This September I have the awesome blessing to stand up bedside my best friend at her wedding, as her Maid of Honor. To any of you who have been a bridesmaid you know there is more than just wearing a pretty dress, holding some flowers, and walking down the aisle before the blushing bride follows. And to those of you who have been a MOH, you know there is a lot more planning involved.
Right now, I’m in the midst of planning my lovely Kaiti’s bridal shower. Nearly two years ago, we almost lost Kaiti to a crazy blood clot incident. And to me, this bridal shower is more than just funny games and opening gifts. It is a celebration of her life. It is a celebration that she is here and alive, and marrying the man of her dreams before all of their friends and family!
So, along this journey I have made a few major discoveries:
1. Invitations, invitations, INVITATIONS!
I guess I never realized how many options for invitations there are. I’m a big fan of Pinterest and while looking for a simple shower invitation template, I was overwhelmed! Although, I went the route of creating a invitation and having it printed by VistaPrint, I really loved the idea of an e-vite. We do live in the age of digital everything. And if all your guests have an e-mail addresses (I’m not sure who doesn’t these days) then I suggest using e-vites! It saves money, saves time, and it is environmentally friendly! If you’re in need for a digital invitation of any sort, check out Paperless Post.
2. If you’re going to throw a party, do it right!
I am not saying there is a specific right or wrong way to throw a party, but you need to take into account the style and taste of your bride! When it comes to throwing a party the “it’s the thought that counts” saying doesn’t fly. That saying only works for broke kids/adults who cannot afford a gift for a birthday or such. You know, when you get that handmade gift catered just to you, but only cost about $5? It does have meaning and thought behind it, but you might not brag about it to friends. Throwing together a bare minimum, Dollar Store party doesn’t have any thought or care attached to it at all. You’re just being cheap.
If she’s a country girl, maybe she’d love a good ol’ outdoor cookout. If she has champagne taste, you might want to rent a beautiful venue, hire a caterer and decorator. And if she’s somewhere in the middle, keep it simply classy. If you are going to spend any amount of money, high or low, to rent a venue, it needs to look nice. Plan/design your decor, map out the food you’ll be serving and how it will be presented, choose some fun yet not overly obnoxious games, and just be a great host! Even though hours of planning and putting things together can be tiring, it is our job to keep everyone excited during this time of celebration!
3. Make a budget.
Make a list of all the thing you’ll need. Just a simple list. Mine was 5 items: venue, decor, food, games, and gifts. Guestimate a total per each item and then add it up. If your fellow bridesmaids are chipping in, divide the total by the number of bridesmaids (including yourself, don’t be stingy) and that is the total you should tell everyone to set aside for the shower.
A budget is a guess! It is not saying you need that money from everyone upfront. It is a GUESS at how much money you will need to set aside to spend on your party. And in most cases, you overshoot your budget, so in the end you’ll be saying, “Wow, look at that! We saved $$$!” I say in most cases, because not everyone is an impeccable bargain shopper, I just happen to be one of those people (not to brag or anything).
4. Kick all the cooks out of the kitchen!
I don’t mean the actual kitchen, because you won’t catch me dead cooking… and that’s only because you don’t want me to cook, trust me! What I mean is, don’t let other’s opinions get in the way of you throwing a killer party. I have been struggling with this very problem. While, yes, I am a control freak and I love to take on leadership roles, I also really value the opinions of my team, or in this case, fellow bridesmaids. But, it got to the point where no one was focusing on throwing a beautiful party and everyone was focusing more on how much it was going to dent their wallet.
So, when your team starts to lose sight of the real reason behind the celebration, don’t be afraid to say “Hey, I value your opinion, but I need to plan this out first. I will let you know when I need your help once I have it all mapped.” You’re not saying you don’t want their opinion. Or that you don’t want their help, because you very much do! You’re just saying, give me a second to breathe and find all the answers first, and then you can ask your questions. Or if you’re like me and have a bit of a quick temper, have another bridesmaid explain the situation for you so you don’t completely combust (Thanks, Abby).
5. DON’T BITCH AT THE BRIDE!
I say “at” and not “to” because there is a difference. Bitching to the bride is normal in most cases. Kaiti is my best friend. So, when something is bothering me I’m going to call her and tell her about it out of natural habit. But, I in NO WAY expect her to take on or fix these problems. I’m just blowing off steam. Or bothering her with my hilariously, cute personality!
Bitching at the bride is another story. This is something I cannot stress enough. DON’T DO IT! The bride is already in charge of her whole wedding! Don’t stress her out with a party that you are throwing for her. It is never okay to tell the bride that she is asking too much for having a nice party thrown for her. She deserves it! She probably just spent the last year planning her big day, spending thousands of dollars, and stressing to no end over the small details. The very least you can do is spend a couple hundred dollars on a classy party to celebrate her happiness.
I could go on for days about how much I’ve learned while planning this bridal shower. But these are the five that I found to be the most important. I hope this was insightful to you in some way, shape, or form. Whether you’re about to plan a shower and are looking for ways to prevent chaos, you’re in the middle of planning one and have been experiencing a few challenges, or you’ve already done it and you needed some validation that you’re not the only crazy one.
All in all, I just want to put on a beautiful shower for my bestie. I mean, if we were extravagant enough to have senior pictures taken together back in the day, we can be a little extravagant for a party in celebration of the happiest day of her life! So, good luck to all you bridal shower party-throwers out there!
Keep an eye out during the beginning of next month to see pictures of how the shower turns out!