A few general reminders: The bridal shower is planned for the bride, not by the bride. Ask her how involved she wants to be, ask her for the guest list and acceptable dates, but don't solicit her opinion on every detail; she has enough to do. That being said, the shower should be something that appeals to the bride, not the party planners. You may love the idea of a golf outing, but if the bride hates it, it's off the table.
For years, women have been trying to get away from what they see as the old-fashioned bridal shower, where a group of women gather, sip tea and open presents. But really, what's wrong with that? Embrace it in all its retro-glamour goodness. Dress up in "lunching suits" with hats, gloves and tasteful pumps. Serve finger sandwiches, scones and petit fours. Keep the decorations and the games retro, and give out prizes for the best retro outfit and hairdo. Find some old wedding and housekeeping guides at a library or thrift store -- and rejoice that you're only taking a vacation in the past, not living there!
If you live in a beautiful area, and the bride is outdoorsy, why keep the party inside? Pack a picnic and take a hike, then gather back at someone's house for presents and a refreshing drink.
If the bride is more of an indoor type, arrange for a wine tasting at someone's house or a local wine bar or winery.
Remember how much fun scavenger hunts were when we were kids? Think how much more fun they'll be now that you can drive all over the city! Create clues related to the couple's past, divide the guests into small teams and set them off to gather as many items as possible. Then, have everyone meet back at one house to share the loot and laugh.
Although there's something special about a group of women gathered together, the truth is that, today, you're just as likely to have close friends of the opposite sex. If your social group isn't divided along gender lines, why should your pre-wedding events have to be? Have a couples' shower and let the guys join in the fun.
Is the bride a yoga enthusiast? Hire a yoga teacher for a private class focused on reducing pre-wedding stress. The same could be done for aerobics, step, zumba, spin -- whatever the bride is into.
No, not strippers (although, if that's what you want, feel free). How about paintball, batting cages, whirlyball or golf? Boys have been going for super-active team parties for a long time; why not join in the fun?
The bachelorette weekend has become very popular, but it's a potential minefield if all the participants are not on the same page when it comes to money. This is a great idea for a very small, close group of friends who can talk honestly about how much money they're willing to spend and on what. It's not such a good idea for a group who doesn't know each other well, or if the bride or maid of honor want to dictate things.
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