By Megan Lord
For generations, women have hosted perky get-togethers before “The Big Day.” In decades past, ladies galvanized the neighborhood around their dearest betrothed gal pals bringing treats, sundresses, and witty advice for surviving cohabitation — GASP! These parties were local, tight-knit, and enriched by the shared history of the women in attendance. But today, love, marriage, and family are taking all sorts of forms and the “besties” of betrothed ladies may be confronted with new challenges in planning pre-wedding festivities.
Questions abound. What if her family is spread all over the world? How do I plan a shower if I’m totally broke?! The bride is an established adult and doesn’t need more stuff; what now? I’m Andy; can I plan a shower for my best friend Mandy? Navigating off-road etiquette issues is tough. How does a BFF design a bridal shower that is loyal to the classic occasion but embraces the modern quirks? Planning a shower is a little wacky these days.
Chances are your bride friend, along the zany adventure of wedding planning, is also negotiating social trickiness. Today, we marry later in life, establish lives farther from our hometowns, and visit loved ones less frequently. The time between “Here’s the ring” to “You’ll forever make my heart sing,” is just as magical as it has always been. Now families rely on this time to get to know and love one another. So how can we plan a bridal shower that leaves beloved strangers feeling more like kindred spirits?
Are there ways the pre-wedding shindig can be helpful to the couple’s planning process? Think of the modern bridal shower as a way of preparing not only the bride, but also the guests, for The Big Day.
Shower planners don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Take stock of wedding plans; design a shower that supports and enhances the couple’s wedding vision.
Host a wedding décor craft day. An afternoon of pre-wedding activities can be a fantastic way to relieve the couple. Crafting checks boxes off the wedding to-do list and involves loved ones in the wedding before it even starts. There is no better way to build guest investment in the wedding day than to give them the sense that they have been needed. Shower guests can even create artwork that is showcased (or auctioned off for a honeymoon fund) at the reception!
Get Your Geek On
Leveraging social media is indispensable to the modern bridal shower mastermind. Collect photos of the couple over social networks, create inspiration boards to share your vision, and invite those who cannot travel to the shower to join electronically. Lots of traditional shower games can be adjusted to suit long-distance participants.
Even though modern guest lists might include as many zip codes as people, travel is also easier than it used to be. Treat all those friends “from away” to food and fun grounded in Maine history, talent, or topography. Go blueberry picking, charter a mini-bus for a scenic drive, or go for a seasonal picnic walk — offer guests a hearty Maine welcome.
What better way to get the couple’s loved ones to love each other than to actually get them in one place?
Although bridal showers have historically welcomed women into traditional wifely roles, now they can be adapted to suit any social mix. Some co-ed friendly shower ideas: a pig roast, a beer tasting, a he-said/she-said game show, or a contra dance.
Grab an Instructor
Are the bride and groom shameless foodies? Arrange a cooking class! Maine is packed to the gills with talented artists and tradesmen just waiting to share their brilliance. How about a blacksmithing course, a scrapbook binding lesson, a mushrooming walk, or a local artist talk?
As every bride will tell you, the engagement goes… by… so… fast. The bridal shower is the perfect event to gather family and friends from both sides and all locations for revelry and friend-making. Instead of fretting over the complexities of today’s world, leverage them! And when in doubt, take your cue from the wedding.
About The Author
Megan Lord is the owner of the local wedding design and planning company, Pencil Events. In her spare time, she studies for her doctorate in clinical psychology and snuggles her husband, Adam and Schnauzer, Olive.