Winter Bridal Shower Ideas

Winter has become  a very popular time for weddings and as a result, bridal showers. Hosting a bridal shower right before (during) or after the holiday season can present some challenges but, with a little planning and inspiration the end result will be a fabulous, festive gathering of warmth and love.

Remember, there are a ton of great ideas available without breaking the bank:

All White gives a wintry feel. Using different textures and shapes of all white flowers will add depth to the tablescape and no color is needed, except maybe a splash of silver!
Hot Chocolate Bar with various toppings and flavors will warm up your guests in no time. Cinnamon, marshmallows, vanilla, and maybe even a splash of something intoxicating will make a cocoa buffet your guests will literally drool over.
Hot Chocolate Bar
Recapture your youth with an indoor S’mores bar made by using sterno and rocks displayed in the center of a delightful marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker buffet. 
s'mores bar!
Festive Desserts like Snowflake cookies, cupcakes, cake pops and holiday inspired dessert tables make a big impact.
Winter Candyland Party Desserts

cookiesBridgey Widgey: Winter Dessert Table
Don’t forget the invitations. There are literally thousands of winter themed ideas to compliment the invitation and they don’t have to reflect any particular holiday …at all.
Winter Bridal Shower InvitationsBridal Shower Invite
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Secrets To A Successful Shower

Most people think bridal showers are just giddy gab-fests jam-packed with giggly women. Ask anyone who has hosted a bridal shower recently and they will tell you that this is serious business.  Even for a small gathering you need a theme, flowers, sweets, games,  and above all; really good food. The truth is that bridal Showers have evolved into full-fledged parties complete with parting gifts and photographers.

Theme:  Don’t worry too much about choosing an elaborate theme that has never been done and matching everything to it because (as with any good party)  the theme can be color. Choose colors that compliment the location, the season and the overall feel of the wedding.  Make sure it is a color the bride loves and don’t forget the invitations to match!

Bridal Shower: A Black-and-White Damask and Green Theme
Although a giant ice cream or candy buffet may be too causal for the wedding that your bride has in mind, this is the perfect place to implement some of those creative ideas. Cake pops, decorative cookies, cupcakes and decadent candy are all inviting additions to a scrumptious sweet table.
Even with a casual, buffet style party, having good food will ensure happy guests.  There is nothing that says you have to serve  a seven course meal; have a wide array of sandwiches, snacks, appetizer and remember: presentation is everything!
A few touches of beautiful flowers at each table and scattered around the room will add the finishing touch that every good party needs.  Try to make sure the flowers accentuate  the theme and decor of the entire party.  You don’t have to go crazy or spend thousands of dollars on the flowers, simple arrangements can make a big difference.
Choosing favors is difficult since everyone has different taste; for every person that loves Precious Moments figurines, there are as many that despise them.  Favors that are edible or that can otherwise be consumed are always a good bet as are favors that also act as a keepsake. The favor is a memento, something that you take home and enjoy, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune or be life-changing. It is a simple token of your affection and should reflect just that, and should be accompanied by a tag or card noting the date and occasion.
 Gerber Daisy Favor Boxes with Personalized Labels
When planning a bridal shower the single most important thing to keep in mind is…. The Bride.  This party is for her,  so although you would prefer a Moroccan theme with chicken curry and exotic flowers, she may prefer tulips and finger sanwiches.  Planning a party around someone else’s likes and dislikes take some patience and planning but, with the right combination of both, it is sure to be a huge success.
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Out of Bridal Shower Ideas? How About Henna?

Not just for Indian women, Henna tattoos are fast becoming one of the hottest fashion statements and forms of personal expression. If you don’t already know; Henna hand, foot and body tattoos have been around for centuries. Now, the people of India and that region of the world have brought their unique Henna tattoo art into the 21st century by combining it with mani/pedi spa parties for brides-to-be to create one of the most innovative ideas for a bridal shower!

Before you ask, it is not of any religious significance whatsoever, it is a cultural practice. There’s nothing strictly sacred or spiritual about it, but the Henna tattoos are considered beneficial and lucky, and always regarded as beautiful and blessed. The Henna tattoos are widely regarded as the most auspicious ornamentation a woman can wear.

 Today as an alternative to permanent tattoos, Henna tattoos are as hot as many of the celebrities seen sporting this painless art of body painting. Actress Demi Moore, and ‘No Doubt’ crooner Gwen Stefani were among the first to sport this look.

Conside these tips:

If you are going to have  Henna Party – book it far enough in advance that the tattoos will fade before your wedding day (if you don’t want them visible on your wedding day).

If you do want them to be visible, less than one week before your wedding is advised. 

They can be as little or as much as you like.

Try to avoid the black henna – according to research  it can be toxic and cause skin problems.

The best colors are the deep rich RED hues.

If you have  very dark skin, henna tattoos are going to be barely visible.

Henna Parties are popping up all over, especially during the summer months when your feet and ankles are visible in sandals. They are painless, harmless, one step up from a mani/pedi and the perfect time to have some good luck bestowed upon you and the members of your wedding party.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Unwrapped Showers – A Disturbing Trend

From time to time I hear a wedding idea that I have never heard before. If  I hear something twice in one week, I know it is something that deserves further research. But, before I will label it a ‘trend’ I need to see proof that more than one person is using this idea, that it seems to be catching on and that people are universally accepting the idea. In my humble opinion, some trends are good and (in this particular case) some trends are bad.

Recently it has come to my attention that invitees are being asked to bring gifts to Bridal Showers….. unwrapped. On the pretense of being open-minded I have responded with the obligatory, “That’s interesting, tell me more.” when, in reality, I am saying to myself “That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard”. I can’t even imagine what that gift table looks like. Haven’t they ever heard that presentation is everything? Furthermore, am I losing my mind?

The alleged purpose of the “unwrapped shower” is two-fold: To save on paper waste and to save time for the bride who could be spending that same valuable time ‘bonding’ with her guests. Lets examine this carefully:

Reduce Paper Waste: Being abut as green as any average person could be without using a palm frond for toilet paper, I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. I understand not wanting to waste paper, I recycle and re-use everything possible. I still carefully open Christmas gifts so I can re-use the paper for  next year, I purchase only paper made from recycled products, I measure gifts so that I can use as much of the paper as possible and not waste a scrap. However, this is where I draw the line. In good conscience I cannot bring an unwrapped gift to anyone, anywhere, for any reason. It’s like wearing a beautiful outfit and not combing your hair. In addition, if everyone across the globe collectively stopped using all wrapping paper of any form, there would be a huge gap in the job market and parts of the economy would be out of work…. not on my watch. I always say you don’t have to sacrifice style to go green, that being an environmentalist doesn’t mean you have to change everything about the way you live. Could I be completely wrong?

If going green is really your main purpose, then you need to address that in the invitation and make it clear. Maybe you could ask guests to use ribbon only. And speaking of ribbon, when wrapping a gift for any occasion whatsoever, you should only use fabric ribbon.  It can be tied, untied, ironed and tied again. Recycling ribbon is the perfect way to go green and the plastic shiny ribbons are just not as pretty. My favorite is the ribbon with a small wire edge so you can make a big swirl-y bow and it stays in place! The real  purpose of the ribbon is to keep the box closed or the package tightly shut. So, if the box has a lid – are you supposed to just tape it or what? Could this be the reason that Tiffany & Co, uses beautiful blue boxes and fabric ribbon? You don’t need to wrap a gift from Tiffany & Co, the box is pretty and the ribbon keeps the lid closed. Whoever came up with that idea was way ahead of their time: elegant, beautiful and no waste!

Saving Time:In cases where the bridal shower is large and the bride is expected to open gifts in front of everyone, the theory is that this will save time  that could be used socializing with her friends. I understand that wedding protocol dictates that the gifts should be opened in front of everyone so the guests can oooh and ahhh over the lovely items. For me, this a tradition that could be broken without  regret. Open your gifts later and spend this time with your friends. I can think of a million ways to save time and this is not one of them and the amount of time it takes to tear into a package is the least of my concerns.

Maybe everyone should just walk into the shower and hand you a wad of cash (no card or envelope so we don’t waste paper) in front of everyone and annouce the dollar amount.

If I was invited to an “unwrapped shower”, I would bring my gift in a decorative box sealed shut somehow and attempt to understand the motive behind it and hope I could keep my opinion to myself  and not offend anyone.  But, of all the ideas I have heard in a long time, an “un-wrapped shower” is just about the worst.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago