When your best friend gets married and she asks you to be the maid or matron of honor, you should go all out for her special day. Your most demanding job will probably be throwing your bride to be a bridal shower. This celebration is all about her. It’s a time to gather all her female friends and family and celebrate the woman she is and the woman she’ll be as a wife. The months leading up to a wedding are an emotional roller coaster. Brides experience happiness, excitement, frustration, sadness, worry and anxiety. The bridal shower is a unique event. It’s doesn’t compare to the grandness of the actual wedding and it’s on a different level than the girl party of a bachelorette. The bridal shower is your chance to show her how much she means to you and all those that know her.
When planning my best friend’s bridal shower I had amazing help from her mom and sister who was the other maid of honor. It was such a great bonding experience for us and I grew even closer to the most important women in her life. We came together with loving intention and the upmost attention to detail. Here are a few of my tips for throwing a FABULOUS backyard bridal shower. It was not cheap but it was worth it for one of our favorite girls.
1. Figure out who’s house you can use for the shower and make sure the backyard can fit your vision. It’s best to use yours, the mother of the bride or a close family member. That way you can come and go as you please. You can make all the decisions without worrying about the home owner disapproving of what you want. You can guarantee the venue will be just the way you intend it to be. And it will be free! But keep in mind that you want your guests to be comfortable. A tent is a great idea as it protects from the elements because you can only guess what the weather will be like. You don’t want to get stuck in a bad situation if it rains or the temperature is too hot.
2. Don’t tell her much about it. Let it be a surprise. Tell her what color to wear, what time to be there and ask her for the guest list. Other than that listen to her likes and dreams for her wedding and re create a spin off that is just as beautiful but slightly different.Let her relax and not worry about this specific part of the wedding process. Is she a modern or classic bride? What’s her favorite flower? What do you want her to see when she walks through the doors and lays eyes on all the work you have done to make sure she is in awe? Think about who she is to you and find the inspiration to create something perfect. (My bride talked about a coffee bar she saw somewhere so I added that to her shower. I also wanted to give her something to keep with a little message from her guests so I had people write a memory or something they liked about the bride and pin in to a cute cork board)
3. Write down your vision and execute it one item at a time. Need inspiration? Use pinterest. There are so many beautiful things that can inspire you there. From food to decor to meaning full words. You can find great ideas and so much can be ordered from Etsy.
4. Start buying things a little at a time leading up to the day. My BFM (best friend’s mom) did this and I think she was right on. She started stocking wine and paper wear, buying utensils and ordering food. That left the week before for the last minute things we forgot and the food purchase and pickup. It wasn’t overwhelming and we felt prepared leading up to the event.
5. FOOD! What’s a party without great food? Choose something you know you can accomplish both physically and financially. Food is expensive and you should figure out your budget early on so you avoid surprises and last minute splurges that you regret later. It also can be overwhelming to prepare. We asked a few of our closest girls to bring a dish we designated to them. We also ordered a few signature items from a local caterer. And a couple talented friends/family made some beautiful cupcakes, heart shaped rice krispies and little parfaits. We decided that dainty finger foods and pretty salads were easy and they fit in with the look we were going for. We did mac and cheese cups, caprese kabobs, fruit, heart shaped cheese, tea sandwiches and salads. For drinks we served only white wine, lemonade and infused water.
6. Wake up extra early the day of. Don’t assume that a few hours is enough time. If you are someone similar to me, you really need things to be perfect for the people you love. You’ll think a couple hours is enough to set up but what if it’s not? What if a few things go wrong? Give yourself at least 6 hours pre start time to get everything set up. If you’re done early you’ll have more time to get ready, relax and/or enjoy a few laughs with the rest of your bridal shower team. Having too much time is absolutely better than running out of time. (We started 8 hours before the start of the event and I still ran 15 minutes late.)
7. Make sure the little touches are focused on. The perfect flower arrangement and a few pieces that tie into the theme, as well as a memory for the bride, can really be the difference between a fabulous meaningful shower rather than a cookie cutter shower. Don’t just add pieces to add pieces. Get creative. Make sure that they compliment the overall look. I found so many pieces in my house that went with our theme. Candles, vases and picture frames were among them. That’s a great way to save a few bucks. But in my personal opinion the most important decor is the flowers. They are beautiful and they represent new and fresh beauty. They are classic yet can be arranged in a trendy way if needed. Shop whole flower markets. Google and yelp to find the closest one to you. Pick them up the morning of the shower and give your self time to arrange them. don’t underestimate the time if takes. The pop of color or the drama of all white will add so much to the perfect bridal shower.
8. Take plenty of pictures before the bride arrives. Make sure you get enough because she probably wont remember to capture all the details and she’ll want to look back and remember. Trust me. She’ll take pictures with the people there, but you should take pictures of everything that makes up this beautiful day. Get up close and use your amateur photog skills to get some cool shots focusing on the details.
9. Toast the bride. Tell everyone what she means to you. Let her know how important she is to your life. Speak from the heart, tell a funny short story and explain what this moment and her soon to be marriage means to you. Your words will stick with her and the look on her face when everyone raises their glasses to honor her will stick with you.
10. And last but not least, make sure you have a few trusted people to help you clean up. A group of 5 can tackle the aftermath so much quicker than you can by yourself. You will be so happy you have others to share the last bit of responsibility with. 2 is better 1 and 10 is so much better than 2. Keep that in mind. (We had so many flowers and with a few special women helping us out we got everything taken down and the flowers distributed amongst us all in less than an hour.)
I hope you can find everything you need to make your special girl’s bridal shower everything you think she deserves. I hope she walks through the doors and smiles and cries because she loves it so much. Make her feel like the luckiest girl in the world. That’s your job as her maid of honor and the host of her bridal shower.
I hope you’ll PIN from this post to share a little advice on how to throw a Fabulous BackYard Bridal Shower!
…And to my best friend’s mom and her little sister/maid of honor, thank you for allowing me to be such a big part of this day and for wanting it to be just as perfect as I did. And thank you for not getting mad at me for being an obsessive perfectionist who needed every little thing to be just right. I love you and I feel like I got closer to you both with all the time we spent together. I’m grateful for those moments.