For some brides, a relaxed, laid-back bridal shower is ideal. Because, of course, not every bride is going to enjoy the super fancy, linen napkin bridal shower. And if you’ve ever seen a bride forced into having a bridal shower that is way more than she wanted, you know what we’re talking about. It’s painful for her and disappointing the maid-of-honor who put all the effort into making things look magazine-perfect.
So, if you have a bride who has a more relaxed style, this guide is going to help you create a wonderful laid-back bridal shower. She’ll be over the moon, the guests will be comfortable, and you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the event.
The Master Plan
Much of the planning is going to be on your own, but you’ll want to ask the bride for two key things.
The first is the guest list. If she wants a laid-back shower, chances are, she’s going to have a small and intimate guest list. But it’s still important for you to know how many people she wants to invite so you can get an appropriate venue.
The second thing you want to ask her is whether she really wants a laid-back shower. Sometimes, brides are shy and will just say that they want something easy to take pressure off of their friends and family. If you think this might be the case, remind her that she absolutely deserves the fancy bridal shower if that’s what she really wants, and that her loved ones are there to make it happen. At that point, she’s either going to say, You’re right, I always dreamed of a traditional bridal shower or she’ll say, No, don’t be ridiculous, I want something casual. With that go-ahead, you can move forward with the planning.
The Guest List
Once you have the guest list, you want to send out the invitations as soon as possible. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can either send a physical invitation in the mail, or send an evite online.
Don’t get so caught up in which method is more aligned with the laid-back theme. You can create a fun, easy-going invitation in both physical and digital form, so it’s more important that you think about which will be the faster and more reliable option. If the guests are mostly older folks, for instance, a mailed letter might be the way to go. If your bride is more environmentally-conscious, on the other hand, an electronic invitation is perfect.
No matter which invitation you choose, make sure to state clearly that this is a casual event. You might even add a fun dress code that aligns with the bride’s personality. If she’s really into concerts and festivals, for instance, have everyone wear a band t-shirt. This will keep things fun without getting too formal.
That said, there are a couple of things that you don’t want to be too relaxed about in the invitation. For one, you want people to RSVP. Don’t give the impression that just because the theme is laid-back, that they can decide on the day of the event whether they want to come or not. If you don’t get RSVPs from guests, send a reminder.
You also want people to show up on time, especially if you have activities planned and food laid out, so have a clear start time.
Finally, you want people to bring a gift, unless the bride has specifically said that she doesn’t want any. Generally, people don’t need to be reminded of this, but sometimes the casual theme throws people off. If your bride has a registry, make sure the link is on the invitation.
Because the theme is laid-back, you want to think about a venue where the bride will be most comfortable. Does she like spending a day at the lake or beach? Does she love hiking in the nearby nature reserve? Or is she more of an at-home cuddle on the couch kind of person?
Here are a few places that you might consider based on the bride’s hobbies and personality:
- A backyard/garden
- An outdoor pool
- Her favorite restaurant or cafe
- A nearby park
- One of the bridesmaids’ homes or a family member’s home (it’s best not to host at the bride’s home because that might be stressful for her)
Outdoor spaces are great because they make people feel happy and calm. Of course, indoor venues can be wonderful too, and there’s less of a risk of weather challenges. If you’ll be holding the shower inside, the key is to choose a place that is small enough to create a cozy, intimate atmosphere without feeling cramped.
Choosing food for a laid-back bridal shower is one of the trickier things to plan. You don’t want to put a couple of sausages on a plate with some toothpicks and call it a day. You also don’t want food that is going to make people have to sit down with a fork and knife.
Here are a few alternatives that are sure to be crowd-pleasers:
- Waffle bar. Everyone will have fun putting their favorite toppings on their waffles, and it can still give you a fancy-ish brunch feel.
- Fresh fruit and salad. There’s nothing classier as a platter of fresh fruit and a simple summer salad. Not to mention, it’s so easy to pull off, you’ll still achieve the laid-back vibe.
- Mini sliders. These can be fancied up or dressed down depending on your taste.
- This is another option that is on the fence between casual eating and all-out upscale. You can fancy it up with expensive cheese and a glass of wine.
Maybe your bride doesn’t want any activities at all, and that’s okay. Especially for smaller groups, chatting, eating, drinking, and opening wedding presents is enough to keep everyone happy and engaged.
If you do want some activities, make sure that they are relaxed. A few good ones might include allowing guests to write down words of advice, recipes, or date ideas that the bride can look through.