Monday, February 28, 2011

Bridal Shower - Personalize It!

It can be both easy and hard to throw a bridal shower for someone, depending on how close your relationship is with them. Most of the time such showers aren't very specifically personalized - meaning the themes of the household or traits of the bride-to-be's personality are not included. I see a lot generic bridal shower decor in the party aisles at stores and it can be hard to be very imaginative and creative for the bride. However, I do think that giving the general shower a theme can make the whole event all the more fun and a bit more special and memorable for the bride-to-be.

True confessions: I've only thrown one general bridal shower and it was rather difficult to come up with a theme at first. The husband-to-be was a chess player (very into the game) and the bride-to-be really enjoyed gaming herself and took pride in her future husband's accomplishments. How to incorporate this into the event!? Well, I decided to go the chess route because I could easily put together black & white decor. Also, I wanted to encourage the bride in her encouragement and support of her intended. In a way, personalizing the shower affirms the couple, their mutual interests and hopeful endeavors. Anything that says, "I support your relationship" is a good deal in my book!

I'm sharing these photos not to say, "If you are a throwing a chess themed party, do this" because I rather think that this particular theme is not going to be voted most popular. The entire point of this post is not "How to Make a Chess Cake" but rather to encourage any shower throwers to really make the most of the decorations and accents to compliment the relationship of their future married couple. Affirm them. Bless them. Shower them with every ounce of creativity you can drum up! That's your job. How you pull it off is your decision. I'm only here to encourage you to try to do those things.

Here are some pictures from the chess-themed wedding shower:

1. For the front table I had found some candy containers at IKEA for $4 each. I bought some heart shaped scoops ($2), filled the jars with nuts and candy ($10?) and then found some bride and groom favor boxes at our local Dollar Store ($2 total). The jars have been a good investment - both for storing food in the pantry and for pulling out during other parties and gatherings to share snacks in. Plus, scooping out treats is fun for the guests!

Center pieces were tricky. I had some glass votives on hand already that I filled with chess pieces (already owned) and then I put a candle on the top of the game pieces. I placed the votives on tables with black table cloths and called it good.

3. I tried to stick to black and white foods for the most part, with hints of red. We had strawberries with chocolate cream cheese dip, crackers with brie and jam, yummy muffins and a chess cake. (This was served on white plates that I already owned.)

4. The cake was definitely the highlight of the food table and took me the longest time to figure out how to make! I had to borrow a friend's large cake pan and then made two cakes which had to be placed side by side (and iced over) to create the chess board. Ghirardelli chocolate squares (turned upside down) were called in to make the checkered board and real chess pieces were used on the top! Lastly, I found a ribbon at the local craft store which I used to wrap the sides of the cake with to make it appear a little more interesting and decorative.

This shower did take a lot of thought, work and effort. Throwing ANY kind of bridal shower can be loads of hard work. I do realize this. Adding special touches will undoubtedly increase the workload. But the pay off? The smiles? The words of thanks, letting you know that you did indeed bless? That generally pays you back ten fold. For me, throwing a personalized shower falls under the verse of doing to others what you have them do unto you. When you go through significant life changes that you are excited about, you are hopeful that people will acknowledge those changes and celebrate thoroughly with you! So when you are thinking of and planning for a bridal shower, consider the excitement of the bride-to-be. Do what you can with what you have and make the day as special for the couple (even if the groom is not present!) as you can. It's worth it.


  1. Yes, I definitely would agree with this. Looks like you did a great job with the chess theme. One personalization idea that I wouldn't suggest, though, is using the colors or themes from the wedding plans for the shower. The bride's already got her ideas about how that will look.

  2. Personalized definitely makes it more special and well remembered. Your cake was very clever!

  3. Katie - definitely a good thing to note about using the bride's colors. Thanks for mentioning that!

  4. Love the jars and many uses!

    A shower with a theme is perfect! So much more fun to plan, too I think! :) It is so neat to plan or attend a shower that is personalized! Some things will remain constant, but the little details matter so much!

  5. you are so cool! What a neat personalization!


  6. Ah! Another thing I'm adding to my Ikea list! Thanks for sharing these shower ideas!

  7. I love using themes in showers, parties, luncheons. This is a great one -- love that cake.

  8. Carrie,

    Great job on the cake!

    I love the personal ideas, and I like themes, too!