Category Archives: Bridal Showers

Love Is Sweet at A California Bridal Shower

When my sister-in-law got engaged, I knew right away that I’d want to host a bridal shower for her. A few months went by and then I knew I had to start the planning process. But as the Jewish weddings geek who runs The Wedding Yentas, can you imagine the kind of anxiety I suddenly felt about planning a perfect shower? I mean, I sit on the Internet all day and squeal over all kinds of wedding-related eye candy — I know, poor me — and suddenly, it was my turn to create some, myself.

Planning an event — whether it’s a wedding or a shower or a bachelorette party — requires a theme. But it doesn’t have to be so blatant or even necessarily thematic. The event just needs a thread that ties in all the various elements. Since I planned the shower at a restaurant, I was at the mercy of the space, so I knew a specific design style like Parisian vintage or shabby chic or even modern chevron stripes would be out. Instead, I chose a concept that could be implemented in elements like food, favors, and decor. The “theme?” Love Is Sweet.

It helps of course that my sister-in-law is a sweet girl herself! And she also has a special place in her heart for delicious sweets. So it was easy for me to go from there: cutesy cupcakes and other yumminess would be included in the special day.

I knew I wanted to do a little DIY. I tend to be crafty, but I also lack a lot of patience. And work space for said crafts. But after scouring the web, I realized I could totally handle making a banner, so I searched for papers and ended up with purple, red, and pink as the main colors for the shower based on the paper availability for the banner. With a solid Love Is Sweet theme and a color scheme in action, from there, the rest of the shower was born.

The flowers! Oh, the flowers. I will say, if I’d had the budget, I would have hired a florist. Don’t get me wrong: florists should absolutely be hired for your wedding day because a person who throws flowers together in a vase is not a florist. And no, I am not a florist! I wasn’t going for perfection either, so I knew I could handle making a handful and a half of “arrangements.”

I spray painted mason jars, tied ribbons in the colors of the shower around the rim, and divied out blooms I ordered from Trader Joe’s. Los Angeles has a wonderful flower mart downtown, but I don’t live nearby, and I felt too overwhelmed to pick out stems there. Trader Joe’s allows customers to special order flowers, and I picked up the varieties in the colors I needed the afternoon before the shower. I played around with heights and the shapes of the bunches, but I don’t claim to be a professional. They were imperfect and looked farmhouse-glam thanks to the mason jars, which is what I was going for, but let me stress again the importance of a professional florist for bigger and more important events like weddings.

When it came to games, I knew I didn’t want to have too many. There are two types of shower guests: Those who like games. And those who don’t. As a pleaser, I wanted to cater to both types, so I included three “events,” if you will: one game, and two group activities. The game was a “He Said She Said” game with quotes from the bride and groom and the shower guests had to select who said which quote.

I also facilitated a Mad Lib with the group that was a fun ice breaker as everyone shouted out words to create the bride’s wedding vow. Thanks to a random contribution of adjectives, nouns, and verbs from the group, apparently the bride will “vow to jump Michael constantly.” (Hey, the group gave “jump” as a verb! Guess she’s committed to doing so now!).

The other activity was a letter writing session to the couple on their anniversary. The catch? Each guest chose a random envelope from the stack. The number on the envelope indicated the anniversary year for which the letter should be written. So if someone picked #1, the letter will be read next year. And if someone picked #50, the letter will be read in the year 2062. This was a fun and introspective activity for everyone and there were even a few criers who were touched over the sentiment of writing a letter to the couple to be read decades from now.

The Mad Lib and the He Said She Said game had foundations on the Internet and I modified the templates to suit my vision of the party. To tie in the color scheme, I used purple, red, and pink in the paper selections.

Every game needs as winner and every winner needs a prize. For the He Said She Said game, I wanted to keep prizes at a reasonable price, but still provide more than just a tchotchke. Also, in a perfect world, the prize would tie in with the Love Is Sweet theme. The dollar aisle at Michael’s craft store featured really cute and colorful baking whisks! And then, I happened upon yummy dessert themed candles at Bath & Body Works. So, the winners walked away with a whisk and a vanilla frosted cupcake candle to take the sweetness of the day home with them. Hey, no calories in a candle!

What’s a Love Is Sweet theme without actual sweets? I created a sweets table with the help of the sweetest bake shop in town — Sweet E’s Bakeshop in Los Angeles. This oh-so Hollywood bakeshop has outfitted the Academy Awards and other big celebrity events with their delicious delicacies. And Sweet E’s was also showcased on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. With a spread of mini cupcakes, cake pops, home made cookies, and chocolate covered pretezels, the sweets table was a hit! I made my own little ID cards for each treat. The paper and cupcake sticker I used for the labels were consistent with the place cards I made for each guest’s place setting. This goes back to my philosophy of finding a common thread and tying it through the event.

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Because it was a special day and each guest was special to the bride, it was imperative I sent everyone home with a special treat. Enter: the iced cookie! To me, the ultimate symbol of a bridal shower is an engagement ring and ladies at a ladies’ event love the bling! Since I couldn’t furnish each guest with their own Tiffany-set diamond (I’m not that nice of a sister-in-law!), I knew a cookie would be the perfect take away as a “thank you” for attending. My friend and fellow wedding-lover decorates delicious sugar cookies and is a brilliant icer! She creates her own icing and blends colors into perfection. The cookies look and taste great. The best part? She is currently decorating cookies for charity, as proceeds go to the Avon 2-day breast cancer walk. I totally love cookies and pretty much hate cancer, so, ya know, win-win!

I really enjoyed hosting this shower and it was a true honor to give my sister-in-law this gift and special memory. But don’t worry — I’m not about to quit my day job as writer and general wedding gusher of The Wedding Yentas to become a professional wedding shower planner. I slept for days after the event, and I think I’ll really enjoy and appreciate the next bridal shower I attend as a guest!

Venue: Zin Bistro Americana
Flowers: Trader Joe’s
Engagement Ring Cookie Favors: Wan Life To Live
Sweets Table: Sweet E’s Bakeshop
Paper Items: Michael’s

  • Desiree @ Bundts of Steel says:

    The shower looks fabulous! You did such a wonderful job and it looks like the perfect day. Now I’m in the mood for some cake balls!

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From The Expert: The Celebrationista Guides The Bride on Wedding Shower Etiquette and Questions

********** GIVEAWAY GOING ON NOW THROUGH JULY 2nd!!! ***********

Don’t forget your chance to enter to win! Clay Bouquet is giving away a $25 gift certificate to her store! Just check out Clay Bouquet‘s shop and report back by leaving a comment here and sharing what you would choose if you won the prize!

Entries will be accepted through Monday, July 2nd at 11:59 p.m. PST. Winner is selected at random and announced on Facebook on July 3rd. Good luck!

******************************************

Roni Borenstein of Celebrationista Events is a professional bridal shower and bachelorette party coordinator and your expert source for all pre-wedding planning! Roni is originally from Long Island, NY and now lives in Manhattan. While earning her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University, she began planning bridal showers and bachelorette parties for close friends who were getting married. After realizing her passion for event planning and a knack for putting together flawless celebrations, she began to transition from the field of social work into party planning. Her extensive experience includes planning bachelorette parties all over the country, birthday soirees for clients of every age from 25 to 90, baby showers, and bridal showers. She is a pre-wedding party guru whose creativity and skills ensure that each affair reflects the bride being honored. Combining budget-friendly event design with DIY extras, she can create a memorable shindig from start to finish. Roni prides herself in great attention to detail and up-to-date industry expertise. For more tips, photos, inspiration, and planning updates follow/contact her on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and her blog!

Today, I’m here to help the bride who may have some bridal shower anxiety. Some brides feel super comfortable in the spotlight or don’t even think twice about the plans surrounding their other big day (the BIG big day is, of course, the wedding day). But when it comes to etiquette questions or causes for concern, hopefully this little guide helps you feel more at ease as you are showered with love!

Q: Should I put my registry information on the invitations?
A: Some brides do and some don’t. If there are a bunch of items still left on your registry that you want, then it’s the perfect opportunity. On the other hand many brides prefer to receive items like lingerie, jewelry, and other keepsakes that wouldn’t be on the wedding registry. Some guests usually like to get something that will surprise the bride rather than a kitchen item off the registry. Others like to know that they are satisfying the dream list that the couple has put together. If people want to order off the registry and they lose the invitation, they should easily be able to find your registry online. On weddingchannel.com you can merge all your registries and make them searchable so guests can access everything you register for. Since registry information should never be on the actual formal wedding invitation, the shower invitation or the wedding web site are two places that guests can learn about your selected stores.

Q: Is it okay to have two showers?
A: Many people do. If you have a lot of guests in NYC but you’re from Chicago, you may choose to do one in each city so all your close friends and family can come without having to travel twice (for the shower and the wedding). It’s not unheard of for coworkers to throw a separate office shower for the bride, but keep in mind that everyone in your office probably won’t be getting an invite to the wedding. If they still insist on throwing you one, just be clear that there are no expectations for the nuptials. Other factors like having divorced parents might force you to have two showers in order to satisfy two separate families. Really, there’s no rule against having more than one shower. If your bridesmaids are involved with more than one shower, just keep in mind how much you’re asking your bridesmaids to spend and do. Make one event more of a casual get-together or Jack and Jill shower. If you’re at the other extreme and really hate the limelight you may want to combine the shower and bachelorette party. Only if you’re positive you won’t regret skipping the traditional shower, combining the two is a great alternative. Spend the day with just close friends or bridesmaids by going to a spa or taking a cooking class after a small brunch or before dinner. You can still incorporate favors and mementos for whoever comes, and receive thoughtful gifts from the girls without everyone watching!

Q: Do I have to have assigned seating?
A: Yes. Think about it: your guest list includes relatives from both sides, college friends, coworkers, family friends and your oldest pals. Without a seating plan, you risk having your sorority sisters and the groom’s great-aunt Ruth sitting next to each other. No matter how small or casual your shower is, it’s still necessary to ensure your guests aren’t uncomfortable. Luckily there are so many options and whether you use escort cards or place cards, they can double up as favors.

Q: Do I have to open my gifts at the shower?
A: To open or not to open? That is the question. Many brides don’t feel comfortable being in the spotlight. While some guests look forward to seeing the bride’s face when she opens their present, a disorganized gift opening can be long, boring, and dreadful. The bridesmaids are crucial here. If you are shy and can’t stand the idea of so much pressure, have the guests keep busy by intertwining an activity during this time. You can even request that guests wrap gifts in clear cellophane so all you have to do is acknowledge each one with a big smile. Of course, some brides decide to skip the gift opening all together and show their appreciation with a personal thank you card to everyone (which you will do either way). It depends on your personal preference and no rule is set in stone.

Q: How involved should I be in planning the shower?
A: Take it easy. You will want to make the guest list and ensure no one is left out, but other than that you’re off the hook for this one. If you believe your bridesmaids or family members are not up for the task of planning your dream shower, you can get involved in some of the details. It’s different for every situation, but always make sure to thank your mom (or other hostesses) and bridesmaids at the shower. Stand up and make a toast thanking everyone for coming and let them know you appreciate their hard work.

Q: How do I deal with my fiancé’s mom who wants to invite all of her friends but isn’t chipping in?
A: This is a tough one, especially because it’s a shame for the families to have bad blood over the shower right before the big day approaches. The answer depends on how big your shower is and how many people the venue can fit. If your mom isn’t inviting many of her friends, simply say that the shower is just for family and your friends. You should always invite the groom’s family even if you’ve never met them. You don’t want to be outnumbered by women you don’t even know, but it could be good practice for your wedding day. On the other hand, if it’s a big party and she wants her closest friends there, try to have the mothers come to a compromise. If you are having a rehearsal dinner hosted by his side, are you allowed to invite all your guests? Is it possible to have a separate shower for only his side thrown by his side? These are some individual considerations you must make depending on your situation. These kinds of politics can be tricky, but honest and clear conversations can help define who should be invited to these important events like showers.

Bottom Line: Bridal shower “rules” and expectations are out there for brides to use as guidelines for planning but needn’t be followed strictly. The whole point is to shower you with love, good wishes, gifts, and advice, not to make you uncomfortable. It’s truly all about you! If you find yourself in a dilemma there are always alternatives to tweak your shower to fit your life and personality.

Real Bridal Shower | Las Vegas, NV

********** GIVEAWAY GOING ON NOW THROUGH JULY 2nd!!! ***********

Don’t forget your chance to enter to win! Clay Bouquet is giving away a $25 gift certificate to her store! Just check out Clay Bouquet‘s shop and report back by leaving a comment here and sharing what you would choose if you won the prize!

Entries will be accepted through Monday, July 2nd at 11:59 p.m. PST. Winner is selected at random and announced on Facebook on July 3rd. Good luck!

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Because it’s Bridal Shower Week here at The Wedding Yentas, today’s real event is a real bridal shower that was so special and sweet. The beautiful bride and guest of honor happens to be one of my best friends and college sorority sister. Harmony is set to marry her law school sweetheart, Conor, on October 6 in her hometown of Las Vegas. When I received the invitation in the mail, I knew that this shower would be detailed and oh-so Harmony: stylish, chic, sophisticated, and classy. The “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”-themed soiree was hosted by her childhood best friend, Lauren, and the mother-of-the bride’s childhood best friend, Lisa, and the bridal shower they created showed just how well they know Harmony.

The pair did a wonderful job tying in the theme with Tiffany-blue ribbons on glass vases of white flower centerpieces, beads and costume diamonds strewn across the ables, and black Audrey Hepburn sunglasses perfectly placed at the sides of the centerpieces. Guests sipped perfect flutes of bubbly rose Champagne and favors for all the women were a trio of delicious and exquisitely decorated Tifffany box cookies by New York sweet shop, Eleni’s. The shower looked exceptionally picture-perfect, and the hostesses recited sweet words to a gracious bride who gave heartfelt thanks to Lauren and Lisa and all of her guests. Harmony is a very special friend and fellow Yenta and her shower was one that any bride would dream of.

Mazel tov, Harmony!

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Venue: Vintner Grill
Photographer: Daphne Scott, friend of the bride
Party Favors: Eleni’s New York

  • sharon says:

    what a great bridal shower theme! I love the table decorations.

From The Expert: The Celebrationista Pitches Ideas for Planning a Bridal Shower

********** GIVEAWAY GOING ON NOW THROUGH JULY 2nd!!! ***********

Don’t forget your chance to enter to win! Clay Bouquet is giving away a $25 gift certificate to her store! Just check out Clay Bouquet‘s shop and report back by leaving a comment here and sharing what you would choose if you won the prize!

Entries will be accepted through Monday, July 2nd at 11:59 p.m. PST. Winner is selected at random and announced on Facebook on July 3rd. Good luck!

******************************************

Roni Borenstein of Celebrationista Events is a professional bridal shower and bachelorette party coordinator and your expert source for all pre-wedding planning! Roni is originally from Long Island, NY and now lives in Manhattan. While earning her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University, she began planning bridal showers and bachelorette parties for close friends who were getting married. After realizing her passion for event planning and a knack for putting together flawless celebrations, she began to transition from the field of social work into party planning. Her extensive experience includes planning bachelorette parties all over the country, birthday soirees for clients of every age from 25 to 90, baby showers, and bridal showers. She is a pre-wedding party guru whose creativity and skills ensure that each affair reflects the bride being honored. Combining budget-friendly event design with DIY extras, she can create a memorable shindig from start to finish. Roni prides herself in great attention to detail and up-to-date industry expertise. For more tips, photos, inspiration, and planning updates follow/contact her on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and her blog!

Bridal Shower Planning
With all the stresses of planning a wedding, bridal showers are often put on the back burner. The shower is one pre-wedding soiree that the bride should have little to do with in terms of preparation. The last thing she needs as the big day gets closer is another bullet point to add to her to-do list. We’ve all sat through those disorganized showers that seem to go on for five hours and it’s not easy for the generous guests. Thoughtful planning, time management, and delegation are all required to create a memorable shower that keeps guests engaged. Every shower should be personal and reflect the unique personality of the bride. It may seem like a lot of work, but don’t fret. In the next few days, I’ll give you the basics of shower planning, ideas for every budget, suggestions, inspirations, and etiquette tips so you will feel as confident as a professional event planner when it’s over. I have included photos galore and some common answers to dilemmas that brides, bridesmaids, and hosts often face. Hostesses, just remember to plan ahead, make it personal, and follow my tips and you’ll throw a shower guests will never forget!

The Basics
Historically, it was in poor taste for a relative of the bride, especially her mother, to host the shower. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for the mom, sister, aunt, future mother-in-law, or other relative to foot the bill for the shower and be listed on the invitation as host. Especially if the shower is being held at a restaurant, country club, or other venue with a sizeable guest list, the age-old rule can be overlooked. The bridesmaids are still responsible for planning much of the shindig, but if mom is handling the logistics, the bridal shower can usually have a larger budget and guest list. If your best friend’s wedding is in a few months, start thinking about what she would plan for her own shower, and offer to help mom with the essentials anyway; your suggestions will be appreciated and there’s nothing wrong with a joint effort between the mom and the maids. With a few extra details you can turn a generic shower into one any bride will be amazed by.

It’s All In The Details
Start by brainstorming and pick a theme- does she have a favorite color or season? Does the couple have specific hobbies or shared interests? What is her style and what are her obsessions? Once you have this to work from, coordinating the details will be much simpler. When planning any event, I always start by piecing together any cute ideas and products I find from the Internet, past showers, pictures, or shopping trips related to the theme. I come back to that real-life “pinboard” over and over until each element has been chosen and I know I didn’t leave anything out. But with all the great ideas out there on websites like Pinterest, it will be key to stay organized and avoid getting overwhelmed. Make decisions based on your theme and budget.

Let’s get inspired with some pics from my favorite showers that I either planned or attended as a guest. (Later on you’ll see photos from the same showers when we talk about gift and bridesmaid ideas.)

For Rebecca’s autumn shower, plush cranberry tablecloths and twig-and-berry napkin rings adorned each table. Pine cones, branches and berries were mixed in for table decor. Soup was served in butternut squash bowls. The favor bags, table numbers, and escort cards were ordered from beau-coup.com to match our “Falling in Love” theme at a reasonable price. This shower was so fun to plan because there was an added bonus: a fall-themed candy bar for a candy-obsessed bride. Everything from sour peaches and caramel apple candies, personalized M&Ms, candy corn, and custom initial lollies were included. The set-up was gorgeous and guests took home their treats in fall-colored custom candy bags with mix and match bows.

At Meredith’s bridal shower menus were printed on placemat-sized versions of her invitation. Turquoise was the focus of the day and showed up everywhere, from the bathroom tissue to picture frames at the bar. Each girl took home a personalized leather photo holder that doubled up as place settings and Vera Bradley mint tins.

The Wedding Company in Manhasset, NY helped design the details for Mallorie’s pink shower: pink menus, napkins, personalized advice cards, a framed seating list, table number signs with directions for an activity on the back, rose Champagne favors, and custom mint tins. Pink peonies and a miniature bride decorated each table. Pink parasol cake pops and pink Baked by Melissa cupcakes at the dessert table made for delicious treats both during the shower and after. *Budgeting Tip: You can often rent props like a parasol or bride bodice to place at the gift table or use as centerpieces from a professional event company.