I know what I’m about to say will shock you, but weddings are stressful. I’m not even getting married and it’s overwhelming!
I’m the Maid of Honor in my best friend’s wedding this upcoming October, which is a much more complicated job than meets the eye. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to be such a special part of her day, but I’ve learned that the MOH title comes with many more responsibilities than simply holding the bride’s bouquet and planning a wild weekend in Vegas.
One of the biggest undertakings as Maid of Honor has been the planning of the Bridal Shower. It’s always easier when you have help from your fellow bridesmaids. But as a person who loves solitary planning and executing, I have spent months preparing and researching the best, and most cost effective, ways to go about popping my bridal-shower-planning cherry.
Before I dive into this, I just have to offer the best general advice I can to any first time MOH planning a shower: It’s going to be what it’s going to be. Planning a shower is a huge undertaking, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself – you’re only human! You can plan every single detail down to a tee, but no matter what goes right or wrong, your bride will leave feeling showered with love simply by surrounding her with the people who love her (and maybe a cocktail).
I N V I T A T I O N S
I ended up going with VistaPrint for my invitations. I got the best bank for my buck there, and the shower invitation options were endless. However, I did shop around before settling on the invitation manufacturer.
Wedding Paper Divas was high on the list. For just $1, they sent me a sample of the shower invitation I was considering so I could get a tangible idea of what exactly I was spending my time and money on. While they tend to be a bit pricey, if WPD is running a great sale, it’s just about as much as VistaPrint. Zazzle also had some beautiful options, and are also worth ordering from with a great sale.
Enclosed with each invitation, I decided to put these sweet recipe cards I ordered from Paper Sushi on Etsy (I did price them out on Vista Print, but with the difference of only a few dollars, I opted to go with these guys. They were prettier and I would rather give my business to a small shop that sells handmade items like this one!). I asked our guests to fill out this recipe card and bring it to the shower instead of a card. This way, our bride can put these to good use rather than feeling obligated to keep a bunch of cards that will sit in a box until the end of time.
D E C O R A T I O N S
Okay, this is a big one. The aesthetic of your shower is key. It’s the first thing people see when they walk in and ultimately sets the tone for the day. I am the very first to admit that I used Pinterest to storyboard my ideas (who doesn’t?). Pinterest really helped me to bring those visions rolling around in my brain to fruition.
I found this cute “Bride To Be” sign at TJMaxx for $4 and paired it with an ivory chair cover I purchased at The Christmas Tree Shops for $2. By simply tacking the ends of this banner to the chair cover, I turned a simple folding chair into the head-of-the-table for our Bride-To-Be.
The centerpieces were my biggest undertaking, and totally worth it because people made a huge fuss over them. I got the glass vases from Goodwill during a super sticker sale for only $1 each and filled them with a ton of dollar store glass pebbles (Dollar Tree will truly only charge you $1 per bag). I got the hydrangeas from Michaels by scouring the clearance/sale section for two months leading up to the big day. Michaels will also provide a 40% Off coupon every day on their website for one regular price item, so that also saved me a good chunk of change.
The tables were lined with lace-detail plastic tablecloths I got at Michaels on clearance for $2/each, and I covered each food/beverage table with plastic table skirts to keep it all looking clean and organized (secret’s out — there were a ton of extra bags and thing we found we didn’t need hidden beautifully under those tables).
G A M E S & A C T I V I T I E S
What ended up simultaneously serving as a stellar backdrop for our Bride-To-Be to open her gifts was also a Photo Booth area. I found a giant gold and white sheer curtain at Goodwill for $6 and tacked it to the wall (I picked a spot that already had a hanging photo to hide any tack holes from being seen once we cleaned up). I then taped a few gold and white tissue pom-poms I had purchased at various places (BIG mistake I made: I first purchased these from Michaels and Amazon thinking I wouldn’t find them anywhere else and spent way too much money on them. The best prices were at The Christmas Tree Shops and Dollar Tree…for $1 each). But the tissue pom-poms ended up hiding the top of the curtain beautifully. The banner was a Marshalls find in their paper good and stationary section for $7.99. I also provided a few Photo Booth Props so people could take pictures with their phones.
So, I cannot tell a lie — given everything I had already planned, I wasn’t into the idea of playing any tacky bridal shower games. Sure, they’re a great ice breaker, but I didn’t want to go through the ordeal of buying prizes as incentives for the winners. But the Bride-To-Be had her heart set on playing some games. So at the 11th hour (and I do mean the 11th hour…I’m talking midnight the night before), I cut up some extra banner letters, recycled some blank envelopes and pulled a Jeopardy game out of my tush.
And I must admit, it was a really fun time. I’m so glad we had this game to keep the energy of the party alive. The guests got really into it and I even stumped them with a few questions (toss toss). In addition to Jeopardy, we also played Bridal Shower Bingo and How Many Kisses?.
F O O D, B E V E R A G E S, & D E S S E R T
Because I had planned a Sunday-Early-Afternoon-Shower, one word came to mind: brunch (duh). So I wanted there to be as many brunch options as possible while still keeping people full for the day.
There were two waffle irons going for DIY waffles accompanied by Nutella, whipped cream, butter and various syrup options. Tons of bagels from Bagleman (best bagels in Connecticut) with spread options sat at the opposite end of the table. And in the middle, there were three different quiche options for guests to enjoy. I figured quiche satisfied the egg-breakfast craving without having to make trays of scrambled eggs.
What’s a Bridal Shower Brunch without a little bubbly? The following table held the Mimosa Bar and Fruit Platter for people to enjoy. This giant stainless steel bucket that held the Prosecco over ice was found on clearance at Walgreens. Both the carafes holding the OJ and the plastic champagne glasses were a steal from Dollar Tree.
The adjacent table to the food held other beverages like coffee, tea, water, iced tea, lemonade, and most of the desserts. One of the bridesmaids made these amazing “eat me” cookies to accompany our Plastic Tea Cups that had little DIY tags reading “drink me” (our Bride-To-Be has always had a soft spot for Alice in Wonderland).
Other desserts included a variety of cookies, cupcakes, chocolate walnut banana bread, another fruit platter, and watermelon slices. Needless to say, we sent a lot of food home with our guests.
Weddings are stressful. Showers can be equally as stressful if you don’t plan accordingly (and sometimes even if you do). But it doesn’t have to cost you your first born child to put something beautiful together. You just have to know what you’re looking for, set a budget, and ask for help from your fellow bridesmaids.
I will reiterate my best advice for any and all MOH’s getting themselves tangled up in bridal shower planning: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Get a good night’s sleep the night before, trust the work you’ve done, and let it be what it’s going to be. Your bride will love what you do because she loves you and your friendship, which is why you were chosen to be her Maid of Honor.
Oh, and put on some good music. People love a party with good music.