Planning a Cost-Friendly Bridal Shower

Every part of the long journey to the altar should be memorable and fun, but it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Take, for instance, the bridal shower. With gas prices the way they are, just getting friends and family to drive to the location is an expensive proposition. If you’ve been charged with arranging the shower, it is easier than you might think to have a grand time without a grand budget. As with everything, a little elbow grease and creativity will go a long way to helping you organize a special event with a minimum of cost.

Alicia on “Togetherness”:

This is, at its heart, a more intimate version of the bride’s reception, with only her closest friends and family invited. You will celebrate her upcoming union with stories, laughter and presents. That embrace of friendship is really important, not the presents. So, if you know that some of your friends are doing better than others, set a price limit on gifts or skip store-bought gifts altogether and ask your friends to make something, whether baked goods, a photo album or poem.

Sarah on “Time is on Your Side”:

The trade-off is always the same: The more you do yourself, the less it will cost. But for most of us, free time is not abundant. So, lean on others for a little help. Include your friends and/or family members in the party-planning process. They can be particularly helpful when it comes to gathering multiple bids from vendors such as florists or restaurants, comparing different costs and availabilities and making important trade-offs. Don’t be shy. Everyone will enjoy the shower more knowing they played a part in making it a success.

Here are a few tips to help you plan a fabulous and cost-friendly shower.

#1:There’s No Place Like Home:
Restaurants, arboretums and hotel banquet rooms are not the only places to hold a shower. In fact, they generally pale in comparison to the warmth of someone’s living room or kitchen. So host it at home — inside or, if weather permits, outside. If you really want to create an intimate celebration, ask each person to bring a dessert. Then the entire event is really just about the people who have gathered. If you’re not comfortable hosting it at someone’s home, try getting space at a tea room. You can get a lovely assortment of sandwiches and baked goods without needing a platinum card.

#2: Fun and Fancy Free:
Play games that are more about fun than finances. One classic is to break the group into teams and have each team create a wedding dress out of toilet paper. The guests get to be active participants as well as creative. The prize can be that the winner gets to pick the next game or perhaps gets to choose a cleanup duty. And at the end of the day, how many smiles were out determines the success of the shower, not how much was spent.

#3: A Little Hard Work:
Think more about the help the bride-to-be will need over the coming months than about gifts. Since the bride will likely receive all the useful items she will need at the wedding, create a “Little Help-her” bowl. Write down chores she might need help with over the coming months and put them in a fish bowl — things such as help with the invitations; picking up wedding guests at the airport; and pet-sitting during the honeymoon. When someone wins a game, the winner gets to draw from the bowl.