From invites to the event planner and food: How to plan the perfect bridal shower for your best friend
When our best friends announce their wedding date our minds often go straight to the bridal shower and how to make it an amazing day in line with what your friend loves. In my case, my best friend left no clues about her likes and dislikes other than liking pastels. So a couple of friends and I decided it’s the perfect season and time to throw a bachelorette for someone who least expects it.
What no one ever warned me about was the time and effort it takes to collect all your ideas, put together an invite list, consider everybody’s opinion, budget and then decide where and how the event will take place. We often undermine the nitty gritty of what goes into basic event planning. So despite being a complete noob at planning events, I took the liberty of throwing a bridal shower (with the help of others because there’s no harm in asking for it).
With bridal showers, there is often a clear divide on whether you’re on the 'going all out' side or the 'staying within your limited budget' side. With a hike in prices almost everywhere, expect to hear a large sum when contacting your sources for the event. At least I did and there was no one to tell that it is pretty normal.
There's a lot that goes into the celebration, from finalising a theme, venue, guest list, event planner, caterer, games, time, speech, music, photographer and so on. While it seems easy to attend, it definitely isn’t easy to organise — I'm speaking from experience here!
Here’s a guide on how to plan the perfect bridal shower from someone who went from knowing nothing to knowing it all.
Start off with a confirmed guest list
The first thing to tick off on your to-do list is confirming the guest list. Budgeting is the next crucial step and all of it depends on friends of the bride-to-be as well as a mutual agreement on how much everyone will pay. When planning an event, one thing that needs to be clear is that each person has to contribute.
The event traditionally is hosted by close friends of the bride and that’s why you need to get confirmation from the guests. There is no such thing as leaving something to chance when everything needs to be communicated clearly.
Budgeting comes next. What you must do is get an approximate from shortlisted event planners, caterers, décor planners etc in order to finalise the cost and make sure everyone is willing to pay. Budgeting beforehand helps you decide whether you need to look for more options or finalise your chosen vendors.
Canva and Pinterest are your best friends
In order to nail it, you need to visualise everything for the other person to understand what you want. In my case, I took help from Pinterest, which by now I’m sure you know is the platform from where everyone gets their inspiration.
Your second in command is Canva, an application that allows you to throw all the pictures in a mix for your event planner to see what you're thinking. Often when we call someone and share ideas we take 20 different photos and send them at the same time. This causes unnecessary confusion for the day that you hope will be perfect.
I saved photos from Pinterest with the keywords ‘bridal shower’, ‘pastel’ and 'aesthetic'. This will result in Pinterest curating your feed to show trending photos on these keywords. After saving photos, head to Canva and look for templates that you would like to use for your mood board.
You can also look for your chosen theme which could be Arabian night, winter wonderland, floral and whimsical or pastels. This way the theme and concept is clearer for you as well as the vendors.
Design a mood board for clarity
Now what is a mood board? Typically, it's a board where you glue or pin all inspirations from the arrangement to food and clothes. Since everything is now digital, we no longer require cuttings from different magazines and make our boards online.
After saving photos, look for the ‘mood board’ template and select the one that you like. For example, I made two — one with what I know my friend would like and the other considering other opinions and suggestions that was sent to the event planner for them to understand our theme.
This way you save time and confusion on both ends by creating a picture for the person organising the event.
This will help you decide what looks best, the colour palette, décor, dresses, activities etc. For the event we picked pastels and florals for our theme as my friend has a soft spot for both.
Event planner to the rescue
The main thing is shortlisting the event planner who brings your vision to life. Prices vary per season so that's one thing to bear in mind if you're planning it anytime between December to February — it's going to be expensive.
There are a lot of options available online out of which we shortlisted You Dream It Events. The bohemian floor seating arrangement with pastel hues was exactly what we were looking for and it was in our budget. However, if you feel like spending more, there's Alle Events, Milki Does Scapes, and Drum Roll Events who do great work.
You can also be crafty and DIY it, considering floor seating is easy to arrange. Karachi's Paper Market is filled with everything that you need for a bash and there are many vendors who can get you what you want within budget. Ali Akbar decorations and Buundle are great options at Paper Market.
What to eat
There are various cuisines out there but what most people opt for is hi-tea. In my case, as the event is being held in December, hi-tea is one thing I couldn’t arrange — the night falls early and event needs to be scheduled earlier than usual to accommodate tea. So my friends and I are opting for a dinner menu.
After approaching multiple caterers there were a few options I found that worked. If you’re looking for continental, Chatterbox is a great option. In case if you do go for hi-tea or snacks then Easy by Fatsos is another option. Lastly, if you throw a bash like me and want to offer dinner, you can also contact Bonsai Pan Asian for oriental food. Each restaurant's per head rates are Rs1,500+ depending on the menu you select for the day or night.
Desserts are a girl's best friend
A bridal shower or bachelorette calls for a celebratory cake that wows everyone. These cakes often come with a hefty price tag and if you're willing to splurge, there's the option of a three-tier cake. But if you are on a budget you can still get a decent cake without the guilt trip about how much you spent. Cake ateliers can easily be found all over Karachi but the ones that do cater to our needs are very few.
Kakes by Karimi is one bakery that nails the perfect bridal shower cake. If you're willing to spend a little more, The Sweetest Affair may be the bakery for you.
Along with cakes, you can opt for cake pops, cookies or even doughnuts. It all depends on what and how you would like to do things and what the guests will eat.
Games for the gamers
A party is nothing without games, right? Now if you really want to go all out with the activities there are pretty funky ones that you can find on Pinterest. However, if you wish to stay on the safer side or want a mix of games, multiple pages as well as vendors have started making custom card game templates such as Fiya Designs and Party Accessories. You can also design your own on Canva.
Vendors at Paper Market as well as online pages have bridal shower games and décor pieces. We got few card game template sets from Fiya Designs and customised it with facts about my friend's life. Each set contains five cards — four game cards and a title — and cost Rs 250. You'll purchase one set per guest.
When it comes to what to wear, it's all about your personal choice. You could go the glamorous route with dresses and skirts or get customised T-shirts for the bridal shower. You could also just wear whatever you want.
If you're planning a bridal shower, I hope this list helped! Everyone deserves to be celebrated, especially our best friends who are starting a new journey in their lives, and need the support and love of their nearest and dearest.