I'm throwing a bridal shower and I don't know where to start
Perhaps this was you, or IS you and you’re just now realizing your BFF is getting married in 5 months and you have yet to start planning her bridal shower. Take a deep breath and realize that this is ok and the best time to start is now!
I love throwing parties and hosting; I think I inherited that gene directly from my mother, and I’m grateful for it. I believe there is such love and joy that can come from a well executed and planned party, because at the end of the day, you made someone feel loved. You put massive amounts of effort into something that lasted maybe only an hour or two but you know what?? That is COMPLETELY worth it in my mind. I enjoy focusing on decor and food because I know it is going to make that person feel like they are valued and you put effort into this for them. I love to think through ways to incorporate her favorite flowers or get custom desserts made with her wedding date piped into the frosting. I once spend hours cutting pieces of fruit into the letters of my bff's last name to put on skewers. THIS MAY NOT BE YOU! And that’s ok, but if you want to create a meaningful party, there are some tangible steps you can take to doing so, that don't cost you a dime but will make a huge impact in the final outcome.
Here are a few simple things that should be your first priority when starting to plan a bridal shower, baby shower, birthday party, etc. and to help minimize the stress.
1. GET ON THE SAME PAGE
In our world of comparison and digital show-and-tell, it’s hard not to create grand plans in our minds, that may or may not be feasible. Sitting down face to face with your friend and discussing what ideas she has, what are her top priorities or preferences and how you can accomplish those will help reduce a lot of unnecessary stress along the way. If your friend has a Pinterest board a mile long with 12 different design schemes, you may have a hard time landing on what it is she really wants. But through an actual conversation (seriously, face to face), I promise you, the two of you will be able to nail down what type of party you are going to throw.
2. FOCUS ON WHO SHE IS
This is also the time to talk through expectations she may have. If you are throwing this party for her, chances are you know her pretty well! Is she hoping to have her entire sorority show up for the party? Or would she rather have an intimate brunch with some of her closest friends and family members, where everyone goes around the table and gives a piece of marriage advice? Does she love mimosas and donuts or is she always the first person to suggest tacos and margaritas? Does she love games or would she feel embarrassed being made the center of attention? Be mindful in who she is, and how you can tap into those places that are already a part of her personality.
3. BUDGET MATTERS
Once you know what your friend wants and how you are going to execute, the next obvious priority is to think through your budget. Are you hosting this party alone or are others going to assist with some of the costs? It’s not necessary to go overboard with decor or food, but once you have gone through step 1, you will have a better idea of what your money should go towards. If you feel like you need a little help with the budget, talk to the bride’s siblings, relatives or other friends who may be interested in helping out with some of the costs. It's always fun to pull off a party with the help of a few friends so rally the troops and see who wants to be on your team. And put on your old DIY hat if needed and get a little crafty along the way!
4. BE INTENTIONAL
Like I mentioned above, what is most important is making the bride feel valued and loved. What is it that she really cares about? What types of things does she enjoy? Sure, that tea party Pinterest link looks adorable, but does your friend hate anything that is remotely “quaint?” That is not the theme to go with. If you attempt to create an experience that reflects who YOU are, put yourself in her shoes and make sure your motives are intentional for who SHE is.
5. HAVE A JOYFUL HEART
The biggest piece of wisdom and advice I have is to do this with a joyful heart. Maybe you haven’t agreed to throwing a bridal shower yet, so this is a good time to take a hard look at yourself and figure out if you even should. Hopeful you read this and think, “Yes! I have to do this! I love my friend so much!” But it’s ok to think this through! If you need to rally a few more people behind you and do it as a team, do that! If you need to step back and say you can’t lead the charge, do that too. The quote by Maya Angelou sums it up pretty well “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people never forget how you made them feel.” A bride never forgets the people who were with her during this special season of her life, and she will never forget the impact a good friend can have on her during this time of exciting change.
All in all, the biggest things to remember here are how you can continue to be a good friend and cheerleader for your friend during this season of her life. If you throw a party for her, have fun with it! Do it because you love her! I hope you are excited for your friends getting married and how you can bless them during this season. And who knows, if you do this for her maybe she will repay you someday and do it for you :)