Everyone is watching pennies even as weddings become more extravagant. Many families and bridesmaids are already eyeing their budgets when making decisions on showers and gifts. Here are a few shower ideas that are meaningful to the bride without straining the pursestrings.
First, if the guest list is small enough and the weather is good, consider having the shower at someone's home. A patio or backyard can be beautifully decorated inexpensively with flowers on sale at the garden center or cut from relatives' gardens. Ask friends if you can borrow large market umbrellas to shade tables or lawn chairs. For larger groups, look into church meeting halls or park pavilions.
Wrapping trees, umbrella poles or plants with inexpensive miniature white lights and/or tulle adds elegance to the setting with very little cost. The lights are readily available and on sale around Christmas, for winter weddings or next year.
T-L Photo/GLYNIS VALENTI
A recipe shower gets guests involved and shares family traditions. Having guests make their dishes for the potluck cuts down on food costs, and some guests may elect to give the serving dish to the bride as a present. Pictured here, from left, are items from Cannonsburg Pottery, Fostoria Glass and Imperial Glass.
Traditionally, brides register for cookware, china, glassware and other kitchen items, but to keep shower costs low and give the bride something unique, consider hosting a recipe shower. Send out recipe cards with the shower invitations, and ask guests to return the card before the shower to put into a family recipe book for the bride. Guests then make the recipe dish for a shower potluck of favorite foods. Use small pots of fresh herbs or kitchen utensils as prizes and copies of family photos for centerpieces.
The foods can also be served in dishes from the bride's china or everyday patterns, or guests can "gift"special serving pieces of their own for the bride to keep. This is also a nice way to pass down family china to the next generation. If food is served in the gift pieces, make sure that there is a sink to wash the dishes after the shower, keeping in mind that many vintage and antique dishes are not dishwasher safe.
For shower favors, make copies of the recipe cards for all of the guests and put them in small, inexpensive photo books.
Crafty brides might enjoy an afternoon of scrapbooking with friends and family. Mothers and grandmothers can bring mementos from the bride and groom's childhoods. Friends come with photos or scrapbook materials in the bride's wedding colors. Ask guests to share a photo of the bride and groom together and have each create a page for a special bride's book.
If the bride likes wine, host a wine tasting party and ask guests to bring nice bottles for the couple's wine cellar as gifts. Serve a selection of cheeses from around the world with a variety of breads, fruits and chocolates. Pick up inexpensive wine glasses on sale, at dollar stores or at thrift stores along with a mix of individual wine glass charms. Guests can use the glasses and charms for the party and take them home as favors. Hand out corkscrews, bottles of wine or chocolates for game prizes. Be sure to have coffee, sparkling cider and other non-alcoholic beverages on hand for drivers and non-drinkers.
Let the bride's interests be the guide for shower themes. Involving friends and family in the planning can open up avenues that will save money and make the day memorable.