Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April Showers: Part 2

Today, I am back to share some tips on how to host an amazing shower without breaking the bank.

Tip #1: Theme, theme, theme. 
Having a reoccurring motif, logo, colors and/or design will make any shower go from ho-hum to super cute. Think outside the box- is there something that the bride and groom love to do together? For one shower, I incorporated the bride and groom's love for kayaking into the invites and then developed an "A+A" theme from there. To see more photos from this shower, click here.

For baby showers, use an unexpected color palate (something besides pink for a girl and blue for a boy). Incorporate the baby's name or the decor of their room into the shower. 

A simple theme carried through all of the details of the shower will wow guests and will hardly cost you anything. 

Tip #2: Do NOT go it alone. 
Get some help! Gather a team of a few friends of the bride or mom to be and assign tasks. Most people love to help with showers and it will alleviate your stress level and your pocket book to delegate. For instance, if you are not the world's best baker, have a Betty Crocker friend whip up a cake for dessert. Have someone else get prizes for games. Spreading out the load not only makes it easier for you, but it also gives others the chance to share some love.

(While I would love to take credit for these delicious cupcakes, my talented friend Shae baked them and then put the "A"'s that I made on top. Saved me hours and they were way better than anything I would have baked!)
*side note: there is a point where too much help is a bad thing. Trying to plan a shower with 10 people gets crazy. I have found that 3-4 planners is a magical number and it is helpful when one person is overseeing everything and delegating tasks. 

Tip #3: Make it personal
Some people love the "make a dress out of toilet paper" game. Others despise games. I, personally, only like games and activities that are personal to the honoree. 

For wedding showers, I almost always do a game that allows guests to get to know the bride and groom a bit better. My favorite is to video tape the groom answering questions about the bride and their relationship. Some sample questions are: 
"When did you know that she was the one?"
"What is her favorite food"
"If she could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?"
"What is her ideal date?"
"What is your favorite personality trait that she possesses?" 

At the shower, we ask the bride those same questions. She has to guess how the groom answered. After she answers, we show the groom's response on the TV. Every question that their answers match is one point. Guests guess beforehand how many point they think that the couple will receive. The person closest wins a prize. It is fun, short, and most of all, personal. 

Tip #4: I would not like any more lotion sets, please.
If you are going to do games, it is great to get creative with your prizes. For a bride who lived on Starbucks coffee, we gave out $5 gift cards to the coffee spot to the lucky winners. Who wouldn't be stoked to get that? And it didn't break the bank. For a tea shower, the prizes were delicious loose leaf tea and a tea strainer. For the shower I featured yesterday, our two game winners received these cute noodle bowls and chopsticks from Crate and Barrel. $6.95/piece. They went with the theme, were cheap and the winners loved them.
Useful. Fitting with the shower. Edible. Personal to the bride. Keys to good prizes. Wrap them up in paper, bags or boxes that match the decor of the shower.

Tip #4: Get creative with Decor
Use what you've got. Use fresh cut roses from someone's garden. Gather vases from all of the girls planning the shower. Wrap tins or cans with wrapping paper or scrapbook paper like I did here or here. You don't have to spend $100 to have a florist make a centerpiece. Using coordinating paper will tie the simplest of flower arrangements into the shower decor. 

Or, think beyond flowers. For a baby shower, make something creative out of baby toys. For the tea shower I mentioned above, our centerpieces were towers of tea sandwiches. Cute and functional. Here is another shower that I will be showing more of later this week that used cupcakes as centerpieces with a few little bud vases on the side.

You probably know by now that I am a big fan of using scrapbook paper as placemats. So cheap and super cute. Even if you are using paper plates and plastic flatware, set the table. It looks cute and is instant decor. 

Small secret: I hate Big Lots. I would never go in there just to browse. But, they have paper plates napkins in a few colors for $1 per pack. Not the greatest selection, but for basic colors it is worth checking out. 

Tip #5: Keep it moving
Let guests socialize, yes- but try not to let them get bored. Keep the flow of the shower going. Typically, I aim for an hour of eating and socializing (more if you are doing a sit down meal) and then another hour for games, activities and gift opening. That may be much longer if you have a large guest list. 

If your shower is going to be outdoors, think about your guests comfort. At one of my own bridal showers, we were outside in the middle of July for three hours in the middle of the day. By the time I was done opening gifts, most guests had gone inside and I was covered in sweat. Try to keep your guests shaded, comfortable and engaged. It does not matter if your shower is the cutest thing ever- if your guests are bored and uncomfortable, they are not going to enjoy it.

I have some fun showers coming up for you and some more great tips. If you have any questions about throwing a shower, please let me know by commenting on this post. I will answer any questions by the end of the week. 


daryn said...

I'm not throwing a shower...but I did want to say "thank you" for this post! It's super-helpful and will be filed away in my "should I ever throw a shower" folder. :) Thanks, Courtney, for the great advice -- Can't wait for the next installment!

MelliB said...

I am helping with two baby showers this summer so these posts are very timely! Do you have any websites that you like to go to for original game ideas? I get so bored of playing the same games at every shower (wedding & baby) and I've had a difficult time finding original ideas online. Thanks for the ideas!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Love your blog and I am throwing an eco-friendly shower where the bride would like to make crepe paper flowers to use at her reception. We have a range of ages and crafting abilities . . . any suggestions?

Maria said...

Could you please share where you got those rectangular white plates (in the tip #4 section)?

Thanks a bunch!

Joyful Weddings and Events said...

Hi Maria!

Those were rental from Classic Party Rentals: www.classicpartyrentals.com. They have offices all over the place and are very affordable. Thanks for asking!