The traditional bridal shower usually involves a lot of women gathering around the beloved bride and playing games, opening gifts and eating cake. For some brides, tradition is of greatest importance and that’s exactly the type of shower they want. Other brides, though, are up for something more unusual, and if you’re lucky enough to be throwing a shower for a bride like that, I’ve got some great ideas for fun activities that will make the shower memorable and unique.
- Scrapbooking – If your bride is into scrapbooks, have a shower where the main activity is for each guest to scrapbook a page for an album that will be compiled for the bride. If you have lots of pictures of the bride and groom during their courtship, gather them together and have the shower guests each use a few to make a layout. When compiled together, they will serve as a great memento for the bride. Or for a no-photo option, have the guests each create one or two blank layouts with wedding-themed papers. Compile these into a lovely album and the bride just has to put her own wedding pictures in after the big day. This is an especially nice idea for a bride who loves scrapbooks but who doesn’t have the skills or time to make one on her own. When hosting a party like this, be sure to provide lots of space for everyone to work (several card tables will be helpful) and lots of fun supplies and tools to work with. Many local scrapbook stores have dedicated workspace in the back of the store where scrapbookers can sit and work. These spaces are excellent for throwing showers.
- Scavenger Hunt – This is best played if you are hosting a shower in a neighborhood or at a location with several nearby stores. Divide the guests up into teams of 3 to 5 people. Hand each of them a list of items and give them a time limit (30 minutes if searching on foot, 1 hour if by car). Reward teams one point for each item they retrieve and deduct a half point for every minute they are late. The team with the most points wins a prize! While the teams are gone, the host can set up the party food or cake (or just take a moment to relax!). We’ve compiled a fun list of scavenger hunt items that are well-suited for a bridal shower.
- Paint-your-own-pottery – If your city has a paint-your-own-pottery store, they make great locations for showers. Everyone will have fun painting items during the shower, and they can either make items for themselves or for the bride as a gift. One great gift idea is to have each guest paint an identical dinner plate in any design she wishes, personalizing it as desired to reflect the guest’s relationship with the bride. Then give all of the plates to the bride as a gift, and she’ll have a wonderful set of everyday dishes that will be treasured for years. Jo actually threw my bridal shower at a pottery place and I used the opportunity to make a large platter for my wedding cake, which was a wonderful personal touch to the cake and is a valued memento.
- Picnic at the wedding/reception site – If the bride’s wedding and/or reception are to be held outdoors, plan a picnic shower to be held at the location. Spread out some blankets and pack a couple of picnic baskets for a lovely day in the sun. The food and decor can easily be adjusted to suit the wedding’s theme and colors. The bride will take great joy in telling the guests about all her plans and how the wedding or reception will proceed within the space. It’s also a great way to do last-minute brainstorming for ideas to make the big day even more special.
- Make-ahead food preparation – There are many make-ahead food preparation shops popping up around the country these days (look here for stores near you). These shops allow you to pick a few main courses and prepare them in advance, to be taken home to store in your freezer until you’re ready to cook them. The guests can each prepare one dish for the bride and have that be their gift. This is an especially useful idea for a busy working bride who is short on time or for a bride with an established home and doesn’t need the usual gifts of toasters and dishes. Having a few meals already prepared can be a very welcome gift to a busy bride as the big day approaches.
- Cooking class – If your bride loves to cook (even if she’s not very good at it), check with local fine dining restaurants, catering companies, and community colleges for one-night cooking classes. The subject of these classes can vary from basic cooking techniques to advanced preparations to a focus on one item like bread or pasta. These classes are usually very casual in atmosphere and can be a fun and relaxing way to spend time with the bride.
The key to any successful activity-based bridal shower is to focus on what the bride loves. Make a list of her interests and favorite things and see if any of them inspire a fun activity for the party. Your friend is unique, and her shower should be as well.