Every bride adores seeing their bridal shower theme come together — the menu, cake, flowers and décor, not to mention the lineup of beautifully-wrapped shower gifts — but what she might like most are sentimental extras from guests that she can keep to remember the day by.
Generations of brides have received family-favorite recipes from their relatives and friends at their bridal shower. In years past, bridesmaids have enclosed blank recipe cards or colored 3”x5” index cards in the invitation for guests to fill out with their signature recipe. In the digital age of e-mail and online communication, this is still a special memento today, so that you can get grandma's favorite lemon bar recipe in her actual handwriting. You can point your guests to fabulous resources like FoodNetwork.com and other sites that let them print out 3x5”, 4x6” or full-page recipes with a quick click. A new twist on asking for recipes: asking for a great story about the recipe. For instance, the bride's future mother-in-law could share her chocolate mousse recipe with a note saying it was the very first thing she ever made for her husband; the personalized touches make each recipe even more of a treasure.
On those colorful index cards, shower guests can write their wishes for the bride and groom, as an extra-sweet sentiment that can be read aloud in place of a shower game. Tie the cards together with a ribbon or hang them from a wishing tree for the bride-to-be to cherish for years to come.
3. Marriage Advice:
We’re getting back to the origins of the bridal shower: preparing the bride for married life. Provide guests with fill-in cards and ask them to share their wisest advice for a happy marriage or fulfilling relationship. These too can be read aloud and presented to the bride; and if there are tons of them due to a large guest list, you can just choose the standouts in the collection and read those. You’ll get a lot of "don’t go to bed angry" duplicates, so be sure not to read repeats to avoid boring your guests.
4. Wishing Well Items:
The "wishing well" has long been a part of bridal shower tradition, with guests in the old days bringing little household items like kitchen sponges and toothpicks as a way to stock the bride’s home with everything she could possibly need. Some bridal shower hosts rent portable wishing wells, decorated with white fabric and bows, while others have the good fortune of being able to borrow a friend’s wishing well that was made by a handy dad or crafty friend. If neither of those options is feasible for you, use a little red wagon or a recycling container that becomes a part of the bride's household supplies after the party (green brides love this!).
For a modern spin on this classic tradition, create a themed wishing well. For example, a kitchen-themed well could include gourmet items like exotic and classic spices, teas, sauces and muffin mixes, as well as $5-and-under-essentials like spatulas, an egg timer or a lemon zester. You could also consider a garden-themed wishing well, especially since so many couple plan to have flower or vegetable gardens as part of their happily-ever-after. Ask guests to bring packets of wildflower seeds, plant ID signs, garden gloves, garden magazines, and those fantastic little stones with the word "dream", "inspire," or "create" stamped into them. Decorate the well with flowers (real, silk or paper) and pin on a generous gift card to her local garden shop or nursery so that she can stock up on planters, seedlings and other supplies (because no one wants to be the one to bring the bag of compost to the party!).
Sharon Naylor is the author of over 35 wedding books, including The Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book and Bridesmaid on a Budget. She has been featured as a wedding expert on top shows such as Good Morning America, ABC News, Primetime and more. Visit sharonnaylor.net for more bridesmaid tips and advice.