The Bridal Shower Part IV: Themes
“A Wedding Shower marks a very special time in the lives of those in love —it’s enjoying happy moments with friends and family — sharing the anticipation of a beautiful future —celebrating love!” ~ Unknown Author
In this segment we are going to take a look at a few bridal shower themes. There are many themes to choose from, some are popular, some are unique and some are definitely outside of the box. Regardless, choose a theme you know is sure to please and keeps you within your budget.
When planning a bridal shower, revolving your event around a specific theme will give you direction and in some ways will help you stay within your budget. Remember that you are hosting this special party for the Bride, therefore, keep the wedding shower theme reflective of her unique personality and interests.
The bridal shower theme can virtually be about anything. The first thing you should do is write down what you know the bride is fond of (i.e. colours, foods, movies, books, travel, just list anything she likes). The most important thing to remember is that whatever theme you settle on, it should be something that most of your guests can participate in. Bear in mind that a Sexy Lingerie themed party may not be a wise choice if you have children attending or great grandma Mabel for that matter, (better leave it for the bachelorette party).
The Tea Party Theme
Ah, the ever popular " tea party" theme! Nothing is quite as elegant and screams femininity quite like a tea party. A tea party is generally held in the early afternoon and is a great idea if you're not looking to serve a full meal. Also, you have the option of holding the party indoor or outdoor.
This type of bridal shower allows for creativity:
-You can request that your guests wear gloves and crazy, elaborate hats or fascinators. During the festivities, you can present a special prize to the guest with the most outrageous or unique look. Remember to have a special hat ready for the guest of honour, the bride.
-Go to the dollar store or online and find some different or unusual teacups and saucers to serve tea to your guests.
-Serving edibles at a tea party is not complicated. A nice idea is setting up a table with a pretty tablecloth and have tiered trays with finger sandwiches such as egg salad, cucumber, tuna etc.. Be sure to serve a variety of scones such as lemon-blackberry, currant, cranberry, cheddar, herbed etc. (be sure to have an assortment of jam jars, pats of butter or clotted cream for your scones). Of course, don't forget some lovely trays of sweets such as gourmet cookies, shortbread, assorted mini pastries, petites fours etc.
-Be sure to serve an assortment of teas such as earl grey, pekoe, green, jasmine and flavoured herbals.
-Create a tea party atmosphere by incorporating décor such as pretty tablecloths and napkins, a few fragrant and colourful floral arrangements or keep it simple by placing a vase with a single rose, carnation or tulip at each table.
-There are a number of ideas you can consider for your guests such as a tiny wrapped box of chocolates or truffles, a box of specialty tea, small teapot or a decorative tea cosy.
The Garden Party Theme
The "garden party" is such a lovely theme because they are usually held during the spring or summer months when everything is in bloom. They can be either informal or formal and it can be held in the light of day or just as it approaches dusk enhanced by candlelight. Regardless of what type of garden party appeals to you, the scent and general atmosphere of celebrating in an outdoor setting is wonderful and alluring.
Garden parties offer so many ideas:
-You can ask your guests to dress in flirty, floral attire in keeping with the theme.
-There are so many ways to decorate for a garden party. For example, you can have a series of round tables with white chairs and white tablecloths adorned with colourful floral arrangements or bunches of hydrangeas or tulips in glass vases. Perhaps you can create an earthy atmosphere by having rectangular tables with soft green tablecloths and runners to complement, (you can use whatever colour linens you prefer). They can be topped off with pots or wooden boxes filled with assorted herbs such as fragrant rosemary, basil or thyme. You can string some decorative garlands or place arches throughout your space. You can hang pretty umbrellas throughout. The possibilities are endless and remember that less is more and looks far more elegant.
-Once again you can purchase your décor online, dollar store, local party supply shop or gardening center.
-A buffet type menu works well with a garden party. You can set up a table with a coordinating tablecloth. Add pots of herbs or flowers throughout your buffet table(s) for interest. Depending on the size of your outdoor space, you can set up a separate station or table for sweets and another station for beverages.
-Your garden party menu can consist of an assortment of appetizers, finger sandwiches, crudité platter, deli meat platter, assortment of crusty buns, assorted cheese platter, potato salad, tossed green salad, egg salad, pasta salad, fruit platter, nuts or anything you think the bride and your guests will love. Just a word of caution, ensure that you maintain safe food practices. Remember that cold food must stay cold and hot food must stay hot. Foods served outside should never stay out for more than 2 hours. If it is 90 degrees fahrenheit or more outside, the food should stay outside for no more than 1 hour. Following a few simple steps will eliminate the potential risks of developing bacteria which can result in food borne illnesses.
-Remember to include lots of refreshing beverages for your outdoor affair i.e.spring and carbonated water, soda pop, wine, champagne, punch. cocktail mixes, coffee and tea.
-The choices for guest party favors abound with a Garden Party bridal shower theme. You can give your guests a potted plant, decorative bucket with seeds for planting, chocolate roses or tulips, small decorative vase, flower shaped scented candle in a nice box or whatever else suits your theme.
The Honeymoon Theme
A Honeymoon themed shower can be a great deal of fun. Build the entire party around the Bride's honeymoon destination. Create an atmosphere reminiscent of the locale she and her groom will be jetting off to and transport the bride and your guests to that special destination.
Here are a few ideas:
-Have your guests bring gifts that the bride and groom will find useful on their honeymoon, i.e. beach towels, sunscreen, sun hat, pareo, travel guides, journals, camera or camera equipment, luggage, audio books for language translation, to name a few.
-Decorate with the honeymoon destination in mind. For example, if she's going to Mexico, you can hang up piñatas; buy a few cute sombreros and a special one for the bride to wear; hand out tiny maracas to your guests; create some sort of tequila drink; and have some fiesta Mexican music playing in the background. If her destination is Hawaii, check out your local party store or dollar store and pick up some leis and colourful grass skirts for the bride and your guests; place arrangements with tropical looking flowers throughout your space and maybe throw in a few pineapples for flair; be sure to have some beautiful and relaxing Hawaiian music playing in the background. These are just a few examples but I think you get the idea.
-Serving food, beverages and sweets at a Honeymoon themed party can be a lot of fun. For example, if the happy couple are honeymooning on the Greek Islands, then why not serve chicken, pork or lamb kebobs, (souvlaki), with tzatziki sauce for dipping. Serve rice in a light tomato sauce and herbed oven roasted potatoes. Of course a nice Greek salad with kalamata olives and feta cheese will be a hit. Don't forget baklava pastries and melomakarona cookies for dessert. A shot of ouzo will do the trick. If romantic Italy is the destination, there are a variety of food ideas. For example, you can start off with antipasto platters with assorted salamis, prosciutto, soft cheeses such as bocconcini and fiore di latte, grilled peppers and eggplants, assortment of olives, mixed seafood salad, sliced cantaloupe and fresh figs. You can serve a pasta favourite such as penne a la vodka, spinach and ricotta manicotti, lasagna, pasta carbonara to name a few. For an entrée you might serve veal scallopini with mushrooms, sautéed carrots and herb roasted potatoes. Make sure to include some red and white wine. A lovely tray of assorted mini pastries are sure to please.
-Guest favours, of course, should be reflective of the destination theme. For example, if France is the destination a delicately wrapped box of petite fours are a nice idea. If the bride is England bound a pretty teacup and saucer with a box of tea would be ideal. I could go on but I think you get the picture.
The Special Occasions Theme
Every year we celebrate so many special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, New Year's, Easter and for some of us, even Halloween. The "special occasions" theme is very thoughtful, clever and a fun idea. Also, this theme provides the bride with gifts she will cherish forever.
Follow these few steps to create the perfect party:
-Write down all the special occasions you celebrate throughout the year. Once you have done this, divide the occasions up and send out invitations assigning each guest a special occasion with an explanation, of course. For example, Aunt Sally has Christmas while cousin Katy has Thanksgiving and maybe the bride's good friend Ann has been assigned Valentine's Day. So here is the premise, each guest must bring a gift reflective of their assigned special occasion. For example, Aunt Sally might bring a special Christmas tablecloth and matching napkins; Cousin Katy might bring a beautiful turkey platter; and the bride's good friend Ann might bring a lovely, heart shaped crystal picture frame.
-Your meal and beverages can be reflective of various special occasions. For example, you can set up a buffet table with foods you would serve at Christmas or Thanksgiving or perhaps New Years, i.e. turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, green beans, carrots, apple pie, pecan pie, shortbread cookies, an assortment of fruit just to name a few. Also, go all out and make a homemade eggnog punch. Don't forget the champagne, after all New Years is a great occasion!
-Guest favors can be creative. You can give out a special Christmas ornament or a candy dish filled with homemade shortbread cookies or a nicely decorated mini champagne bottle. The options are endless so just be creative.
The Around The Clock Theme
The around the clock idea is a timeless and popular bridal shower theme. Basically, every guest is assigned a particular hour of the day. The guest then purchases a special gift for the bride that corresponds with that hour of the day. For example, if you have assigned Cousin Sue with 7:00am, then she might purchase a toaster, coffee pot or a set of mugs which can be used at breakfast time.
-Be creative with your guest invitations, for example, a clock shaped card would be neat. Be sure to indicate the time of day on the inside so that it gives each guest direction. In my opinion, I don't think it is a good idea to be specific with what gift a guest should bring because it comes off pushy and most importantly, you don't know your guest's financial situation. You may think that Aunt Betty should bring a toaster oven, but that may be way out of her budget. Instead what you may want to do is list several items (as suggestions only), for that particular hour of the day, i.e. 10:00pm pajamas, nightgown, bathrobe, comforter, bed sheets or slippers.
-Decorating for this theme doesn't need to be complicated. For example, your centerpieces can be colourful hourglasses or different types of inexpensive clocks that some lucky guest might be able to take home as a prize. There are a few ideas for your gift table as well. For example, place signs on the wall or table that gives directions such as "1:00pm Place Your Gift Here Please". This will allow the guests to place their gifts in a chronological order.
-Being creative with your menu is easy with this particular theme. If you are planning on a buffet menu, you can consider setting up several stations and name them Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks/Desserts. Since this theme is all about the time of day, each table can serve foods accordingly. For example, the breakfast table can have bacon, sausages, ham, belgian waffles, omelettes, fresh fruit etc. Your lunch table can have finger sandwiches, deli meat platter, cheese platter, buns, crudité, assorted salads etc. For your dinner table you can serve items such as some type of pasta, roasted chicken, roast beef, salmon, roasted or mashed or baked potatoes, carrots, green beans, asparagus, tossed green salad etc. Your snack/dessert table can have items such as assorted nuts, gourmet chips and dips, mini pastries, gourmet cookies, chocolate dipped strawberries etc. Don't forget a varied assortment of beverages i.e spring and carbonated water, soda pop, wine, champagne, punch. cocktail mixes, coffee and tea.
-Guest favours can be varied and many. Given the theme, you can choose to distribute several different kinds of favours as opposed to the same one to each guest. For example, you can give some of your guests nicely packaged coffee or teas for breakfast and for other guests you might give out lotions for use before bedtime. Once again, there are so many choices so be creative.
The 70s Theme
This is such an awesome theme that would work amazingly as a "Couples" or "Jack and Jill". I don't believe there is anything "cheesier" or as fun as the "70s" shower theme especially when you throw the gentlemen into the mix. Envision an evening of tye dye, bell bottoms, platforms, disco fever, maxi skirts and wide brimmed suede hats and exaggerated fros all rolled up into one hilarious affair you won't soon forget. There were always constant changes throughout the 70s from fashion to music to food etc. With this in mind, your party gives you many options. It is always a fun idea to incorporate a little bit of everything from the 70s in your party, from flower power to disco. Your guests are sure to have a blast.
-When you send out your invitations, ask your guests to come dressed for the theme. You may want to mention that the best guy and gal outfit will win a prize.
-Decorating for this affair can be a lot of fun. For example, make sure you have large peace signs and big yellow happy faces strewn throughout the site; string tye dye streamers on the ceiling; try to create a dance floor space and hang shiny disco balls above so that you can have a dance competition later in the evening; don't forget the strobe lights for atmosphere; decorate your tables with orange, pea green or mustard yellow tablecloths and top them off with small, brown wicker baskets with yellow daisy arrangements; placing a few lava lamps throughout the space is a great idea; if you can get a hold of some vinyl 45 records and a turntable, you can string them together and make a mobile or two to hang above the turntable for a cool point of interest perhaps by the buffet table. These are just a few suggestions but you can let your imagination run wild with this one.
-Make sure you have a great selection of music from 1970 to 1979. Remember, if you are going to hold a dance competition some music from Saturday Night Fever or the late Donna Summer is in order.
-Your menu can be reflective of the era and should appeal to both female and male guests so try not to make it too dainty. Some 1970s inspired foods may sound a little unusual to serve at a shower to say the least, but given the theme, this is not your everyday bridal shower. Set up your buffet tables with some of these delectable edibles: An appetizer tray with deviled eggs, cocktail weenies and dipping sauce, potato skins with sour cream and melted cheese, pimento olives, chestnuts wrapped in bacon, etc.; a platter of veggies and dip; a tray of cheese and crackers; mini pizzas; chicken wings; fondues both meat and cheese; assortment of submarine sandwiches; beef wellington; crab cakes;tacos; swedish meatballs; chicken a la king; quiche lorraine; mac and cheese; spaghetti; lasagna; salads i.e. chicken salad, cole slaw, wilted spinach salad, three bean salad, tuna salad, egg salad, waldorf salad etc.; fruit platter,etc. Your snack table could consist of favourites from back in the day like: chips and dip, corn chips, doritos tacos, bugles, cheesies, salsa, guacamole, chex mix, etc.; Your sweet table could consist of: cupcakes with happy faces or peace signs on them, chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies, jello mould, brownies, pineapple upside down cake, baked alaska, strawberry shortcake, cherries jubilee, cheesecake, lemon meringue pie, lemon chiffon cake, etc. Your beverages could consist of: water both spring and carbonated, assorted soda pops, fruit punch, wine, beer, champagne, cocktail mixes, coffee, tea, etc. Remember, these are merely suggestions of popular, fun foods from back in the day. You can choose to have an entirely different menu.
-You can get very creative when choosing guest favours. For example, you can give out mugs with logos like, "I love the 70s" or "disco rules". You can give out CDs with disco music. You can give out mini disco ball keychains. You can give out a decorative bag with assorted chocolates and candy popular in the 70s i.e. bubblicious, jelly belly, pop rocks, reece's pieces, rolos, tootsie pops, twix, to name a few, (just a note, many 70s chocolates and candies can be purchased online or specialty candy stores that carry retro sweets). By the way, maybe you can toss a mood ring in for fun.
The Favourite Colour Theme
Deciding on a "favourite colour" bridal shower theme is a fabulous and uncomplicated bridal shower theme. Essentially, you take the bride's favourite colour and incorporate it into every aspect of the party, i.e. food, décor, beverages etc. This particular theme can be as formal or informal as you want it to be and can be held indoor or outdoor. You are only limited by your imagination with this one.
-Choose an invitation in the same colour as your theme.
-Kindly ask your guests to wear something in the corresponding colour. for example, if your theme is pink then it would be nice to ask your guests to wear something pink. They don't have to come dressed in pink from head to toe but they could wear either pink shoes, pink scarf, pink sweater, pink dress and so on. Also, you can ask that they bring their gifts wrapped in pink paper or bags in keeping with the theme.
-Decor should definitely be reflective of the theme. For example, if yellow is the main colour you can incorporate a few of these ideas: cover your tables in white tablecloths and use yellow napkins; tie pretty yellow ribbons around the guest chairs; place glass vases on the tables or throughout the room filled with either yellow carnations, yellow roses, yellow freesia, yellow tulips, yellow lilies or tall yellow stems of forsythia; have some pretty corsages made with hints of yellow for the bride and bridal party. The sky's the limit so use your imagination to make the room come alive.
-Depending on the formality of your shower, you can pretty much serve whatever menu you think will work well. However, your colour theme can definitely be showcased in your sweets and drinks. If your bride is fond of red, your sweet table can consist of cupcakes with red sugar flowers on top, red velvet cake, raspberry filled pastries, chocolate dipped strawberries, to name a few. If the bride is fond of pink, besides the usual beverages served at parties, you can serve, rosé wine, pink lemonade, pink fruit punch, strawberry daiquiri, cosmopolitan, pink ginger ale, watermelon martini or create your own pink drink.
-With the "favourite colour" bridal shower theme, you have a huge selection of guest favour choices available to you. For example, if you have chosen white for your theme, pretty white handkerchiefs, small containers of white chocolate bark or a small box of gourmet vanilla cookies might be an idea. Another thought might be to choose a guest favour and wrap it in coordinating wrap and bow. For example, if tiffany blue is your theme, placing the favour in a light blue box with a cream coloured satin ribbon will do the trick.
These are but a few examples of bridal shower themes. I would probably have to write an entire book to fit all of the themes that are available....hey, that's an idea. Whether you decide to stick with the traditional or go with something entirely different following a few simple tips will ensure that your party will be a success. I hope this segment of my bridal shower series has been helpful. Don't forget that after all your hard work it's time to have some fun!
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