Budget Bridal Showers

Keep your budget intact while hosting a personal and special bridal shower.

Bridal showers are a happy and joyous time for a bride and her friends, but the expense can quickly drain a hostess's budget. If you are considering hosting this traditional event, but feel the bottom line might exceed your limits, here are some creative ways to keep things on track.

Location

Skip the fancy restaurant or the expensive venue and host the party in your home. The heart of bridal showers is about the gathering of friends to laugh and chat while presenting the bride with gifts to start her new life. There is no reason this must happen in an expensive location or a rented hall. Push furniture to the walls, cover card tables with pretty table clothes and pile coats in the bedroom. If your own home will not accommodate the guest list, ask the mother or sisters of the bride if they will offer their living room. If the weather will cooperate, move the entire party outside if you have more room in the backyard.

Guest List

Keep the guest list on the smaller side if you want to trim the budget -- you are not required to invite everyone the bride has ever met. Host an intimate gathering of her closest friends and relatives instead of a huge gathering. Your bride might appreciate the chance to slow down and reconnect with family and close friends after a hectic year of wedding planning. A handful of people in a relaxed setting can provide a bride with much needed support and love during the stressful time before a wedding.

Menu Choices

Keep the menu simple if you need a budget rescue. Elaborate brunches and full buffets are not a required part of hosting a shower. Offer finger foods, in-season fruits and simple desserts in place of expensive meals if you are comfortable in the kitchen. Consider making the shower a potluck if the guest list is large or your budget is slim. The entire idea behind a shower is the sharing among women and what better way to honor that than by allowing each guest a chance to offer her specialty to other guests.

Decorations As Favors

Instead of offering prizes and gifts to game winners and individual favors to guests, let each person select an arrangement from your decorations as they leave. You won't need all those flowers after the shower is over and your guests will leave with a personal memento. As you create any decorations, include the bridal shower favors in the design to make your flowers stretch farther. Instead of games, offer guests a chance to create a small project, such as bracelets or a mini bridal bouquet. The winner gets bragging rights and everyone leaves with their own creation.

Virtual Shower

If time, distance or budget concerns are just too big to overcome, consider a virtual shower. Keep the entire event a secret from the bride and ask "guests" to mail their packages for a coordinated arrival during a specified week. The bride will feel the love as each day gifts and good wishes are delivered to her doorstep. Ask "guests" to include a special poem, quotation or verse to honor this special woman and remind her that while her friends may seem far away, they are always supporting her.

Showers have always been about helping a bride take those first steps into a married household. They were never meant to put the financial squeeze on the hostess or create a problem for invited guests. The whole point of this event is a communal sharing of riches to welcome a new bride. Keep that tradition alive by hosting an event you can afford. No bride wants a party in her honor which will cause hardship on the guests or the hostess. All that is really required for a shower is a love of the bride and a sharing spirit.

Written by: Caroline Retzer