Many of my closest girlfriends are married and we’ve become pretty good at throwing Bridal Showers. We just hosted one for one of our best friends. It had a slight Parisian flair and these are some of our tips for making your event go smoothly and less stressful!
1. Decide on a theme. If you decide to go without a theme (which is totally fine!) then decide on a general colour palette. Our shower had a underlaying Paris theme. We kept it vintage-y and subtle with blush pinks, beiges/creams, little black accents and lots of white. Having a dominate colour will help with decor decisions and keep everything consistent and unified.
2. Decor. This is in conjuction with your theme. Ours was “Vintage Parisian” and we tried to incorporate as much French things as we could without making it too over the top. We had subtle Eiffel tower decor on the table and on the napkins. We wanted a feminine feel and with any girly party, fresh flowers are always welcome and effectively makes everything prettier! You don’t need to spend loads of money on florals, buy some supermarket flowers and split the bunch into smaller vases, add some lace to the bace and ta da! Pretty and feminine vibe achieved! We tried to incorporate France into our food as well, making french style macarons, french madeleines and two traditional french cream puff towers, the croquembouche. We also had beachy hand sanitizers as part of our favours, an ode to her wedding being in Mexico.
3. Make lists. It keeps everything organized so you’re not scrambling on the day of. We had a grocery list, guest list, and lists for decor, food and dessert items served, and a week plan of what needed to be done leading up to the day.
4. Separate duties. Divide and conquer! Have jobs for everyone involved, this includes mothers and mother in laws if they are participating in organizing. A couple girls can get groceries. One, the decor items etc. And on the day of, have a couple girls do savoury foods, a couple preparing sweets, one in charge of the games and so on. It’ll keep the operation fuss free, organized, and run smoothly.
-Tips on preparing food (if not catering)-
1. Keep it a brunch or light lunch. Usually this is the type of meal served at bridal showers. Finger foods, tea sandwiches, and delicate deserts make for a pretty spread. It also keeps it easy for your guests to eat while standing up and mingling.
2. Tea Sandwiches. Sandwhich fillings such as egg salad and tuna salad can be prepared a day in advance, kept in the fridge and assembled the morning of. Sandwiches, in general, should be prepared as close to the event start time as they go soggy if kept long.
For any tea sandwich you decide to make, regardless of filling, have both slices of bread buttered on the inside. This will create a barrier between your filling and bread and prevents the sandwich from getting droopy and wet. Before guests arrive, to store sandwiches, use clean, slightly damp towels and place over top of the sandwiches, then saran wrap to keep them from drying out.
We made three kinds: Egg Salad, Roast Beef with horseradish cream and arugula, and a traditional cucumber one.
3. Crositinis with a cheese and meat are a good option to serve, they taste good at room temperature and the bread stays crispy after being toasted. We made ones spread with Jalapeño jelly, brie, prosciutto and topped with arugula.
4. Veggie cups are also an easy item to prepare and serve. It also adds great colour to your table. Take a cup, squirt in some dressing of your choice (we used ranch), cut up carrot, celery, cucumber sticks and throw in a couple cherry tomatoes and your done!
5. Fruit Punch is easy and convenient. You can have it alcoholic or non or offer both varieties. It can be made it ahead and when ready to serve, throw ice into a punch bowl and top up when needed. Punches are also very pretty, you can add fruit and lemon slices to make it more festive and feminine. Also have some tea and coffee to serve with dessert.
1. Desserts take a bit of planning if you plan on doing it yourself. Cakes and cupcakes dry out fast if you make it too far in advance. Cupcakes can be made a couple weeks beforehand. Keep them frozen and ice them the day of. Cakes can be made, filled, and iced two days in advance. Cake pops can be made 4 days in advance and stay fresh because of its candy coating. Macarons can be bought or if made, three days in advance. We made French madeleines, but these have to be made the day of or the least the night before. You can also add a variety of candy to fill the table.
2. Dessert table. Have a varying assortment of desserts. Mini cupcakes are easy, pretty, and customizable to your colour palette. To tie into our beige theme we had two croquembouche towers (cream puffs). To tie into the pink part of the theme, cupcakes were iced with blush pink. And pink bows were tied onto white cake pop sticks. Just keep your colour palette in mind and tie it into everything.
3. Add glassware and stands of varying heights to create visual appeal. Use what you have, mix and match cake stands if in the same colour palette. Use different pretty dishes you own. Incorporate containers for different things, such as placing cookies in vases, macarons in teacups etc.
-Entertaining and the Party-
1. Aim for finishing everything half an hour to an hour before guests arrive. This gives you time to talk, mingle and entertain without having to run around and finish food prep as guests are there.
2. Games. My girls had two games where guests had the option of participating. One was “He said, She said”, a list of 10 quotes said by the bride and groom written up on a board. Guests make their way to the table throughout the day and fill out their answers. We tally it at the end and the winner receives a prize. Another game wasn’t really a “game” it was more for sentimental value. We had a board up that said “Memory Lane”, guests would write down their favourite memory of the bride. The bride then reads out the cards and guess who that memory belonged to.
Then we had two participation games. After everyone was done eating, we sat down and did “Catch Phrase”, a wedding themed charades game. Split into two teams, a volunteer would go up, get a card and have to act out or explain the word on the card without saying the actual word. The second game was “What’s in your purse?”, there’s a list of items with different point values and once called out, each guest would filter through their own purse. If they had the item they would get the point and the person with the most points wins a prize.
3. Have disposable plates or tupperware and encourage guests to take leftover desserts home. It would be a sad day to see food go to waste and there are probably hungry husbands, boyfriends and kids left at home the day of a shower! I always try my best to make guests feel comfortable taking things home, I encourage it and it helps clear everything without having to throw large quantities in the garbage. Or have me have to eat all of it…and then I would need a new wardrobe.
4. Leave party favours by the door so guests see it on their way out.
Last but not least, enjoy yourself! Happy entertaining!