Bridal shower emergency
July 24, 2014 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Need: (1) QUICK ideas on bridal shower decorations and games, (2) direction on where to find said decorations and games (and flowers and baked goods) in Boston and/or (3) a Boston-area event planner who could do the work of finding decorations and decorate the event space.

Posting for a friend who just found out that no one has done anything at all for her friend's bridal shower taking place next weekend (Aug 2nd) in Boston. There is a venue picked out (a restaurant on Main St in Wakefield), but she essentially has nothing else!

She needs:
Flowers (anyone know of a not-so-expensive florist)
A bakery that might do customized cookies with a tight turn-around
Ideas on a [non-rental] wishing well

What else does one do for bridal showers? Fun games?

She will be staying in the neighborhood next to Logan airport. Where is a good spot to shop? Any good party supply stores? SHe'll have a car and can do shopping on Friday.

One last question: If you know an event planner who would like to get paid to help procure said decorations and decorate, send me recos here or via PM.

posted by anthropoid to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Game - bridal shower bingo (easy enough to design herself in less than an hour - use items from her registry and a site like this one), print out on a friend's computer or at staples)

Flowers - wholefoods will be fine, there's one in Melrose. Get vases at one of the local dollar stores and you are golden. They'll probably even put them in the vases for you for a fee. Stop and Shop also does decent small floral arrangements for around 20 bucks each. Other decorations are probably taken care of due to the fact that it is in a restaurant

Wishing well - is this just a box you put cards in or does it have to look like a water well? I would just get a box and wrap it with wedding-themed paper from Target with a slit on the top.
posted by fermezporte at 10:50 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's sweet that your friend is willing to go all-out, but most bridal showers I've been to haven't had any of those things. Good food, good conversation, presents for the bride, some kind of keepsake gathering (like a book, or bringing a recipe, or filling out little "advice" cards) and that's pretty much it. Whatever she can accomplish on the list you mention is just icing on the proverbial cake.

The easiest way to get inexpensive flowers is to stop by a grocery store, possibly Trader Joe's, and pick up a few bouquets and a vase to assemble a centerpiece. iParty is a good bet for basic decorations, and is often in the same kind of plaza as the aforementioned supermarket/TJ's. No thoughts on the custom cookies, unfortunately, the places I know in Wakefield aren't so much with the decorating.
posted by aimedwander at 10:53 AM on July 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

I'm sorry - I'm just going to ask the questions: are you sure the pregnant friend wants games? Are you certain the restaurant will allow outside food (or lots of flowers) to be brought in? I would check those things first. (I personally would have been really, really upset to have games at my shower.) Are you in a private room at the restaurant, or just at a large table in the main dining room? That makes a big difference.

The primary thing at showers is the gifts, and opening the gifts can take a very long time. So, games and whatnot can just lead to a super duper long shower, which might tire out the mother to be.

Get some inexpensive bulk bouquets at Trader Joe's or whatnot, and dollar store vases, but don't stick the mother to be with them at the end of the party. Truthfully, nice flowers make the best decorations anyhow.

The only thing I still have (and use) from my shower is a book where each of our friends who attended wrote a note to my child telling him something about me and his father in the 'time before he was born", one wish for him, and one prediction about what his world might be like when he turns 18. As he's gotten older (he's 8 now), he's taken more and more pleasure in looking through the book and talking with us about what is written therein. The book did double duty, too, because in the back someone wrote down each gift and who gave it.

Don't stress out about this -- good food, good friends, lots of hugs, some gifts to unwrap .... that's all you need for a really nice shower.
posted by anastasiav at 11:00 AM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would definitely get flowers at Trader Joe's; there's one in Saugus that's next to Wakefield. Flowers at Whole Foods are very expensive.

If she wants to drive a bit out of her way, there's also a Trader Joe's in Burlington and down the road is a Party City/iParty that has all that party sort of stuff.

In the same mall where Party City lives, there's a Roche Bros. with an in-store bakery; they may be able to help with custom things.
posted by kinetic at 11:07 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

First of all: NBD. Bridal showers are not rocket science. The food is taken care of, sounds like, and gifts will be brought; the rest is just fanciness.

Most of the larger Stop and Shops have a nice floral department and can absolutely whip up some centerpieces on over a week's notice. Or just buy flowers and dollar store vases or mason jars if you want to go a little rustic. If I were your friend I would shop for this stuff in Wakefield rather than in Revere/East Boston - it's a slightly fancier community. Stop and Shop might be able to do cookies, too.

At my sister's bridal shower we played a game where we set a kitchen timer for a random amount of time and if it went off while she was opening your gift, you got a prize (prizes: bottles of wine, fancy soap or decorative stuff from T.J.Maxx).

At my friend's recent bridal shower everyone wrote out their worst piece of marriage advice and the bride got to choose her favorite.

I've also enjoyed a trivia quiz about the bride game - things like "How many roommates has M had?" or "What food has A always dreamed of serving at her wedding?" But this works best if people from various spheres of the bride's life can work on it together, so that it's not all questions about college or childhood.

But seriously, the main thing is to keep people fed and get the gifts opened.

(Does the bride want/expect a wishing well? In some circles they're considered tacky. But if that's a must, get thee to Party City!)

(Oh and another store that might come in useful is the Christmas Tree Shops, lots of cheap decoration stuff. But Party City is more organized.)
posted by mskyle at 11:13 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I just went to a bridal shower recently:

no games,
unmatched blue vases with various white flowers in center of every table,
table with framed pictures of the couple and their families through time,
blue (the theme "Something Blue" not the wedding color) candies of several types (either from a bulk candy store or ordered online, maybe Party City would have a selection) in glass bowls with small clear plastic bags for guests to fill and take as favors (blue gumballs, blue flower jellies, blue chocolate dipped pretzels, and swirly blue lollipops),
blue hand soap and matching blue hand sanitizer (from Bath & Body Works at mall) at each place setting,
no other decorations other than those existing at the venue,
guests each wrote "advice" on a piece of paper that was turned in to be drawn at random times throughout the shower for choice of a basket of themed stuff (movie, bath, towels, chocolate, cocktails, etc.),
at the end whoever had a special mark on their hand soap tag also got to take the vase in the center of the table.

I imagine that all this work was taken care of by the 7 or 8 bridesmaids over several weeks and not in 1 1/2 weeks.

It was a very nice shower. No one missed games.
posted by RoadScholar at 11:20 AM on July 24, 2014

anastasiav - I don't think the bride-to-be is pregnant. If she is, congrats!

I agree that your friend should match expectations with the bride-to-be. And when organising a party like this, the problem isn't the lack of things to do/eat/play as much as getting an overarching emotional theme. So ask the bride to be (assuming this isn't a surprise...) what she wants people to say when they walk away at the end of the night "Omg, that FUN!" "That was unexpected!" "Wow, so elegant", "that must have cost a lot", "I feel so much closer to everyone now" etc. When standing in the shop faced with a million amazing choices of cookies or whatever, keep that emotion she specified as your guide.

As to giveaways, I recently attended a party where we made personalised necklaces with personal charms that were REALLY nice. I suspect it cost a bit more than the normal party favour (about $50 a person I think) but I much preferred it as an activity/party favour to so much of the crap I have gotten. I don't want to link the shop here but if you memail me I will send you the link.
posted by saucysault at 11:25 AM on July 24, 2014

We didn't have flowers at my bridal shower. I might have gotten corsages for my aunts but that was just a thing to recognize and honor them. You don't really need decorations either but if you disagree, just find someone with Amazon Prime and go nuts.

Instead of a wishing well, what about keeping it simple and having a guest book where people can write well wishes? I have the guest books from my shower and wedding and I've definitely paged through them after the fact, plus it's easy since they are books. What if you had a notebook where people could write down their advice or well wishes and hold it up while someone takes a picture? Pictures of everyone who was at the shower would have been nice.

We had favors at my shower but we actually forgot to give them out. It seems like people don't really do favors anymore unless they're super simple, like put some candy in a pretty container and call it a day. At a friend's baby shower, the favors were clear plastic rattles filled with M&Ms with their names on it. It was cute but it's not like I will cherish that thing always. I ate the candy and tossed it out. They were probably more trouble than they were worth. But if you feel inclined to do candy in a pretty container, again, just find some stuff on Amazon prime.

The most important thing to have at a shower, once you have food, drinks, and guests taken care of, is someone to write down what gift the bride received and who it came from. It makes thank you card writing a lot easier ("uh oh, did Aunt Karen give us the knife block or the towels?")

I organized a shower recently and was *way* more worked up about it than I needed to be. I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by kat518 at 11:29 AM on July 24, 2014

My sincere apologies -- the admins here at work are talking about baby showers and clearly I got my wires crossed.

My advice about asking the restaurant about decorations and outside food stand, however.
posted by anastasiav at 11:50 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Trader Joe's often has inexpensive flowers. There's a Target in Everett (google it) that is likely her closest.

Key bridal shower moment: Bride must wear all the bows from gifts on her head. On a hat is best. Take pictures of the ridiculousness.

Seconding kat518 that someone should have a notebook to write down gifts.

I have no idea what the wishing well thing you are talking about is.
posted by maryr at 11:56 AM on July 24, 2014

Popping in to say that I just hosted a bridal shower for my sister and the most popular game by far was "Make a dress out of toilet paper." Cost: 1 jumbo pack of single ply.

Another thing to keep in mind: Save the ribbons from gifts and the bridesmaids traditionally use them to make a bouquet for the wedding rehearsal. It's surprisingly helpful to have an actual prop to time the handoffs for the ceremony.

Good luck!
posted by chatongriffes at 12:06 PM on July 24, 2014

Here's a wishing well from Party City. They'll also have decorations. But don't go crazy or corny

These centerpieces are $5 a piece, not hideous and will double as floral centerpieces. No need to deal with flowers. The gem scatters will be fine for each table, done. $7 per table.

Games? I've NEVER liked shower games, skip them, no one will care. (I promise) If you want an activity, bring a paper plate so that someone can make that goofy bridal bouquet thing for the rehearsal. Have someone take down what the bride says as she opens her gifts. Then read it all back amongst the giggles as 'what she'll say on her wedding night'.

If you simply MUST have a game, buy a HUGE amount of toilet paper. Select two guests to be brides, and divide into teams (the bigger the party the more 'brides' you can have.) Then the teams fashion bridal gowns out of TP. It gets silly. Take pictures, whatever. Have the Bride decide on the prettiest dress and give the prizes.

Prizes can be Starbucks gift cards, candles, bath salts, all that crap in your 're-gift' closet. Don't drive yourself nuts.

Any grocery store will make custom cookies, but check with the venue, they might be able to do it. Or ask them for a suggestion.

Breathe deep, this is a piece of cake. You've GOT this!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:07 PM on July 24, 2014

I used water beads for a recent family reunion and they worked a treat. They make easy, inexpensive centerpieces, just need water and a glass bowl. Try them in blue or find out the wedding colors and go with them. You can get them at Walmart, Party City, Dollar Tree, etc.

Almost forgot, but here is a link to show you what they look like (in this case, the woman used them in a preschool): Water Beads
posted by misha at 12:13 PM on July 24, 2014

Easiest party favor in the world: the candy buffet. Those can provide some decor elements if pick some tall vases as containers. People can either take candy or not. There's really no tchotchkes that I want as a favor so candy is my preference.

Costco is actually awesome about stuff like this. If you call ahead the floral manager will pull together flowers in specific colors and the bakery manager will do cupcakes to match.

If you insist on games, TP brides is the way to go. It lets people participate or not which is awesome. Gift Bingo is good because it gives guests something to do during the boring gift opening.
posted by 26.2 at 12:26 PM on July 24, 2014

Honestly, keep it simple. Focus on good food, drinks if possible, and have music going in the background. If you could change the venue to a restaurant instead, truly that would be better unless the bride really likes the "traditional" bridal shower concept. As a guest the games are boring or frustrating so I vote no games.
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:46 PM on July 24, 2014

Jacobson Floral Supply is in the South End if she wants to pick up some local vases. Target is also very close - they have great little square and small vintage-looking vases.

A few other tips:

- Arranging basic flowers: Trader Joe's or other grocery store flowers -- separate the bouquets by color! It totally takes a meh arrangement into something quite modern and lovely.

- Flower alternatives: potted flowers or herbs make a GREAT and simple centerpiece, and they can then be take-home flowers for the guests. If you put them in paper bags, the plastic pot is masked and they look simple and elegant. Or a square of burlap, tied with some raffia or other twine.

Try to talk to the bride. I'd be really extremely unhappy if my shower had TP dresses, games and crazy glittery pink centerpieces from Party City. I mean, it would be so far off the mark that it would be amusing, but it wouldn't be at ALL what I wanted or expected. If you don't know, please check with her. You're not ruining the surprise, you're trying to give her a party in line with her own expectations.
posted by barnone at 12:56 PM on July 24, 2014

Flowers - Buy a dozen cheap champagne flutes, get flowers at a grocery, a couple of stems and some baby's breath and/or ivy, etc., in each. Bonus - bride or hostess gets champagne flutes.

Favors - I love the candy buffet idea, but no one actually needs favors, though if you made a wedding shower mixtape (Goin to the Chapel, Wedding Bell Blues, etc.) to give guests on cd, that would be fun.

Cookies - Grocery store bakeries can do decorated cookies, or get cookies, a tube of icing, and do them. Or make cookie/cupcake decorating the game.

Game - Get lots of colored pencils. Give each guest a 2" x 2" piece of paper, ask them to draw something - anything - maybe in the "theme colors to cherish forever." get paper in the wedding colors, cut in 2" x 2" squares, lay it out - 'patchwork quilt' art that can be framed, or be used to make a frame for a wedding invite or a group shot from the shower.

Decorations - You don't need streamers, unless you love them. Maybe a bunch of helium balloons to anchor the gift table. If you want to be traditional, buy a white umbrella (Michael's has a vast wedding crap section) add ribbons and suspend it from the ceiling.

Food - You need wine and hors d'oeuvres - Trader Joes has both; their take & bake frozen hors d'oeuvres are pretty good.. The food is more important than the other stuff.

If I didn't have family coming, I'd come be hired help, but, alas. Ask other attendees to see of somebody knows a friend who will help, and also serve wine, foods, etc.
posted by theora55 at 1:28 PM on July 24, 2014

Great answers so far, everyone! Thank you! Bride is definitely not pregnant. :) It's great hearing everyone's perspectives and also the specific advice/ideas.

My friend never got to see an invite, so she's not sure if a wishing well gift was suggested. If it was, she has no choice but to get/make one. [In my experience in NY, they are not considered "tacky," it's just a place to put small, fun gifts.]

Please keep the ideas and suggestions coming!
posted by anthropoid at 2:08 PM on July 24, 2014

Well, are you sure any of this is expected? I haven't seen a wishing well...ever. Most bridal showers seem to be a lunch with friends, not games and decor. I can sort of remember my mom hosting a bridal shower like that when I was kid, but haven't seen one in the wild. I've been a bridesmaid a bunch of times and a bride once. The only times I've been to a bridal shower with games, it was because someone much older planned it and it was held at someone's house. And the games thing worked in that venue, but I'm not sure it would be go in the middle of a restaurant unless you have a private room.

Baby showers seem to get a bit more ridic.

Your friend needs to see the invitation and chat with the bride (or head bridesmaid).
posted by 26.2 at 3:49 PM on July 24, 2014

The best game I've ever played at any bridal shower, including my own, is to ask the groom a list of questions ahead of time, record his answers, and then ask the bride each question and ask what his answer was. For each of his answers she gets right, she gets a Hershey's Kiss to eat later. For each one she gets wrong, she gets a piece of bubble gum which she has to start chewing IMMEDIATELY. You may choose to implement a "gum amnesty" rule, where she has 1 opportunity to spit out all her gum but must use it wisely.
posted by KathrynT at 6:01 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

« Older Text collage t-shirt design   |   Who's turning my Outlook events into meetings? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.