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Wedding Etiquette Chronicles: Planning A Bridal Shower For A Bitchy Bride-To-Be

January 23, 2010

Dear Bridal Shower Planner (or friend stuck with the task),

You have the daunting task of pulling this event off for the bride-to-be and it’s even more difficult when she is on the bitchy side of life.  Brides are under a lot of stress, even if some of it is self-induced.  No one wants the time before their wedding day to be filled with mishaps and potholes, so you may have to deal with a bride-to-be that is on the stressed out end of things.

The goal is to calm the bitchy bride.  Give her the parameters of everything you are going to do and how it is going to be done.  If she wants to give more or less input, that’s fine, but she is not in charge.  You (the planner) is in charge and will handle this like a pro.  Bitchy brides need reassurance that things will be fine.

Here are some tips on how to handle her and pull the shower off without a hitch.

  1. If You Cannot Do It: It is customary for the maid of honor to put on the bridal shower.  If she (you), are not available to do so, then delegate the task to someone else and follow-up with them to make sure that things are going in the right direction.
  2. Be Superwoman: It’s not hard.  The lucky lady in charge of the bridal shower has a simple job to do.  Trust me.  It’s about as difficult as pulling off a kid’s birthday party.  If you can do that, then you can get the bridal shower handled like a pro.  Do some planning on the venue, get your guest list together, plan the food, drink and tableware.  Plan the fun activities and the gift opening time for the last grand event.  To keep everyone interested, try to keep your party at two hours, about the length of a good movie.  You’ll want the guests to leave on a high note, wanting more fun and felling great, not leaving after feeling like they have been to a long drawn out boring opera.
  3. Casual or Formal Theme: Is this a formal event or casual?  Usually, there is no dress code, but if you are having a formal bridal shower, you may request that the guests  attire stay within a semi-formal range.  If the bridal shower is more casual, let the guests know in the invitation that jeans are ok to wear.
  4. [Don’t] Guess Who’s Coming: The bridal shower list is like gold and you are handing out the golden ticket in the form of invitations.  Every woman in the immediate bridal party should be invited.  This would be the brides mom, sisters, aunts, bridesmaids and whomever else she requests.  Talk to the bride about these details, but usually men and children are not invited.
  5. Invitations: It’s up to the bride if she wants a fancy invite or something classic and simple.  When in doubt, go with classic and simple.  Emailed invites are tacky.  Send or give the invites out  at least 10 days in advance of the event to give the guests time to plan to come.
  6. Food Glorious Food: Before coming up with your menu, find out if any guest has special food requirements for religious or health reasons and tailor your menu around those.  ALso, if you want to keep things simple, finger foods and classic party trays are great no-brainers and can free up some of your planning time for other things.
  7. Party Over…Where?:  Find a place to have the shower.  If you would like to have the event at your place or the brides place, make sure there is enough seating and space for everyone on the list.  If this won’t work, a nice bistro or café with a guest room large enough for everyone should work just fine.
  8. Gifts or Presents for the Bride-To-Be: What is acceptable to give to the bride to be?  Read the difference between gift and present here. Any gift that the bride requests via her bridal registry is acceptable and any present that you know the bride may enjoy would be great.  Just be sure that the bridal shower gift is for the bride. It is not a substitute for a wedding gift.  Some bridal show present ideas are here.  (If the bride to be happens to be in a family way and has a sense of humor, try giving this present.)
  9. Bridal Shower Atmosphere: Music with ambiance plays in the background and fun games are played during the shower.  The fun is specific to the theme.  If the event is more casual, offer door prizes and play guessing games about the bride and groom.  If the theme is formal, people may not wish to play games, but they may want to say a few congratulatory words about the couple.  Here are some ideas.
  10. Thanks for coming: Yes, after the fun and festivities comes the thank you notes to the guests.  The bride may want to do this herself since you (planner) has done everything else.  Please send or give these just as the invites were given, this time, withing 10 days post of the event.

You did it.  The bridal shower went great and the bride was able to leave some of her bitchiness behind and enjoy herself.  She didn’t have to worry about a thing.  Thank goodness, right!?

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