Most first-time brides look forward to the bridal shower, but the person charged with hosting it probably isn’t looking forward to the costs it entails. I’ve been to big showers, and small showers, and come up with a few ideas for hosting a bridal shower on a budget. Rest assured, these bridal shower tips won’t look cheap, but they’ll save you a pretty penny on the bride’s celebration.
Choose a Free Location
I’ve been to a bridal shower held in a restaurant, and it seemed like a lot of expense and hassle. I much prefer showers held in homes. I hosted my sister’s shower at my mom’s house, which allowed us to do all the cooking and set-up in advance. We also didn’t have to bring multiple cars to get the gifts home from the party. If you don’t have access to a home, consider a park or low-cost community center with a kitchen. Avoid restaurants if you can – not only are they expensive, but they limit the amount of time for the party.
Recruit a Co-Host
My aunt offered to host the bridal shower with me, so we split the minimal costs. We were also able to use items and ingredients we, or my mom, already had on hand.
Keep the Guest List Reasonable
Unless the bride or groom has a huge family, invite less than 20 people to each shower. That’s a manageable size for talking and gift opening. More than that stretches your ability to serve the guests good food and keep the gift-opening portion to a reasonable amount of time. If the bride has numerous friends and relatives, she should have several showers, only one of which need be hosted by you.
Keep the Menu Simple
It’s easy to find simple, affordable recipes that look fantastic and expensive. My aunt and I started off with grand ideas for multiple dishes, but we settled on serving everyone the same thing. This was our menu:
- Goat cheese mousse with crispy polenta and parmesan crisps
- Blue-cornmeal chicken on a bed of lettuce with black beans, kernel corn, bell pepper slices, and a buttermilk dressing
- Ginger-berry lemonade
- Ice cream cake
While this menu looks expensive, we bought the lemons, ginger, and peppers at a farmer’s market and the raw chicken came in a value pack. All the other ingredients were cheap or something we already had on hand. We even made the ice cream cake ourselves.
Limit the Beverage Options
To keep the costs down, we served champagne with the appetizers, wine and water with lunch, lemonade while opening presents, and water and iced tea with dessert (it was hot, no one wanted coffee.) No one expects full cocktails at a bridal shower, so choose a few affordable options.
Borrow Dishes from Friends and Family
My aunt has gorgeous glassware, platters, and linens. My mom had the china and more glassware. If you don’t already own these things, ask your friends and relatives what they have. Odds are you know people who will lend you everything you need for a bridal shower. You don’t need everything to match. Mixing dish sets is trendy now.
Skip the Theme
As far as I’m concerned, “bridal shower” is the theme. Plan the décor around the bride’s colors and skip everything else. Use your favors as the centerpieces at the table, if you feel you need to have centerpieces at all.
Choose Simple, Cheap Shower Favors
At my shower, the guests received small votives and candles and in my wedding colors. They probably cost about $1 each. At my sister’s shower, we filled small flower pots with flower foam and fresh herbs from my mom’s and aunt’s gardens. The pots cost less than $1 and I already had the foam.
Skip the Games
I took a quick poll of a few women and determined that none of us like bridal shower games. Maybe we’re all spoilsports, but I find the games to be expensive and a waste of time. Just let your guests enjoy each other’s company.
Everyone enjoyed my sister’s shower, and neither my aunt or I spent a fortune on it. If you’ve got a shower to host, use these bridal shower tips to keep the costs in check. You can also use them for a baby shower or even an adult birthday party. If you don’t have to host the shower, but have a wedding to attend, use my previous advice for saving money during wedding season.