How to Host a Simple Bridal Shower

Hi friends! I recently had the honor of hosting a bridal shower for my sister-in-law. Knowing that my SIL isn’t a traditional gal, I knew I wanted to keep it sweet and simple with minimal fuss. But of course, I wanted to make sure the day made her feel special! In today’s post, I will be sharing all of the details on how to host an affordable, beautiful, yet simple shower.

It’s All in the The Details

Thoughtful decor will have a huge impact on any event that you host. Keeping with a consistent, well planned theme will be eye catching and more of a reason for your party to be memorable one. After searching through Pinterest for a bit, I decided on a black, white and pink color scheme. My SIL loves bright colors, so I knew the decor needed to have a bit of pop. For the table, I ordered a black table cloth and a black and white stripe runner. To dress the table up a bit more, we ordered a large pink and white center piece from a local florist and added a few photos of the bride-to-be. If I could do it again, I would have added a little table confetti scattered down the table.

I ordered affordable printable decor from Etsy and also used a few things left over from my shower. I chose the ‘He Said, She Said’ game and the ‘Who am I” game which ended up giving us all a few laughs. I placed each game at everyone’s place setting which also dressed up the table. Anytime I order printables from Etsy, I have it printed at Staples. It’s fast and easy. You can also opt to a little extra to have all of your items cut to size, which I highly recommend for a wedding. We also played a 3rd game that did not require stationary; How Well Does the Bride know the Groom? I asked the groom about 15 questions (some made up, some found on Pinterest). For each question the bride answered different than the groom, she had to put a piece of bubble gum in her mouth. Luckily for this bride, she knew her groom and only ended up with one piece of gum.

For favors I opted for mini champagne bottles decorated in sheer pink bags and tags also from Etsy. I re-purposed the tag template by using it for welcome signs and had it printed on 8×10 card stock. The tags can also be printed on full sheet labels and applied directly to the bottle. When choosing a party favor, I suggest going with something that the majority of your guest will use. Same goes for game prizes – we use little bags of Hersey’s kisses. To add an extra touch, I played wedding themed movies on low volume in the background since the shower was hosted at my house.

Food and Drinks

To keep the afternoon as stress-free as possible I kept our food menu simple. Disclaimer – the menu was not exclusively gluten-free.

  • Scrambles Eggs
  • Croissants
  • Muffins
  • Chicken Salad
  • Cheese Board
  • Cesar Salad
  • Wraps (sliced in pin-wheels)
  • Gluten-Free Pastries
  • Cupcakes
  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Coffee, Tea and Mimosas (cranberry and orange with fresh strawberries)

Pre-Event Prep

Regardless of the event, planning ahead of time is super important. Once I had my decor, games and menu set, I planned out the afternoon. I planned out the seating, table scape and where I would place my decor throughout the house. Pinterest is a great resource for gathering ideas on how to arrange your decor. I also created a very loose timeline in my head of how the day would flow {welcome chit-chat, mimosas, brunch, games, dessert and a final game}. Then from the event start time, I planned backwards, so I knew what time I would need to start setting up and still allow myself enough time to get ready.

The morning of the shower I started by setting up the table and placing all the decor. This was an important first step that I did not want cut short on time because I knew the decor would really make the day feel special. Next, I laid out all of my platters throughout the kitchen {without food} to ensure everything would fit and flow nicely. I also created a designated area for mimosas, coffee, tea and juices. One of the guests was bringing a cheese platter, so I made sure to leave room for that as well. About 20 minutes before the guests were to arrive, I placed the food on the platters and cut up fresh strawberry slices for the mimosa glasses.

Invites

For this shower, I chose to use Evite over traditional invitations. It is a great way to save on the cost of paper goods and mailing invitations. Most invitations end up in the garbage anyway! Since I only had about 3 weeks to plan this shower, Evite made it possible for me to get the message out quickly. Evite allows you to send your invitations by email or text message to your guests individually. Personally, I love the newer text message option because I feel like guests tend to respond quickly.

Evite has a wide variety of invites to chose from, so it is a great option for showers, engagements, weddings, birthdays, retirements and celebrations of all kinds. Many of the invites are free, but you can pay for premium options as well. My friends, family and I have been fans of Evite for years. It is also the invitation I chose to use for my wedding rehearsal dinner.

I know that many people like to incorporate traditional invitations into the event decor. As you’re reading this, you many be thinking that you lose out on this detail with Evite, but you don’t have to. To get a similar affect for my SIL’s shower, I selected a template that complemented the pink, white and black theme. The template I chose also allowed me to add a photo, so I chose one of her in a pink dress. I printed and framed this photo which allowed me to incorporate her invitation into the decor.

I hope I have provided some help tips! Check back soon for my next blog!

Top 6 Most Used Bridal Shower Gifts

Hi friends! Happy Thursday. Can you all believe May is already coming to an end? Some days it feels like time is moving faster than ever. It has been a short work week, but I am really excited the weekend is just about here. I have a bunch of things to do around the house on Friday. There’s nothing better than knocking things off to-do list in my book. We have really been focusing on sprucing up our yard and patio area. I am planning on getting things started early, so I can end Friday with a mani/pedi in preparation for our besties’ wedding! I have been reflecting on all of excitement I felt during the week of my wedding, so I feel extra excited for them. Fun fact, the bride used my wedding planning check list (click here)!

Today I am sharing some of my most used bridal shower gifts. We have been married for about a year and a half, and I have been using gifts from my bridal shower for almost two. Whether you are looking to create your own bridal registry or spruce up your kitchen with some new purchases, keep reading. Here are my most used bridal shower gifts!

Although it took us weeks to finally open our new Keurig once we did it quickly became our most used gift. Initially, I was unsure if I wanted a Keurig machine of this size for two reasons. I wasn’t sure if we actually needed a large Keurig with a water reservoir {previously had a single serve} and I like to keep our counters on the bare side. I decided to leave it out on the counter for a few weeks to give it what I like to call a, “visual test run.” Once we started using it, we were hooked. Making at least 2 cups of coffee per morning, it definitely gets a lot of use. We also like that this model came with a carafe. This gives us the option to make enough coffee for a small crowd {requires a different pod} without having to break out the percolator.

Making its way to a very close second place is our Nespresso machine. I would say that I am giving it the #2 spot because only my husband uses it everyday {usually more than once a day} where as we both use the Keurig. As you can tell, we love our coffee! When I registered for my shower, I didn’t envision adding an espresso machine, so I went with a basic model. Had I known how much use it would get, I would have definitely consider registering for something a little fancier. Our machine came in a bundle with a milk frother. I thought I would get tons of use out of this, but the truth is, I don’t. It always seems like one more thing I have to clean. My husband only drinks espresso, so the frother really only gets used on the occasional weekend that I make a latte.

Another most used and must have gift {in my opinion} has been this Cutting Board. I use it just about every time I cook. I like that it has rubber grips on the bottom to prevent it from slipping around while I am chopping up ingredients. A few times a month I will clean the cutting board with baking soda and vinegar or lemon to eliminate any odors that may get trapped in there {think garlic and onions!}.

If you follow me on Instagram {and if you don’t, please do!} you know how much I’ve raved about my Le Creuset Dutch oven. I have the 5.5qt round Dutch oven in white. It was a “splurge” item that I added to my registry and was thrilled when my co-workers surprised me with it. I have a whole blog post dedicated to the top 5 reason why you need one! If you’re not looking to spend a few hundred dollars on a pot or aren’t sure if you will use it enough, there are some other options you can consider. For Christmas, I got an awesome deal on a Martha Stewart Dutch oven for my mom. I was able to get her a bigger size than I have and so far she loves it. Sometimes you can also find Le Creuset and similar products by Cusinart at HomeGoods.

I really enjoy cooking {if you haven’t figured that out already}, so the Calphalon pots and pans set I received gets a lot of use. Overall, I am pretty happy with this set with the exception of one pan that always burns. I love being able to transfer pans from the stove top to the oven. Regardless of the number of cookware items you request on your registry, be sure to include a high quality oven safe pan. This comes in handy when searing steaks, pork chops, one pot chicken dinners or want to broil shrimp.

It took me forever to pick out a flatware set, but I am so happy with the set I finally chose. Flatware was actually one of my most needed kitchen items prior to my shower. I knew I wanted something of very good quality that would last for years and years. Also, the style needed to be something simple and timeless. I love that this set is big! It has 12 settings including steak knives plus 3 extra serving utensils.

Would you like me to share my least used bridal shower gifts? Let me know in the comments!

My Bridal Shower + Registry Tips

I am so excited to share my bridal shower on the blog! Last weekend my mom threw me the most special shower. Many months ago when she was in her early planning stages I decided I definitely wanted my shower to be a surprise. We agreed that coming up with a fake story or event to get me to the shower (without also blowing the surprise) would be tough. One of my bridesmaids shared a great idea to avoid this scenario. The mother of the bride tells the bride the morning of her shower that it’s ‘shower day,’ with cute signs, flowers, decorations, etc. I don’t live at home anymore {weird!} so my mom decided she would still figure out how to surprise me the morning of.

The morning of my bridal shower day was a bit rainy, so I slept later than usual because my room was so dark. My fiance of course was in on the surprise, so at 7am {moments after I opened my eyes} he let my mom and MOH into the house and they BARGED into my room. Decked out in rain coats with flowers and cameras they pulled off the surprise! My mom also made me a hair appointment for that morning, so I didn’t feel as rushed getting ready.

My mom didn’t miss a single detail. My shower was Pinterest perfect. We both LOVE the Gilmore Girls, so she incorporated so many details from the show. She made chocolates covered in Gilmore Girl’s sayings, decorated the tables with Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts, the center pieces were filled with coffee beans and she even found Gilmore Girls bobble heads! I love how much my mom personalized my shower because it made my day extra special. She and my bridesmaids put together so many pictures, including a “Meet the Maids” scrapbook. I love to cook, so my mom also sent out recipe cards with my invitations and collected them in a wooden recipe box. I can’t wait to continue collecting recipes from friends and family. My mom included a few special gifts such a toasting flutes, cake forks, a piece of my grandma’s shirt {something blue} to sew into my wedding dress and my christening bonnet from my great aunt {something old}.

Registry Tips

I think registering is all about finding the balance between necessities and splurge items. Your bridal shower is a time for you to get some great house hold items that you may not be able to or think of buying for yourself.

In the end, I think I over-registered because some women in my life kept telling me that I didn’t have enough. I was really hesitant to add odds and ends like wooden spoons, spatulas, whisks, ice cream bowls and decorations because I knew these were things I could easily buy for myself. I didn’t get many of these extra items, but some of the extras I added at the end were purchased over some of my sought after items. I think my biggest tip would be to register for what you really want, so you get those items. You don’t want your registry to be too small, but if it’s filled with your must-haves, you have a better chance of getting them all. I ended up getting a lot of gift cards which will allow me to buy any extra items as I need them. (Update 11/19/17 – Looking back now I think all of the gifts I got worked out great. I didn’t end up returning much at all. It just took me a few months to work through all of the boxes. The slow cooker I registered for was terrible, so I am on the hunt for a new one. I got a lot of giftcards which I have been using to buy anything else I want. My biggest recommend is to register for what you want and need, but be practical! If you like to cook get great cookware! If you hate cooking, maybe that’s not the category to splurge in. At the end of the summer my co-workers had a bridal shower for me and got me the white Le Creuset Dutch oven I registered for and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!)

We registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond and Pottery Barn. BBB is a great choice because you can always use a 20% off coupon which helps make items more affordable (especially the small appliances). PB can be a little tricky because store locations are limited and their online specials change daily. My invitations also said “Home Depot giftcards as also appreciated.” We really appreciate all the HD gift cards we got because we’re still renovating our house.

My Top 10 Registry Items

Kitchen Aid Mixer

Cuisinart Blender

Cuisinart Food Processor

Cuisinart Hand Blender

Nespresso 

Large Service of Flatwear

Shark Steam Mop

Cuisinart Stainless Steel Pots & Pans

PotteryBarn Duvet and Quilt

Dinnerwear Set

The Kitchen Aid stand mixer was a splurge item that I knew I definitely wanted. Although I am not huge into baking (yet), I have always felt that it is a staple kitchen appliance (unless you of course do no cooking or baking of any kind). Similarly, a good blender, food processor and hand blender are great staples too. The blender I linked above is awesome. I found that a lot of the appliances on the market today are bulky, but this blender isn’t too big. It is also super powerful. I love using a food processor to chop up veggies. A food processor can be a huge time saver for dinner prep. My hubby-to-be has also learned how to use it which makes it easier for him to get dinner started when I am running late. Hand blender or immersion blenders are awesome for pureeing soups! I cannot wait to use it this fall and winter.

The day we went to register an espresso machine wasn’t on our original list. The more we thought about it the more it seemed like something we would get use out of. After all, Mike and a lot of the men in my family drink espresso. I am so happy we decided to register for a Nespresso machine because we’ve used it everyday since we got it. We really love the milk frother it came with too.

Our number one most needed item was flatwear. When we moved into our house we were using hand-me-downs from my great aunts! I went with a simple design that would be timeless, but it was important to me that we got a large service. The set we chose came with serving spoons and steak knives.

I love the Shark steam mop we got. Our house has wood floors throughout, so I am always hesitant using a steam mop, but this one has three different settings. Honestly, nothing cleans the floors as well as a steam mop, especially this one because it has a huge pad.

Another item I knew we would definitely register for was a good pot and pans set. We went with a really nice brushed stainless set from Cuisinart. I opted for stainless because I think stainless wears better. Teflon eventually chips and wears down. I really like that the entire set is stove and oven safe. I can’t wait to put all of these to good use!

Our master bedroom isn’t finished yet, but I know I wanted to have all new bedding ready to go. I love simple quilts, so I opted for blue one from PB. I actually have the same one on our bed now in white which will eventually become out guest room bedding. I also registered for a white duvet cover and insert to give us more options for colder months and style.

I knew I 100% did not want china or crystal. I just don’t think they’re practical anymore and they’re very expensive which would take away from other gifts I had my eye on. Instead, I registered for  good everyday dinnerware. It took me a long time to find a set that I liked, but once I found this set at PB I started my second registry. I registered for both bone and grey, so I could mix and match the colors {our entire house is white, beige, grey and light blue – makes decorating very easy}. The dinner plates for this set are HUGE. They’re so big that they don’t actually fit in our upper cabinets, so we have them in a bottom drawer. They’re also a little big for the dishwasher. I didn’t take the size into consideration at all when I picked them out, but I think they will be perfect for the holidays 🙂

 

xo Miss Alyss