Q: My dear friend’s daughter is getting married soon, and I’m throwing her a bridal shower. How can I make it extra special?
A: I promise you that no matter what you do at your shower, the event will be infinitely special to your friend and her daughter simply because you cared enough to host it. There’s no greater gift we can give our friends than to lavish their children with love. I know that’s how I felt when my dear friends hosted an amazing bridal shower for my daughter, Kelly.
The first thing Janet, Mary and Denise did right when they hosted the shower was to team up with each other to share the time, effort and expense of the event. They had a blast working together planning the party, decorating and fixing the food. Is there anyone you can co-host with?
The second step our hostesses took to make the shower perfect was to consult with Kelly before they started planning the event to see what type of shower Kelly wanted. It’s absolutely essential to tailor your celebration to match the bride’s personality and desires. Does she want a quiet gathering or a big bash? Is there a theme for the gifts? Garden or kitchen gadgets, dishware or a group gift? Just the gals or co-ed? Kelly knew she wanted a "girly-girl" shower that was elegant and romantic. And boy, did my friends deliver it!
Next, our hostesses set the tone for the entire event by carefully selecting the right invitations. Since the shower would be a formal affair, they decided on custom, engraved invitations featuring Kelly’s bridal colors of pink and apple green.
Another must for a great shower is serving yummy food. Janet, Mary and Denise are all fabulous cooks, so they decided to serve a light luncheon. Mary used the family’s chicken salad recipe that her grandmother-in-law had served at the bridal shower she hosted for her, which made this event even more special.
Next comes creating killer decorations. Since Kelly didn’t want a "theme" shower, the hostesses took their cue for the decorations from Mary’s fabulous garden. With pruning sheers in hand, they went to town in the flowerbeds, snipping mounds of hydrangea blossoms and hosta leaves to decorate the buffet, tables, fireplace mantel and everything else in the home.
Finally, they set each table with infinite care, spoiling us all with a visual feast that rivaled the delicious food. To minimize stress, these smart hostesses rented cafe tables and linens so they could comfortably seat everyone at the party. To create intimate clusters conducive to conversation, they placed the tables all through Mary’s house.
When I found my seat, my knees buckled at the sight of the table. The place settings featured white china dishes topped with iridescent pink dessert plates. Perched atop the dessert plates were small hydrangeas with place cards gently tucked into the blossoms.
The napkins, one side sporting hot pink fabric and the other apple green fabric, were tied up with a ribbon, folded to look like flowers, then inserted into the empty water glasses. But my favorite part of the tabletop scene was the party favors. The gals decided to treat guests to a cute and practical take-home gift: pink and green pot holders and matching dishtowels.
The final treat that our hostesses had in store for us was an amazing custom-made cake that looked like a stack of gifts wrapped in pink and green paper. They served the cake atop a crystal cake plate, lightly garnished with hosta leaves and hydrangeas.
After the last guests left the party, Kelly and I were delirious with joy. By going out of their way to pull together a truly magnificent event, my friends had given Kelly (and me) a gift she’ll never forget.
Have fun as you plan your friend’s daughter’s wedding. Remember that as you go the extra mile to do things you know will surprise and delight your guest of honor, you also let her mom know how very dear she is to you.
Mary Carol Garrity owns three home furnishings stores in Atchison, Kan., and wrote several books on home decorating. Write to Mary Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column is syndicated by Scripps Howard News Service.