Whether it’s your first time hosting a shower or your fifteenth it never hurts to get a few new tips from a pro. We spoke with event and wedding planner Elizabeth Lutz of Glass Event Planning to get some of her favorite hosting tips for small gatherings. So whether you’re hosting a shower at an event space or at home, the shower will be full of the thoughtful details that the bride will remember and appreciate for years to come. Here are some of Elizabeth’s best tips:
Include the bride in the conversation. Sure it’s tempting to throw a surprise shower. But it’s much better to include the bride in the rough planning. She can help guide the guest list and let you know where people will be coming from. I’ve had some brides lump their shower and their bachelorette parties together to accommodate out of town guests—saving them time and money.
Set expectations with your guests. If there is some sort of activity that costs extra like a pedicure or horseback riding let guests know ahead of time. Then they can come with cash. Just be clear about what you will be covering. Discussing it all when the bride gets there can get really awkward.
Start with a quick cocktail hour. It allows guests to mingle and get settled. If you’re hosting at your house and don’t have enough seating don’t be afraid to have the meal buffet style. Just serve the food in smaller bite sized portions so it’s easy to stand and snack. Don’t skimp on presentation though. Beautiful cake stands or tiered dessert trays work for more than just sweets.
Don’t overcomplicate the menu or the decor. If you’re hosting at home do a split between homemade dishes and store bought/ catered. Keep some of the bride’s favorite dishes in mind or any traditional family dishes. Don’t take the whole thing on yourself. Always think about possible food allergies and always have non-alcoholic drinks on hand too. For décor, have one showstopper. I love to do ice cubes with herbs or edible flowers inside. They’d look lovely in a large glass drink dispenser.
Honor family memories or traditions. Take the bride for a walk down memory lane and opt for a few activities that spur a memory. Collect the bows and ribbons from the gifts to make a bouquet for the rehearsal or play a game the bride’s mother played at her shower. Marriage is all about expanding your family so it’s always nice to honor that.
Create a fun keepsake. Have each guest bring his or her favorite recipe. It’s nice to provide a theme like easy weeknight dinners or desserts. Collect them all and present them to the bride at the end of the shower in a beautiful recipe box.