Your best friend, sister or co-worker is getting married and after an extra cocktail (or two) you've enthusiastically committed yourself to hosting her Bridal Shower. Congrats, you're such a good Bridesmaid! Images of floral arrangements, bottomless mimosas and piles of gifts flood your mind...and then you realize by offering to host, you also are committing to paying for the festivities. For some, that can be very sobering. But fear not! You can indeed host a beautiful, brag-worthy Bridal Shower without breaking the bank. Here's a few thoughts on how to do just that.
1- Choose your venue wisely.
We've all been to the Shower that's held in a private room of a tea parlor or wine bar and they're undoubtedly lovely, but you'll pay for that loveliness. Oftentimes renting the room is free but it comes attached with a hefty catering agreement. Skip the packages and choose a place that allows you to bring your own decor, food or booze and fun. In the Los Angeles area, Rosenthal Estates, a wine tasting patio located on the PCH provides a naturally beautiful setting, plenty of space to hold a group of any size, live music and loose reservation terms. No winery in your area? Try a public space like a park or community garden, center or pavilion.
2- Get in the kitchen.
Once you've secured a location that allows you to bring in your own food, start collecting those recipes! Choose a theme for the shower if you like, and build the menu around it. Try choosing recipes that will reuse some of the same garnishes, spices and/or basic ingredients to cut on the grocery costs and get creative. Make the food look as good as it will taste with bright colors, fun garnishes, fresh ingredients and a beautiful display!
3- Go treasure hunting.
If possible, give yourself a few months to plan before hosting the Shower. Once you've determined a theme or color palate, hit up those estate & garage sales and thrift/vintage shops (one man's trash is another man's treasure, right?!). Snatch various pieces that speak to the vision you've developed and see what you festive decor you can turn it into.
4- Ask for help.
You don't have to do it all alone! Chances are other people want to help and will jump at the chance of joining in the fun. Ask a few close friends of the bride and capitalize on their interests. Some may be great bakers - assign them desserts, some may love making things - have them help with decor and others may have excellent hosting skills - ask them to MC the day. There's certainly a balance of receiving help and having a few too many voices and opinions, so chose selectively but welcome the assistance and then enjoy the process together.
5- Value experience over expenses.
Always keep perspective: what will the Bride remember? Yes, she'll appreciate the details and decor but she'll be more likely to recall the love, fun and laughter she shared with the women who love her most. Experience is free - so be intentional about creating time and space for the guests to enjoy each other. Chances are you'll have guests from all parts of the Bride's life and it's important to bring those worlds together. After the guests have settled in a bit, have everyone share their relationship with the Bride - this will open up an opportunity to make her feel loved and for the guests to become familiar with each other.
Most of all, DON'T STRESS! There's a lot to do to pull off a great shower, but be kind to yourself and when the day gets there make sure you enjoy it as well!