bridal shower. We started this conversation five months prior to the bridal shower.
- Find a date that works best for the bride and begin planning at least 3-4 months in advance.
- Discuss the number of guests she'd like to have and settle on a number that you'd be comfortable with hosting (i.e., paying for) as you keep the budget in mind (we'll talk about the budget in Part 2).
- Provide a date for her to send you the actual list of guests by, which includes their full name and email/address.
- Talk through what time of day the event should be and for how long. We settled on a start time of 1pm with a time-frame of three hours. Keep in mind that the hosts will need to arrive before and stay after this timeframe for setup/cleanup.
- Once you've got the date/time set, choose and book the venue.
- Determine what type of decorations you'll need based on where you're having the event and start to gather what you need over time -- Michaels and Target were my go-to. The venue we chose offered decorations so I met with them once to see the space and what they had to offer and was impressed, so I mainly went with what they had.
- Determine what type of food you'd like to serve based on the time of the event and how casual or formal it will be. We chose a venue that offered catering and the setting was somewhat formal so we served a hearty lunch with a salad to start, and chicken, two sides, bread, and tea/water.
- Determine what kind of dessert the bride likes and go from there. During conversations with the bride she made it known that she'd be doing cupcakes for the wedding so I went with cupcakes from Gigi's Cupcakes for the bridal shower but also had a cake made since I knew the event would have a semi-formal feel.
- Having a theme makes planning so much easier, so if the bride can come up with one that's great, but you can also come up with one as well based on what you know about the bride, her wedding colors and their story. We were given a nautical bridal shower theme (e.g., boats, anchors, treasure chests, maps, etc.) and her wedding colors were blues and grays. I added in pink as a color to give it a girly touch.
Invitations and Activities:
- Determine how you plan to do invitations; online or mailed or a combination of the two. I went with a combination; using Paperless Post for the online invitation (uploading a design from Etsy) and printed/mailed the invitation for the older crowd. I also sent the bride a printed version of the invite to have as a keepsake item.
- For a "while you wait" activity as guests were arriving, we had a "message in the bottle" setup which allowed guests to write down their "best wishes" for the bride/couple that they rolled up and included within a bottle for her to read at a later date.
- We decided on three games and a surprise video for the bridal shower:
- What's in Your Purse
- Bridal Word Scramble
- Newlywed "Game" (Suprise Video - Featuring her Fiance. This game was played by the bride only as we watched and laughed along at their answers. It was a time filler but was mainly included as a way for her soon-to-be husband to be a part of the event). You can find the questions I used/tweaked and how to play here.
- Bridal Bingo
- Party Favors - Be sure to decide on a party favor to give to each guest. We went with wooden spoons with a "Recipe for Love" included since she was becoming a "Baker". I love favors that are actually useful, that people won't just throw away after the event (that feels like such a waste of your money).
- Game Prizes - Each game played will require a prize for the winner. We went with bags that included an anchor on the front filled with body care products.
- Etsy is your friend. I'll discuss what signs, games, gift bags, and any other things I purchased online during Part 2.
- Photographer - If you'd like for the bride to have a few professional shots of the day then choose/book the photographer well in advance. Provide them with the date, time of the event, any must have shots, and the schedule of events, once known (we'll discuss the schedule in Part 3).
- Hashtag - Every event held in this day in time tends to be accompanied by a hashtag, so brainstorm a few hashtag ideas with the group and do a search to see whether they are in use. We settled on #ABaker2Be. We used the hashtag for more than just the bridal shower, using it on shirts for the bachelorette party, etc.
So that's it. I say that as if it wasn't a lot that needed to be covered, but it was. But, luckily, we settled on things very quickly either as a group or with the girls just allowing me to take the lead, which I was so thankful for. We ended up having a very successful event and it showed all over the bride-to-be's face. As overwhelming as it felt during the planning and execution phase, I'd do it all over again to make sure it was a day she'd always remember.
Photos by Natasha N. Smith Photography