8 Bridal Shower Ideas

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

Pajama Party

Description: Get the girls together for a good old-fashioned slumber party! The ladies wear their comfiest pajamas, bring along a pillow, sleeping bag and maybe a teddy bear, and prepare to have their bras hidden in the freezer.

Decor: Decorate your (or another bridesmaid’s) bedroom with plenty of teen heartthrob posters, using today’s teen crushes or your generation's hotties. Or, if poster hanging isn’t going to happen, go girly with pink ruffles and pillows, and even a pink Princess Phone for prank phone calls to make the scene complete. Lay out those colorful sleeping bags (guests can borrow their kids’ or nieces’ slumber bags!) and the room is ready.

Menu: Pizza, chips, cookies and a lineup of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavors, with chocolate and raspberry sauces, sprinkles and whipped cream for a make-it-yourself sundae bar. Hit the party supply store to stock up on color-coordinated plates, ice cream and chip bowls, soda cups and themed straws for milkshakes, so that your snacks buffet impresses your guests just as much as your menu. A hot trend right now is to make the menu organic, with healthier pizza and snacks, organic sodas and fruit smoothies in place of high-calorie milkshakes. It’s kinda like cheating on your diet, only you’re not doing as much damage.

Drinks: Ice cream floats or soda (organic, if you wish). Serve wine or margaritas to your overnight bridal shower guests and the bride. At sunrise (if you haven’t gone to bed) or in the morning, serve mimosas and a tasty brunch of veggie quiche, waffles, fruit salad, muffins or bagels outside on the terrace in the cool morning air.

If you have a larger guest list, have only the bride’s friends as the sleepover guests, and invite the rest of the shower guests (the moms, aunts, grandmothers and others) to the morning-after breakfast. Just don’t be too hung over for that one! Make it for 11 a.m. or later—you'll get time to sleep in, set up, cook and prepare for party number two!

Games: Tell ghost stories, watch horror movies or gossip like mad, make prank phone calls to a harmless recipient, to your home voice mail or to "the boys" (aka the groom and his guys). Play board games, dance till the wee hours and just be blissfully silly. Oh, and don’t forget to freeze someone’s bra!

Favors: Stuffed animals, temporary tattoos, travel board games, fuzzy slippers, gift certificates for free scoops and sundaes at the local ice cream parlor, and iTunes gift cards, which are affordable since you’ll likely have less than a dozen guests.

A Little Something Extra: What fun would a pajama party be without the boys stopping by in the middle of the night and tossing pebbles at your window? If you want the guys to make a cameo appearance, let them know a good time to cruise by.

Next: Parisian Cafe