Bridal shower – accomplished! Even though my wedding is more than three months away, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get down to San Diego until just before the big day. So, my mom and one of her closest friends planned a beautiful shower in my honor.
1. Don’t feel like you have to look a certain way.
The only work I had to do was finding the perfect outfit. I wanted to look a bit traditional by wearing white, but I also wanted to mix it up and keep it fun. My dress came with black ribbon straps and an exposed back zipper, so I added a black velvet belt with an edgy rhinestone applique to make an even bigger contrast against the white lace. The goal was sassy, and I’m pretty sure I achieved it. If white isn’t your thing, wear what is. You don’t want to spend the event fussing with straps or feeling self-conscious, so forget any “rules” and wear what makes you feel good.
2. Keep the food casual.
My mom served enough tea sandwiches to feed everyone five times over, while Jennifer, the other hostess, whipped up her famous berry salad. Even though the meal was simple, everything was incredibly delicious. By relying on the basics that everyone appreciates and not concocting some lavish meal, it was ultra-relaxed and a big hit.
3. Guests can take part in the fun without having to play games.
There was one thing that I asked my mom to leave out of the celebration: games. No offense to game-lovers, but they feel pretty contrived to me. So, she set up a recipe box for me to have as a keepsake so that every guest could make a lasting contribution to the wedding.
Along with the invitation, each guest received a card and instructions to write down her favorite recipe and include a tool that’s necessary to make it. The results were unbelievable! There were recipes for artichoke chicken, healthy turkey chili and a ton of cookies. I loved them because so often we get stuck in a cooking rut and fall back on old recipes, and now I’ve got a ton of concoctions on hand for any occasion. And, my mother-in-law included some of Michael’s favorite recipes so he doesn’t have to live without her famous pasta salad or desserts!
Not a big cook? Ask your guests to bring their favorite book and write a personal message on the inside cover. Or, when it’s time to open gifts, have each guest prepare a special memory that she can share while the bride opens her gift.
4. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
Let’s face it: a little champagne can take the awkwardness out of any situation. We decided to start the toasts early and let it flow until the end of the party. Unfortunately, we let the party get a little too crazy later on in the night when I ended up spraining my foot on the dance floor, but it was still worth it. It was a perfect day!
Even traditional events can be fun and laid-back. Although I was nervous about being in the spotlight, I ended up feeling really special. For any bride that’s worried about making sure the shower goes off without a hitch, remember that as long as you’re surrounded by your favorite people and delicious food, nothing can go wrong.
— Lisa Turner
Lisa Turner is a real bride who is navigating the planning process with her friends and family while her groom, Michael Turner, is serving in Afghanistan. Already married last year, the high school sweethearts will have an official reception in January of 2013 in San Diego when he returns to the U.S. The party will take place in a clubhouse near the beach, complete with Mexican and vintage-inspired touches to celebrate their marriage in a fun and very California way.