Bridal shower, that is!
If I wasn’t so intent on using one-word titles for my posts (perhaps you’ve noticed, you observant reader, you), I would title this post, “How To Host a Successful Wedding Shower”.  As you may recall, I got my first taste of hosting a wedding shower when I hosted one for my friend Pam earlier this year.  Prior to, I was shower-hosting virgin.  But luckily, many of her friends from “back home” were experts and knew just what to do.  I paid attention and marveled in awe at their ability to transform your average small town lodge into “Paris”, complete with Eiffel Towers, a mimosa bar, macaroons, and a moose (oh, wait, that was part of the lodge).
So when it came time to host my second shower of the summer for my dear friend Laura Nash this past weekend, I was slightly more prepared.  Again, I had three lovely bridesmaids on my team, and the four of us channeled our best Martha Stewart to pull off what I believe was a pretty darn nice shower!  So how’d we do it?  Read on!

1.  Choose the Right Venue
First things first – where to have the shower?  If someone is willing to host at their home, great.  But what if no one is, or it’s just not feasible given the location or size of the guest list?  That’s what happened here.  At first, we thought we’d host a shower for all of Nash’s friends AND her Mom’s friends AND their family.  But we quickly realized that number would be over 50!  So we split the group into two:  a friend’s shower hosted by her bridesmaids on Saturday, and a family shower hosted by her Mom and sister on Sunday.  Even with just the friends, we were looking at 20+ girls – Nash is popular!  Fortunately, Christen lives in a small, quaint condo complex that has a clubhouse (and a pool!), and for a mere $25 fee she reserved it for the afternoon.
The clubhouse ended up being the perfect space for our group.  It was light and bright, intimate without being too small, and comfortable.  And the best part – no one had a messy house to deal with when all the fun was over!

2.  Pick a Theme
OK, so technically, this step is optional.  I’ve been to many a nice bridal shower (like the one hosted by Nash’s older sister Libby and their Mom the following day) that did not have a theme.  Other than love, that is!  But as an amateur, I find it helps to have a theme to center all of the decisions around – food, decor, invitations, etc.  So the bridesmaids started brainstorming and came up with something a bit unexpected – a Southern theme!  Although Nash and her fiance are Ohio born and bred, they recently moved to Greenville, SC.  And what says bridal shower more than pulled pork and cornbread, y’all?!  We also gave a nod to Nash’s “shabby chic” wedding style by featuring lots of mason jars, burlap, and simple flowers.


3.  Serve Chocolate & Booze

A few days before the shower, Nash asked me a question: “will there be alcohol?”.  One word:  DUH!  I’m not saying that every bridal shower needs to have booze, but if you’re throwing a shower mainly for the bride’s “young” friends, a little mimosa bar can’t hurt.  The guests enjoy it, and the hostesses enjoy it even more!  Julie had already purchased this double drink dispenser from Nash’s registry as a shower gift, so we put the gift to use! (don’t worry, we washed and re-packed it afterwards).  Unfortunately, it had a bit of a leaking problem…return?
And what’s a shower without chocolate?!  OK, maybe that’s just me.  But if not chocolate, at least something sweet and decadent is a must.  Lucky for this chocoholic, Nash likes chocolate as much 50% as much as I do, specifically chocolate & peanut butter!  So we went all out with this custom chocolate PB cake from a local bakery.  And let me tell you – it was RICH, even for me!  Served with a variety of cupcakes: wedding cake, strawberry cheesecake, and you guessed it – more chocolate.  Yum.

4.  Play One Game (Two at Very Most)
Ah, the games.  Who doesn’t have a love/hate relationship with bridal shower games?  On one hand, they bring the guests together, provide some structure, and make people laugh.  On the other, they can be cheesy, long, and generally cringe-worthy.  But if you do your research, you can manage to honor this bridal shower tradition without making people want to hide in the bathroom.
049(we failed to take this photo until some of the girls had already left – sorry ladies!)

Fortunately, there are plenty of ideas on for bridal shower games.  Spend some time reading them and choosing a game (two at most) to play with your group.  It’s important to keep your guests in mind.  A group of the bride’s mother’s friends might enjoy more classic shower games (we played a cute, “guess what spice this is” game at Libby’s shower the next day).  Since our shower was a friend’s shower, we played “how well do you know the couple?”  About a week before the shower, I spoke with Kyle on the phone and asked him a series of questions about him, Nash, and their relationship.  For example: “how old was Laura for her first kiss?”  Answer: 15.  Kyle’s answer: “I dunno, 17?”.  Then, at the shower, I passed out questionnaires and had each of the girls guess the answers.  I then asked Nash the same questions one by one, in front of the group, and read her Kyle’s responses, too.  Just steer clear of any sensitive topics!  It’s a fun way of giving your guests some deeper insight into the couple and their lives together, and makes everyone laugh!

5.  Keep an Eye on the Clock
If you only remember one tip, remember this one!  Everyone has been to one of “those” showers – the kind that go on, and on, and on…all of a sudden 11 AM has turned into 4 PM and poof!  there goes your afternoon.  We really didn’t want Nash’s shower to be one of those showers.  The shower started at noon, and our goal was to be done by 2 PM.  But let me tell you – that doesn’t happen without some serious time management!  Lucky for the guests, I’m not shy.  The party started at noon, and by 12:20 all of the guests had arrived and were chatting away.  So I got things going by having everyone introduce themselves and how they knew Laura, and then kept things moving with lunch, followed by the game, followed by dessert, followed by present opening.  Gotta keep the party moving!

Of course, all of the above is easier if you have a great team of girls helping!  Big thanks to Pratt, Julie, and Christen for helping put together a pretty fabulous shower, if we do say so ourselves!

And last but definitely not least – big thanks to the bride-to-be for being so awesome.  One thing is for sure about my dear dear friend Laura Nash:  she is easy-going and carefree (Kyle’s favorite trait of Nash’s, and mine, too), which made hosting her shower a pleasure.  I’m so honored to be her maid-of-honor, and I’m truly looking forward to all the fun the next few months will bring!  Next up: Nash Bash (or perhaps I should call it Nash BACH) in Nashville!

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