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Throw a Bridal Shower Low on Stress and Big on Impact

A Practical Wedding share three simple tips for throwing a bridal shower that's stress-free but still guaranteed to wow your guests.

Wedding shower food spread

2 women holding balloons

Last month I helped plan my sister’s bridal shower from across the country. And you know what I learned in the process? The less thinking you have to do when planning a shower, the better. Because if you’re planning a shower, chances are you do not have A) unlimited time or B) unlimited budget. And you might even have a few extra people (aka someone’s mom, or their sister, or a very enthusiastic wedding party member) whose thoughts and opinions you have to take into consideration along with your own (brilliant, obvs) ideas. So anything you can do to simplify the process (and still end up with something you love) is great.

Woman holding champagne glass

So planning a fun, stylish bridal shower is often a little of “I have an idea!” followed by “OK, now how do I pull that off?” Which is why at APW, we consider it our jobs to test out all kinds of bonkers ideas so you don’t have to. Here are our top 3 tips for bringing an awesome bridal shower to life. (And spoiler alert: having access to some of the prettiest serveware and glassware around definitely made our jobs easier.)

Glimpse of food spread

1. A (VAGUE) THEME.
Showers are sort of the opposite of weddings, in that a theme can minimize your stress. (Trust me when I say it will make execution a thousand times easier. Especially if you have a lot of cooks in the kitchen.) But I don’t mean theme like…You’re invited to a Wizard of Oz wedding shower, though if you’re having that, please invite us. In this case, I mean coming up with a more general theme or idea (often stolen from Pinterest, because that’s literally what it’s there for).

Mini pancakes on pedestal

Flowers in vase, desserts on marble tray, and other foods on table

So for this party, since it’s mid-August and we already own a giant flamingo floaty, we went with “Summer fun indoors.” This made it extra easy; not just because we could drag Ms. Flamingo from her not-so-happy home in the closet, but because tropical decor is exactly what’s on sale everywhere right now. (Side note: 10/10 you should have a pool floaty at your next bridal shower.)

Woman on flamingo floaty

Woman holding champagne glass

Two champagne glasses with raspberries

2. IT’S TIME FOR THE UNUSUAL MATERIALS CHALLENGE.
Possibly my favorite project we’ve ever done is this ice mold we got from Crate and Barrel and then filled it A LOT of glitter. I mean, you could basically have just that at your party and call it a win. Our guiding rule for decorating is that you don’t have to make it perfect/beautiful/insert impossible standard here if you can make it interesting.

Pro Tip: We coated the inside of our mold with a coat of super strength hairspray and then added our glitter to help it stick and not just float on the surface. Turn the mold around (like a cement mixer!) To get even coverage, then slowly pour water into the mold so the glitter isn’t moved around too much. We definitely went with the more is more rule here but you can get a similar effect with less glitter if you want to see more ice coming through.

Hands popping champagne bottle out of confetti ice mold

Bottle of champagne in confetti ice mold

3. BRING SEXY BACK(DROP).
Remember our number one rule for wedding decor? It’s go big or go really big. Aka you don’t need a lot of tiny decor elements (that will inevitably take a thousand hours to execute). Instead, plan on one big statement piece that will be the focal element of your party, and put it in a high traffic zone (we put ours behind the food table, because duh.) For example, for our backdrop, we cut triangles out of holographic vinyl and adhered them to a coral taffeta with spray adhesive (a project that was basically a zero on the “how hard is this to do” scale).

Wedding shower food spread

Women cheersing

We also printed out giant landscapes on color engineer prints from Parabo Press. While those of us who spend a lot of time on the internet know about color engineer prints, they’re still one of those things that make most of the world go, “OMG, what is that? How did you even make it?” So pick a photo that fits your theme (or even some words in a cool font), order a print, and consider your crafting done.

Women on floaties cheersing champagne glasses

Related: If you know the person of honor will want pictures after the fact, make a second backdrop for people to take photos in front of. (Also related: instant photos are always a hit, always.) And beyond that, we were lucky enough to work with Crate and Barrel and test out all the items you should register for, if you want to throw parties that look good with basically minimal effort. Because as it turns out, a cute marble tray, copper barware, and a silver woven table runner will take you pretty darn far.

Little snacks laid out on table

Woman holding vase of big bouquet

Putting together this shoot, we spent a whole lot of time both scouring the Crate and Barrel website, and looking around their stores. And besides from realizing the obvious (Crate and Barrel is a really great place to register), we came up with some favorite items that you should for sure add to your registry right now.

All Crate and Barrel products used for wedding shower

Head over to A Practical Wedding to find more Summer Bridal Shower entertaining tips!

White Jumpsuit: Rent the Runway | Coral Dress: Rent the Runway | Black pom-pom earrings: Rent the Runway | Gold Spiked Cuff: Rent the Runway | Floral Dress: Vintage | Copper Shoes: Asos (similar here) | Floral Sandals: Nordstrom (similar here) | Confetti: Oh Happy Day Party Shop | Balloons: Pippa & Co | Color Engineer Prints: Parabo Press | Mini Pies: Pietisserie | Tarts & Pastries: La Parisienne | Photography: Maddie Eisenhart for APW | Hair & Makeup: Kate Levy | Florals: Dirty Hands Floral

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