8 Bridal Shower Ideas

Want to throw a memorable party for the bride? Get inspired by these traditional and not-so-traditional options.

Flower Shower

Description: Plan the shower entirely around the bride’s favorite flower, such as a calla lily, bright pink Gerber daisy, gardenia, rose or other pretty bloom for a theme that’s ultra easy to incorporate into your party plans.

Decor: Set your tables with pastel pink-colored tablecloths and center each with a gorgeous array of flowers, such as bunches of those bright pink Gerber daisies. The big bunch should be six to eight pre-bunched mini bouquets for each guest to pluck out and take home! Set out floral-printed dishes, glasses and napkins that you’ve found on the cheap at the party supply store. A votive candle (white or color coordinated) in front of each place setting completes the look, and larger potted trees and flowering bushes can be set in the corners of the room, on window ledges, mantels or even along the windowsills. Bring an outdoor garden bench or outdoor swing inside, along with a gardener’s wheelbarrow filled with potted flowers. If the party takes place outside on a friend’s terrace before a pretty, bloomed garden, your decor tasks just got a whole lot easier since Mother Nature picked up the tab.

Menu: Standard party menu fare, with thoughtful floral presentations like edible flower petals sprinkled over an entree or dessert, full-stemmed roses lined along the buffet table, daisy designs piped onto the cake, cupcakes or petit fours with flower-shaped, brightly-frosted sugar cookies. Since flowers are fresh and natural, carry that theme into your gourmet—an organic party menu with lush salads and fresh fruits and seafood bites rather than greasy fried dishes and appetizers. The fresher and healthier your menu (especially with creative presentations of standard party fare like chicken skewers and shrimp cocktail), the happier your guests will be! And if you decorate the cake with fresh flowers, be sure to use only safe flowers as recommended by a florist or on a gourmet food web site (roses are fine, as are impatiens).

Drinks: Colorful flower-hued mixed drinks or punches sprinkled with edible flower petals, along with wines and champagnes. Give each drink a "flower power" name, such as "Daffodil Daiquiri" or "Peony Punch." And for an extra kick, freeze mini blooms of edible flowers into ice cubes or buy flower-shaped plastic ice cubes to freeze and reuse.

Games: Set out pictures of exotic flowers and have guests fill out game cards to name each bloom. The easy ones are obvious—tulip, rose or bird of paradise. But when you get to peonies vs. ranunculus, there’s bound to be a challenge. Or do a blindfolded scent test, where guests are asked to identify each flower by aroma. With daisies, have guests ask questions like, "Will we close on the house this month?" or "Is my blind date this weekend going to be a success?" and then pick off each petal in a he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not style to arrive at their answer.

Favors: Flower-printed gift items like candles and candleholders, notepads, magnets, coffee mugs, framed pictures, packs of postcards, calendars, keychains, floral scented perfumes (like Marc Jacobs' Daisy) or rose- or gardenia-scented hand lotions or room sprays. Also, hand out cutely designed gardening gloves and baskets of flower seeds and a mini trowel for the green thumbs on your guest list. Purchase pretty petal gift boxes for the perfect, easy wrapping for your gifts. (I recommend  BayleysBoxes.com for petal-shaped boxes.)

A Little Something Extra:  Talk to the bride’s mother, grandmother and soon-to-be mother-in-law for their favorite blooms to incorporate into the day. For example, you could make a special presentation about the bride’s departed grandmother’s love of gardenias or the mom’s prize-winning violets as a sentimental touch to the party. And here’s a grand gesture the bride will love: Talk to the groom about the flower-themed shower and he may have a bouquet of flowers delivered to her at the shower in front of all her friends and family!

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