Afternoon Tea or Garden Party
Reminiscent of times past, bringing the girls to afternoon tea is a fun and frothy way of spending time together. Finger foods such as cucumber sandwiches, macaroons, brownies and other goodies can be made ahead of time by the bridal party and require little to no prep time before the event.
Mimosa bars are easy to prepare before the bride arrives by mixing any kind of champagne (high-end or budget-friendly) with different flavor juices and frozen fruit.
Emma Baldwin enjoyed her bridal shower at the O’Neil House in Fairlawn, complete with a full tea service, mimosa bar and sunny view from the Garden Room. While the party remained girls-only for the majority of the event, Emma did involve her significant other in the day.
Her now-husband, Adam, showed up to say hello and thank you, open some presents with his bride, and then helped wrap up the event by loading the gifts into the car.
Emma commented, “It was important to have Adam be a part of the day so he could help open gifts and visit with family members in from out of town. It was nice to have just girls there for part of it and then have him show up toward the end with flowers. It was nice because it was a celebration of our impending marriage—it didn’t seem right to not have him be a part of it in some way as well.”
If the weather is generous with timing of the bridal shower, a tea can be translated to an outdoor garden party setting. Amanda Rininger, of Canton, is in the stages of planning everything. She says, “What I want for my bridal shower is a garden party theme. I want the ‘classic’ elegance of a female get-together. I would like a simple gathering with appetizer type foods, wine and a pastel decor. Sean, my fiancé, will not be attending the shower, his choice and I’m not opposed to that.”
If the bridal shower is an evening affair, instead of a fun tea party or mimosa bar, elevate the event with a cocktail-hour style champagne tasting with hor d’oeuvres and bite-size desserts.
Champagne is not everyone’s drink of choice, so if guests need options, try hiring a bartender for a cocktail party bridal shower instead. The vibe is more relaxed and nontraditional, and the bartender can teach the guests, depending on the size of the party, how to make a signature drink based on the bride’s tastes such as a Raspberry Sparkler with champagne and raspberries or mint mojitos.
Some people decide that a bride-only party isn’t the way to go. Melinda Kiba and her fiancé, Michael of the Akron area, are planning a less-traditional approach to their shower by making it a day for both of them. Melinda explains, “It’s important for both of us to be there and see and thank our family and friends, as a couple, for their support, love and gifts.” Melinda and Michael aim to have their shower (coming during the warmer months of this year) be a fun event that their family and friends can enjoy a picnic outdoors with games and activities such as corn hole.
Some showers can get really involved in a theme, such as Miriam Bonam’s bridal shower that incorporated a ’50s theme. The venue was decorated by crafty friends and family, and the food featured recipes from Bonam’s aunts and older women who helped make classic dishes such as pineapple upside-down cake, Jello molds and more.
Bonam explains, “I think the most fun part of the day was just every one getting so involved in the fun of dressing up. My fiancé even dressed up as a businessman from the ’50s and came in at the end to open a few gifts with me. But the shower was all girls otherwise.”
Most important is that the event stay true to the bride (and groom), so anything goes!
Unique ideas for bridal shower & wedding favors:
The favors for a wedding or bridal shower can be as unique as the people being celebrated. Everything from classic Jordan Almonds in a cute pouch to votive candles to ornaments to lip balm is fair game. For winter weddings, something more seasonal would be appropriate such as hot chocolate mix, mini marshmallows and candy canes in a mason jar are creative and toasty. DIY favor ideas can be found on sources such as Pinterest and DIY blogs such as ”Something Turquoise.” (SomethingTurquoise.com)
For a decadent favor, Jen from “Something Turquoise” provides the steps to making chocolate tasting favor jars with just four items. Cut up any flavor chocolate and add it to mini cupcake liners in mini glass favor jars and voila!
If favors seem like a frivolous expense, remember that they literally can be anything that fits the bride (for a bridal shower) or couple’s (for the wedding) taste. For more budget-friendly ideas, why not try giving out a small bag of s’mores supplies, a container of fancy sea salt, shot glasses, tea bags, samples of honey or sunglasses for an outdoor reception.
In lieu of favors, the bride and groom also can choose to make a donation to a cause that is important to them.
The favors can be as unique as the couple, and it will be appreciated if thought is put into the selection.