Wedding Showers: Keeping it simple

Written by: Ann Kelly

The general consensus among both past and recent brides-to-be regarding wedding plans is…“Simplify.”

Of course almost everyone has good intentions, going into the process. Despite good intentions, however, it’s inevitable plans become complicated and more elaborate as they unfold. For sanity if nothing else, gather your resolve. Watch that old Steve Martin standard, “Father of the Bride,” and have a good laugh as you gain perspective.

Consider the bridal shower… just a simple gathering of family and friends and good wishes, right? The bride takes the back seat in planning this one, but she probably will fret about the invitation list. Back in Grandma’s day, etiquette dictated bridal showers were never to be thrown by the mother-of-the bride; friend yes, aunties OK, Grandma…maybe. Today, depending on the situation, mothers along with the bride’s friends or relatives often participate. Friends and family may live at a distance so it makes sense the bride’s home provides the central location for entertaining. A lot of moms enjoy party planning for their daughter along with her friends. Often there are special shower foods and traditional family dishes for just the occasion. One family I know rotates a stash of glass party plates (with the punch cup holder) for each of their family showers. It wouldn’t be a shower without them. These are traditional parties: decorated with flowers, umbrellas, balloons or crepe paper, a light lunch followed by cake and punch. Maybe a few party games and the opening of gifts. I’m sure for larger groups, halls or church or community rooms are still rented. It’s all about honoring the bride. If the bride chooses “simple” the bridal shower should be simple.

Up North Bride editor, Jordan Spence, a recent bride, shared that her bridal shower was “whimsical” with lots of bright colors to match her wedding theme in the flowers and decorations. “All my aunts pitched in to help and make the food,” she said.

Apparently, at her mom’s shower, since the only thing she could make was Jell-O, her mother was crowned “Jell-O Queen.” At Jordan’s shower, she was crowned “Mac n’ Cheese Queen,” in honor of her go-to favorite. All the guests brought a box of Mac n’ Cheese for her pantry.

My daughter’s wedding showers were hosted by their sisters, and if I remember correctly, they were kitchen showers. Which is one theme that is an old favorite, along with bathroom, household or even lingerie (probably not that common any more.) How about a travel shower, if the couple is into travel?

Many brides now veer away from the traditional and keep it more simple said wedding planners Ellen Vander Zee and Janelle Warnemuende of Smitten Events in Harbor Springs.

Some of their clients plan couples showers. “They may choose to have a shower in a cocktail party setting with hors d’oeuvres,” they said.

“A shower could be something as casual as a mimosa bar,” said Brittany Severinsen of n.m. Event Design.

She concurs some couples choose simpler options.

For the outdoorsy couple, a shower might take place outdoors and a gift theme could involve camping equipment. “They (shower hosts) get a lot of ideas from wedding sites,” she said.

A shower could be geared around a regional or destination wedding theme. A friend recently hosted a nautical themed shower downstairs in The Weathervane restaurant in Charlevoix. The colors were navy and white, anchors were strung interspersed with hearts to decorate the windows, cupcakes and cookies were decorated accordingly and even the food was chosen to meld with the theme.

Sarah Hagen, event planner at Castle Farms in Charlevoix, reports that one of their brides was treated to a royal tea party shower with fancy plates and cups, finger sandwiches and tea cakes. The Perry Hotel also provides a venue for bridal shower parties in the Rose Garden or Reycraft Room. Their Resort Room, provides an opportunity for entertaining a casual, intimate group up to 30 guests. Michele Grunch from Charlevoix Country Club is presently scheduling weddings in the Club’s unique barn venue, however, the barn might be a bit spacious for a bridal shower. She would suggest one of the Club’s dining rooms.

It’s a personal preference call. What would the bride like? Honoring her style, her wishes and being respectful of her family, while celebrating the up- coming event in a special way, are simple guidelines for the planners.

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