Weekends are for weddings! If you’re like me, with 9 weddings each year, the weekends are, quite literally, for weddings (attending them, that is). Also if you’re like me, the weekend is a time to think about planning your own wedding. Lots of people carve out a certain time each week for to wedding planning (Wedding Wednesday seems to be very popular). It ensures the wedding doesn’t take over their whole lives; however, I find that confining wedding planning to a specific time is too pressure-filled and bicker-prone. I plan my wedding when inspiration strikes. Weekends, in particular, offer the time to let my mind roam and plan my own wedding in a stress-free environment. In this series, I’ll take you through some of my major planning steps – hopefully this will help you plan your own wedding!
While planning my own wedding, I happen to be a co-Maid of Honor for one of my best girlfriends. One of the biggest duties as Maid of Honor is to plan a shower the bride will never forget (no pressure!). I love party planning so I had a great time getting this together. Also, it’s very possible to throw an elegant shower on a budget. Here’s how I went about it:
Vibe: This shower was actually Lindsay’s second. The first was in July, hosted by her future Mother-in-Law for her family friends. It was a sit down luncheon at a restaurant for under 15 people. This shower was the exact opposite. The invite list was doubled and included more of Lindsay’s contemporaries. Since the crowd was different, Lindsay and I agreed (always best to discuss with your bride first!) that this shower should be organized differently and made it more of a mingling thing vs. a seated affair. Since it was in September, we set up on my building’s roof for a casual brunch vibe.
Theme: Months in advance of the shower I asked Lindsay for a list of her favorites (color, movie, tv show, drink, food, etc.) hoping one of her answers would inspire me. Lucky for me, one did! Lindsay’s favorite color is red (and she happens to be a ginger) so I went with “A Red Letter Day for Lindsay”. The decor and food could easily all fall into theme.
Invitations: In keeping with the theme, I found red invitations on Minted.com. This was one of the biggest shower expenses. Minted does, however, offer free addressing, which is major plus. I thought it made the invites look a bit nicer and obviously made my life a lot easier. I also used the invite to instruct the guests to dress in red “in honor of our favorite redhead.” This served two purposes: it helps tie in the theme and it made Lindsay stand out and look very bridal in white.
Activities: I’m not a huge fan of games at bridal showers but think there should be some sort of activity so guests don’t feel like they just showed up, gave a gift, and left. The only one I really like is a version of the Newlywed Game with the bride and groom – everyone loves that one. It always elicits a laugh and requires no participation from guests. Opening gifts is also a good use of time but not necessary at all if everyone seems to be having a good time. I did include two other activities that [I hope] weren’t overly cheesy:
- Selfie Station: I placed a sign on a table instructing people to take a selfie and then text it to my cell phone along with a cute note. I later turned it into a guest book of sorts via Snapfish.
- Newlywed Game: We waited til the end of the shower to do this so we could do it live with Jason, her hubby-to-be. They sat back to back and wrote their answers on mini whiteboards. Before the game got started, we told all the guests the total number of questions and they wrote down how many they thought Lindsay and Jason would each get right – the one who came closest won a prize.
- Paint the Town Red: We asked everyone to fill a jar with fun date/bucket list ideas. We kicked off this activity by having the bridesmaids submit our idea first before passing around the jar. Our idea was a restaurant gift certificate (to the place where they had their first date) so it served double duty of also being our group gift.
Decor: All things red – so easy. I got some garlands and poms from Etsy and strung them along tables and from the umbrellas. Guests ate off red plates with red napkins, and we used red cupcake toppers with bridal images. For centerpieces, I filled mason jars with red flowers and accented the jars with red ribbon. Sure, it would have been easier to buy a “The Future Mrs Davidman” banner or cupcake toppers, but DIY-ing some of the decorations saved us some money and was a fun weekend craft that gave the shower a personal touch.
Food: I tried to make as many red foods as possible, like caprese skewers, veggies with roasted red pepper dip, and red velvet cupcakes. The one non-red item was mac and cheese. Lindsay loves mac and cheese so it had to make the spread, regardless of color. A mimosa bar (with ruby red grapefruit juice instead of oj) was fun and super easy to put together.
Gift from the Hosts: The bridesmaids got together to do a group gift. In addition to the restaurant gift certificate, we also gave a set of red wine glasses Lindsay had registered for. Even our gift managed to stick with the theme!
Favors: It’s the little things that make an event. We gave away small boxes of red hots to maintain the theme. (Mini bottles of red wine would also be cute, albeit a bit pricier.)
So the wind ended up being unexpectedly ridiculous. While it meant we weren’t sweating our faces off, it also meant we had to take down a lot of the decorations. Frames wouldn’t stand up, vases had to be removed for fear of glass breaking, and all hanging decor straight up blew away. We had the best of intentions, and it still looked lovely. This is one of those “don’t sweat the small stuff” situations. Also, I did not account for some of the elderly family members to show up almost 45 minutes early. We were definitely not ready and it caused some extra, harried running around. If you’re throwing a shower, definitely don’t expect everything to run exactly according to plan.
Had we gone to a restaurant, the cost of food alone would have been $25/person. That cost does not include tax/tip, invitations, decor, or booze. I’m pretty impressed that we managed to do the whole thing (including invitations, decor, food, and booze) for $21/person. If you’re interested in the exact breakout, I’d be happy to share; but know this can definitely be done on a budget. Was it as traditionally fancy as other showers held in the private room of a restaurant? Maybe not. But it was filled with LOVE and seemed just as enjoyable!