Bridal showers - New ideas on an old tradition

Bridal showers - New ideas on an old tradition

It's not everyday that a girl gets married, so it's the job of her bridesmaids to ensure she is well and truly pampered throughout the process. After all she is planning the biggest event of her life, and even the most organized bride can feel more than little overwhelmed. Now for those of you who are confused by the difference between a bridal shower and a hen's party let me explain... a hen's party is a fun night out with your girlfriends (which may involve some male nudity) while a bridal shower is a get together for female friends and family members.

Many of today's brides are dropping the bridal shower as a boring tradition but there is a way to breathe new life into a once fuddy duddy affair. Gone are the days of dressing people up in toilet paper wedding dresses and embarrassing questionnaires relating to the brides personal life. Enter the new bridal shower of stylish luncheons and swanky cocktail parties. The following ideas, including invitations, menu and favors, are just a few suggestions for your next bridal shower:

Relaxation party: Organise for a consultant to come to your house to pamper your guests with facials, foot massages or manicures. Serve an assortment of luxurious finger foods such as ribbon sandwiches, canapés, smoked salmon, pate and petit fours. Remember to supply champagne to toast to the brides future happiness. Soft music and sweetly scented candles will relax everyone as they enter. Invitations should recommend comfy casual clothing and suggest gifts that might pamper your bride to be. This shower is best suited for a small number of guests. Many companies such as Nutrimetics or Avon can help you organize this type of get together.

Book Club: If your bride is an avid reader a great shower idea is to organize a book club. Invitations can be in the form of bookmarks or bookplates. Guests can give gift certificates to the brides' favourite bookstore. Serve crackers with tasty cheeses, crab cakes, rock melon wrapped in proscuitto and some fine wine. Supply blank cards for your guests to write down their wedding words of wisdom for the new couple. The creative bridesmaid can then collect the cards and organize a book to be printed with all of the bride's friends and family's helpful words of advice. Favours can include bookmarks with the couples names and wedding date or little bitty reading lamps available from your local bookstore.

Garden Party: Does your bride have a green thumb? An outdoor tea party could be the perfect idea. Invitations can be hand written on recycled paper with a suggestion of a gift voucher from your local Bunnings or nursery. Serve salads, pita triangles with humus, grilled vegetable foccacias and iced tea (both alcoholic and non!) Organise mixed herb bouquets with your guests' names attached as place cards. Seedlings or bulbs make great favours. Remember to pop your favourite Enya album into the CD player!

Wine Shower: Is your bride a wine connoisseur? This shower is best held at a winery, it's also a great way to build up the bride to be's wine cellar. Ask guests to buy a bottle of wine at the end of the tour as a gift for the couple. Many wineries have restraunts with a delicious selection of meals and wines to taste! Remember to book in advance, as this option is very popular! Call the winery to ask if they can do mini bottles of their most popular wine to give as a favour. If not give guests a pretty corkscrew as a gift.

Honeymoon Shower: Are the couple travel bugs or are they going on their first overseas trip for their honeymoon. Are they planning a trip to Hawaii? Serve a spit roast with punch and cocktails with umbrellas in them. Are they off to France? Try serving fancy French cheeses and champagne. Maybe they're traveling around Australia? Try making some gourmet meat pies! Invitation can be made to look like airlines tickets with the stub being the rsvp. Suggest gifts of film, cameras, travel luggage or guidebooks. Try to co-ordinate your favours with the country of choice, an Eiffel tower figurine, a hula girl or a koala clip on. Remember to wish everyone Bon Voyage as they leave!

When planning your next bridal shower remember to keep the brides interests in mind, a book club shower is no good if she only reads the latest Cosmo! Try to keep your guest lists small, 20 or under is a good number. Showers should be an intimate get together where the women can come together, gossip and discuss wedding plans. Most of all ensure that your bride to be has no planning to do. This should be her chance to relax.

Beth Hosking