Best Bridal Shower Tips
September 30, 2005 1:06 PM   Subscribe

BridalShowerFilter: We are hosting a bridal shower for about 20 people at my house on Sunday. I have two questions. One is about punch.

1) Can anyone recommend a great receipe for a non-alcoholic punch? I have a great victorian cut-glass punchbowl and twenty cups, but can't figure out what to serve in it.

2) Other than eat and open presents, what (if anything) should we do? We have a wide range of backgrounds and ages attending -- what showers have you attended that were "most fun"? What should we avoid? The Bride has requested "no games"
posted by anastasiav to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Your punch should contain sherbert and 7-up. If you can't do booze, you gotta do ice cream!
posted by freq at 1:17 PM on September 30, 2005

Gifts take a long time. I wouldn't plan on doing anything else but eating and opening presents.
posted by agregoli at 1:20 PM on September 30, 2005

Best answer: I second freq, mixing lemon-lime soda and regular punch and floating sherbet in it turns normal punch into CELEBRATORY DELICIOUSNESS.

The best bridal shower I have been to was pretty much just eating, mingling, and opening presents. Nobody likes the games, in my experience, so they won't be missed. If the food is good, and you try & introduce as many people to each other as possible, then things should be great.
posted by catfood at 1:38 PM on September 30, 2005

Punch: One can of Hawaiian Punch; one can of pineapple juice; one two liter of 7-up; one half a can of frozen orange juice. We always freeze orange juice in a round jello mold to float on top. It's WONDERFUL!

Hmmm... really no games? Presents and gifts are probably enough. Gifts will take longer than you expect. The most fun we ever had involved a scavanger hunt, but you probably don't want to go that far. Make sure someone keeps a list of the presents and who gave them. And, one of the nicest things that happened to me at my bridal shower was that the host had each person fill out their name and address on a thank you envelope, and then drew a winner - saved lots of time later!
posted by dpx.mfx at 1:41 PM on September 30, 2005

Best answer: There's generally a laid-back vibe to showers with a lot of socializing, so eating and opening gifts will probably take longer than you might expect. You don't want to keep people there longer than necessary; anything more than 2 hours and I know I start to get fidgety. If anything, I think tips to make things move along quickly are more appropriate than trying to come up with activities to keep people there longer.

Bridal showers' main caveat is that the gift-opening portion can be eternal. If there's a large stack of gifts, try to recruit a few people to help the bride expedite things. Someone to hand her a gift and someone else to move the just-opened gifts out of the way helps keep things moving. Usually the bridal party does this, but anyone can do it. Oh - and someone else to write down a list of who gave what is a godsend when you're trying to write thank-you notes later.

And my compliments to the bride for requesting no games. I wish more people would do that. Shower games are lame.
posted by boomchicka at 1:41 PM on September 30, 2005

I agree with the above comments. Couple more hints:
Remember to "assign" someone to record who gave what to the bride, so she can do her thank-you notes - that was a HUGE help for me!
Theme suggestion: If the Happy Couple will be new(er) homeowners, think about a Garden Shower (of course, they HC have to enjoy gardening, or think they will). That's what I did when I got married (by then I was 40) - and it was a blast; I'm still using many of the presents I got (wheelbarrow, shovel, kneepad, etc). My favorite (long used up) - just so I could say it - was a bag of shit, er, chicken manure!
posted by dbmcd at 1:42 PM on September 30, 2005

Response by poster: Theme suggestion

Actually we do have a theme -- its a "Honeymoon Shower" (since they already have a house). We've been telling people who ask that the best gifts would be ones that enable them to do stuff and have fun (anything from movie tickets to getaway weekends).

More thoughts!! These ideas are great! Keep them coming!
posted by anastasiav at 2:15 PM on September 30, 2005

I was at a bridal shower last weekend, and instead of games, the organizer had everyone tell a quick story about the bride and themselves (usually how they met). Most of them were hilarious or poignant. Her mom's story (about meeting the groom) made everyone cry.

It was a nice substitute.
posted by gaspode at 2:19 PM on September 30, 2005

Best answer: Since everyone else has good suggestions for #2, I'll go with #1. I'm not really a fan of regular punch--have you thought about going with a different beverage, like fresh lemonade or cider? Or, this Angel Punch from Epicurious is sorta different--it incorporates a quart of strong green tea. Or, if you want to stick to traditional punch, maybe try classing it up by using Limonade in place of Sprite.

You could also try freezing assorted berries and floating them in the punch for a pretty presentation.
posted by CiaoMela at 2:41 PM on September 30, 2005

I make this all the time at home, and I bet it would adapt well to a punch bowl. 2 little containers Crystal Lite lemonade powder, plus 2 quarts cold water (necessary to reconstitute them into 2 quarts lemonade). 1 2-liter bottle diet tonic. A jar of maraschino cherries. Pour all of the above into a punch bowl just before serving. Bonus points if you take some of this mix with the cherries and freeze it in a ring mold overnight before the shower - then float the frozen ring (take it out of the mold) in the punch bowl along with your punch. Looks good, tastes yummy and it's a great way to save your calories for the cake and munchies!
posted by Lynsey at 2:54 PM on September 30, 2005

I'm generally in agreement with the move-it-along folks. A bridal shower, by definition, involves many women with varying degrees of intimacy with the hostess and varying notions of what's appropriate and varying levels of investment in the upcoming ceremony and varying methods of working out disagreements--so it's best to keep things on a completely neutral level.

However, if the party is fairly small, I'd go with something like gaspode's suggestion.

I'm in NYC and a good friend here who grew up in a small town in Kentucky sent out wedding announcements to the massive list of hometown friends and family, requesting NO GIFTS except for two things: a favorite recipe, and one piece of advice the recipient(s) would have liked to have in the days before the ceremony. The book she created out of the responses is indescribably wonderful.

Punch? Impossible to go wrong with sherbet and ginger ale. Pass it off as a retro ironic hipster move, if you feel bad about the lack of effort involved. If you want to go all Martha, just make your own ginger ale.
posted by vetiver at 2:59 PM on September 30, 2005

1 bottle lemon-lime soda
One can of frozen OJ
One cup of frozen strawberries (or other berry)
Sliced oranges with skin still on

To make the bowl or cups look fancy, you could wet the edges and dip in powdered sugar that matches the wedding colours.

Games/Fun Stuff
* Have someone write down all the gifts and names of gift-givers. That way, the bride can easily thank everyone and not hurt anyone's feelings by confusing things.

* Stick any bows and ribbons on a paper plate. Turn this into a hat. Take pictures. For whatever reason, it always looks kooky. Every bridal shower I've attended has involved this.

* As the bride unwraps gifts, *some* people like to write down what she's saying. Then they read it back to her as her words to her husband on their wedding night. Granted, this depends on the audience and you should consider this carefully if mothers and mothers-in-law are involved, even if the bride is easygoing.

* Give the groom a quiz before the wedding. (If you could live anywhere in the world...Where did you meet? What is the groom's favourite food?) Then ask the bride these questions. It can be funny. (However, don't involve intimate questions. Someone asked my husband some intimate questions and I refused to play along because my mother was in attendance. My friend couldn't figure out what would be wrong, since she never considered my mother might have more conservative views, and blurted it out anyway. Not fun. So stick to g-rated questions.)

* Do food that fits with the theme. I was going to Mexico and I love Mexican food, so they threw a shower with chicken mole, tacquitos, jalapeno poppers, salsa, margaritas, etc. They also had a pinata! Hilarious photos of me in the paper plate hat, blindfolded and swinging a broom at what turned out to be a chair!

A great gift is a set of thank you cards and stamps. Someone gave me this and I really appreciated it. I always send thank you cards, but I think it's a nice thing to do, since the bride is so busy just before the wedding. However, I think it's tacky to have people address their own cards. If you don't think the bride has everyone's address, go around and write them down.
posted by acoutu at 3:32 PM on September 30, 2005

Sherbet & Ginger Ale makes a great punch, and isn't as sweet as one made with lemonade or Seven-up.
posted by essexjan at 3:46 PM on September 30, 2005

No punch recipes, here, just wanted to add my props to the bride for not wanting games. My familly thinks there is something wrong with me for hating shower games. I swear to god if I see one more toilet paper dress contest I will scream!

A compromise--and it doesn't require anyone to unwillingly participate in lame games--is to write down the comments that the bride to be makes as she opens the gifts, then read them back as a list of things she might say on the honeymoon night. Comments like "This is a big one!" or "I don't even know how to use one of these!" can bring big laughs. You have to have an energetic reader and the right kind of crowd to pull it off, though--otherwise it will fall flat.
posted by saucy at 3:49 PM on September 30, 2005

Oops, someone beat me too it :-)
posted by saucy at 3:50 PM on September 30, 2005

Oh please for the love of god, don't make the bow hat. Or if someone just starts to make it without provocation, put it on the dog. Any bride who is not interested in games will not be interested in being made to look like a complete idiot at a party ostensibly for her. I never understood why people insisted on this, other than just general jealousy that this nice lady was getting lots of presents and the bow-hat maker was not.
posted by jennyb at 3:52 PM on September 30, 2005

And if you decide to make the Crystal Lite and diet tonic water punch, please make a test batch first. That sounds like the most vile beverage since I unadvisedly (and desperately) mixed Popov vodka with Powerade and Sprite.
posted by jennyb at 3:55 PM on September 30, 2005

Ooh. As a fellow "no games" bride, I would absolutely hate it if anyone wrote down my offhand remarks and read them back suggestively. HATE. Seriously. Jennyb has it right, any bride who doesn't want games doesn't want any of the other idiotic crap that usually goes along with them.
posted by boomchicka at 4:15 PM on September 30, 2005

If you don't go with the bow hat, you can make all the bows into a bouquet. Someone did that for me, and I believe I still have it in my box o' wedding memorabilia.
posted by leapingsheep at 3:55 AM on October 1, 2005

Best answer: A second vote for not having the shower guests address their own thank you envelopes -- extremely tacky. A better alternative is to purchase a nice address book for the couple and the guests can make their own entries as they arrive or pass the book around during the gift opening.

If the weather is chilly, you might want to have serve something warming (in a crock pot) instead of a (or in addition to) the cold punch.

Wassail Punch:

* 2 quarts apple cider
* 2 cups orange juice
* 1/2 cup lemon juice
* 12 whole cloves
* 4 cinnamon sticks
* 1 pinch ground ginger
* 1 pinch ground nutmeg
In a slow-cooker or a large pot over low heat, combine apple cider, orange juice and lemon juice. Season with cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer. If using a slow cooker, allow to simmer all day. Serve hot. 12 servings
posted by jaimystery at 6:16 AM on October 1, 2005

For a bridal shower rencently, a group of frineds each made an album page for the bride-with pictures of them together, decorated, comments etc. I thought that was a sweet idea. They put the album together at the shower.
posted by slimslowslider at 8:38 AM on October 1, 2005

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