Wedding planning can be a whirlwind of activity leading up to the big day. The bridal shower is one event where the bride and her closest friends and family will enjoy some fun, relaxation and quality time before the main event. Whether traditional or trendy, there are bridal shower themes to suit every bride's personality! To help inspire you for your own planning, we're providing you with a list of our five favourite bridal shower themes.
The laid back, feminine vibe of a garden party bridal shower is perfect for the outdoorsy bride who loves nature, flowers, and warm weather. This type of relaxed outdoor celebration encourages mingling between guests, with conversation sets placed around the space to provide the bride-to-be a chance to chat in smaller, intimate groups. When considering decor, rely on the natural beauty of the setting, or tie in a more boho chic vibe for added fun. To achieve a bohemian feel, accents such as canopies, teepees, pillows, and throws not only add comfort and decor, but also provide photo backdrops for the bride to capture memories with her favourite gals. Guests can be given floral crowns upon arrival to immediately help everyone get into the theme, and for extra picture perfect moments, ask all guests to dress in the same colour (white, blush, or another pastel).
(Above): Garden party-themed shower filled with whimsical white umbrellas, teepees, and intimate conversation sets. Photo Source: Jillian Harris.
Pastels, florals and fresh greenery can be featured in all kinds of party elements from the place settings, to the centerpieces, and even the favours. To keep with the boho vibe, use mismatched vases and photo frames around the setting that you can later send guests home with as thank yous - rather than purchasing a whole different favour.
Tie the theme into invitations and shower games, rather than opting for the traditional. Send out seed packet invitations of the bride's favourite flower, which are not only a fun way of informing guests of the theme but will also liven up everyone's garden for the season ahead. Interactive stations such as a date night advice jar to 'help their love grow,' could be set up for guests to provide the couple with their favourite date suggestions.
When it comes to food and beverage for a garden party theme, stick with a light, fresh and easy menu, with a focus on the presentation. Sangria, lemonade and water infused with fresh fruit or herbs are all refreshing, visually attractive choices. Display beverages in glass dispensers or pitchers, and raise them on wood crates or galvanized bins for extra interest. For food, choose small bites that are easy for guests to eat while mingling, and that can be arranged on wood platters - think crostini or flat breads, poached shrimp, and mini caprese salad on spears. Fresh tossed salads and dips, such as tabbouleh and guacamole are light, refreshing, and visually-appealing on a buffet table. Desserts such as cupcakes, lemon squares, and fresh fruit aren’t too heavy and allow guests to eat while chatting and carrying a plate around with them.
Tea party bridal showers exude a sense of elegance, femininity, and simplicity. This theme works well for smaller groups of guests, providing an intimate feel for the classy bride who prefers not to be the center of attention. These types of showers are normally thrown on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, and are easily hosted in the homes of family and friends - due to their smaller guest count. Alternatively, booking the event with a venue that hosts high tea is another idea, and one that will help you control the amount of decor and catering you're responsible for, since the setting will already fit your theme.
Family heirlooms such as vintage tea sets will add to the charming feel of the party, and tie in the intimacy of having only close friends and family in attendance. Label each individual tea cup with names of guests, and a story about how the teacup came into the family. Centerpieces are another way to compliment the theme, with details like teacups or tins as vases for succulents and an array of various florals. Guest favours such as personalized tea infusers, mini tea boxes filled with a mix of the bride's favourite varieties, or leaf teas in mason jars all fit the theme perfectly, and also provide pretty finishes to the decor. Of course upping the fun factor by suggesting that guests wear fascinators (and having a few on hand for those that forget) will add to the uniqueness of the party photos.
Offering at least a few different varieties of tea (we recommend four to six) will help appeal to a wider audience, and is a way to incorporate the bride's personality - you can choose varieties that are preferred by the bride, in addition to traditional favourites like English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and Green. A refreshing mint or iced tea will offer more choice to guests, especially on a warmer afternoon. Rather than having tea pre-made, consider displaying tea bags or loose leaf tea in an arrangement of glass jars, along with several tea pots or carafes of hot water. This tea station idea is both interactive for guests and also a way to add to the overall decor in the space. Traditional tea party fare such as sandwiches, scones, macarons, and cookies can be displayed on elegant tiered platters, topped with fresh berries or mint leaves for an added pop of colour.
There's bound to be a close relative or someone in the wedding party who has a backyard pool for a pool party-themed bridal shower - the perfect way to let the bride-to-be unwind and enjoy an afternoon of fun and sun with her closest ladies. This type of shower is ideal for the bride who loves the beach, tanning, music and having a good time. Rather than forcing guests to play traditional shower games, you'll spend the afternoon lounging by the pool, dancing and sipping on the bride's favourite cocktails. Setup a 'destination station' for guests to recommend the best sun-filled travel spots for the couple to travel to on their anniversaries.
In addition to helping out guests that may come without certain pool necessities, laying galvanized bins around the space filled with beach towels, sunscreen and hats will provide decorative details. Pool floaties, such as flamingos, swans, unicorns, and donuts, are an absolute must for a party of this nature, and provide the perfect spot to lounge or take photos. Throw a few beach balls into the pool for interest and for play, arrange poolside limbo contests, and incorporate fun colour into the paper supplies (drink umbrellas, straws, plates, napkins), balloons, and outdoor pillows. Outdoor lanterns and tiki torches can add a spark of magic and look especially romantic at dusk for evening pool parties.
What waterside party would be complete without sangria? Consider adding to the mix other popular summer refreshments, such as mojitos, spiked lemonade, strawberry daiquiri, and pina colada. In keeping with the casual feel of a pool party, have guests serve themselves by way of colourful and decorative beverage dispenser displays. Elevating the food menu with snacks like lobster sliders, grilled cheese, and barbecued vegetables gives your guests the laidback, fresh palette they’d expect at an outdoor celebration. Gelato or sorbet treats, with a variety of toppings, will keep your guests cool and satisfy their sweet tooth at the same time!
An at home spa theme can make for a relaxing and memorable bridal shower with family and friends, and is fitting for the bride with a busy lifestyle. Hiring an esthetician or a massage therapist to come to your home may actually be more cost-effective than trying to get your guests booked into a professional spa, and you'll be able to include more ladies than if you went to a venue. A yoga session could even be included if guests were informed on invitations of what to expect - as they would need to come prepared with the appropriate attire and yoga mats. Setup a station for guests to do their own facials, complete with exfoliants, lotions, fresh cucumber slices, and hot towels. Instead of bridal shower games, have the bridesmaids lead DIY activities like making bath bombs, soap bars, or jars of scented bath salts, which can also double as guest favours.
Setting the vibe for guests is essential to the relaxed atmosphere of the spa theme. Send out invitations as if they were spa gift certificates to be redeemed on the day of the shower, ensure peaceful spa music is being played in the background, and light candles or incense throughout the space. Fill weaved baskets with luxurious spa items like towels, robes and slippers that will offer decorative appeal, and also comfort to your guests during and after the party (they can take them home as favours). Place wood photo frames around the space with soft water colour inserts that showcase each spa station, activity, and also photos of the newlyweds-to-be.
Similar to an outdoor garden party, a spa theme should include light and refreshing fare. Following a detoxing yoga session or massage, serve cucumber-infused water to guests so that they can re-hydrate for the remainder of the party. During the manicures and pedicures, serve fun and popular beverages such as mimosas or sparkling wine. For food, consider offering salad, sushi and parfait bars, where guests can build their own lunches and where you can compliment the healthy spa vibe. For dessert, keep with the interactive food station idea by offering a waffle bar, complete with waffle griddler, fresh fruit, whipped cream, and 100% Canadian maple syrup.
Couples Bridal Shower
Men are becoming more involved in the wedding process, with co-ed or 'Jack & Jill' showers growing in popularity. Joint bridal showers are a great way to celebrate with all of the wedding party, friends and family in one place, especially because the wedding isn't just about the bride! These types of parties can alleviate some of the formal feeling of a typical shower, and make for a more relaxed, cocktail hour vibe. Traditional female-focused showers are normally hosted during weekend afternoons, whereas Friday evenings are extremely fitting for co-ed bridal showers, freeing up weekends for the couple and their busy guests. As well, many couples opt to mingle with their guests for the entire evening, saving the opening of gifts for after the party has ended - which lifts pressure and time off of the two of them and that of their guests.
The personalities of the couple will help determine the type and style of catering to choose. For the laid back, adventurous duo, a family-style menu of barbequed items, tacos, or fondue would be favourable, with build-your-own mojito or caesar drink stations setup around the room. Alternatively, for the couple who enjoys dressing up and fine dining, a more mature cocktail setting might be ideal - with hors d'oeuvres, wine, and the couple's favourite craft beer passed around on platters by the wedding party, or by hired staff. Either way, consider hiring a bartender to keep the drinks flowing, so that the couple and the hosts of the party don't have to spend time mixing drinks for guests.
When it comes to activities for co-ed showers, lawn games such as ring toss, horseshoe, bocce ball, and darts are always popular. Throw in a round of the 'Newlywed Game', where the wedding party quizzes the bride and groom about each other to see how similar their responses are. Then relive your university glory days by including a few fun games of flip cup, or starting a dance party that includes dance-offs - guys versus gals.
Whichever bridal shower theme you choose, there will be additional details to consider, such as date, time and registries. If the couple has a registry, don't forget to include that information on the shower invitations. Invitations should be sent out at least two months in advance of the shower, especially since showers generally take place during the summer months, which are busy for everyone.
Establishing a budget in the initial planning phases can help alleviate tension and financial stress. It’s generally expected that a shower hosted at a restaurant will include payment for all of the attendees, so having one of the bridesmaids or family members offer their home or backyard can help cut down on costs and keep the vibe true to the couple. If a co-ed bridal shower is chosen, hosting at the couples' home is tasteful as long as the hosts (wedding party or family) arrange for catering, decorating and cleaning, so that the couple doesn't have to worry about these details.
It’s not necessary to hire a professional photographer for the shower, so if this luxury isn't in the budget, be sure to delegate the task to one or more of the bridesmaids so that the day doesn't fly by without capturing special moments. The wedding party can then pitch in to have a photo book put together into a sentimental gift for the bride and groom. All of the wedding-related events go by fast, so providing the couple with memories of these events is something they'll be able to cherish long after their celebrations have finished.