Planning your dream wedding in the middle of a global crisis has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. You may be thinking… oh geez it’s only a bridal shower get a grip. And I know that from the outside looking in that it may seem trivial, but it ran deeper than that. I could handle the venue change and the ordering of a new cake, but some of the most important people in my life could not be there. The celebration of a lifetime was missed by some of the people that I love more than life itself.
Spoiler alert, it’s impossible to plan for the unexpected… tell that to a planner (that’s me)! When you are planning for a big event or special occasion it’s always good to have a plan B or even a plan C in my case. While planning my bridal shower, I never in my wildest dreams thought that we would be in the middle of a pandemic. From a canceled venue to a canceled cake to a canceled photographer… the list goes on and on, but I’ll stop there. I had to constantly replan or rethink how I was going to navigate every curveball that was thrown at me. If I said it was easy then I would be lying. It was upsetting, it was emotional and at times I wanted to completely cancel the whole event.
If you are a bride and you are planning your wedding during COVID, I strongly believe we need to form a bride support group (I’m 100% serious). Until then, here are a few things I learned in planning my bridal shower, from every little detail to managing the disappointment of friends and family who could not attend my bridal shower.
Let’s start with the fun stuff first…
I will blame the pandemic for Dolly Parton’s lack of response to attend my bridal shower… but fingers crossed for the wedding ceremony and reception! When you are planning your bridal shower, start with the invitation. This will help to guide the rest of your planning. The colors that you choose and the style of the invitation will help you when you meet with your florist, choose your linens, select your cake and other details on your special day.
Whether you are doing all of the planning or your bridal party is planning the day, it’s important to include a few details that will help your guests. You should always include the RSVP deadline with a contact name and phone number. This is important so you can have an estimated headcount if you are having the event catered. Typically you will need to provide a headcount to the venue and caterer at least one week ahead of time. I set my rsvp deadline one month out so I could order custom gifts from Etsy. On the invitation also include where you are registered, and consider adding a map for out of town guests, especially if the venue is not easy to get to using google maps.
Details, details, details. This is my favorite part of the event planning process. I love creating special focal points for my guests to stop and enjoy. For a bridal shower, I think it’s important to have photos of you and your fiance throughout the event. This is a great time to show off all of your engagement photos and include your groom at the bridal shower.
Dedicate a space at your venue where everyone will take group photos, I love the new balloon garland and balloon wall trends happening right now. I took full advantage of the beautiful fireplaces inside the Kyle House and created a great spot for my guests to have their pictures taken.
Directional signage is a must. Welcome your guests the moment they walk through the door, help them to know where to place your gifts and cards and where to pick up their favors when they are ready to leave.
During the pandemic, it was important that I help guests feel comfortable by offering a hand sanitizing station with face masks, a touchless thermometer, and hand sanitizer. Spacing out the tables and chairs along with creating sectioned areas for activities helped to give everyone comfortable seating and plenty of space to enjoy the day.
One of my favorite details of the party was my flower bar. If you’ve followed along for very long, you know by now that flowers are a part of my everyday life. They bring so much joy and life into each day. So when I was planning my bridal shower, I knew that flowers had to be the focal point and they needed to be incorporated into an activity for guests. I recreated a flower market and created an experience for guests to make “take-home” bouquets to enjoy at home. This activity was done at the end of the shower and it was a way to say thank you to everyone who could attend.
Don’t forget the music! I love live music and that was also an important detail that I wanted to include at the bridal shower. Connecting with a local vocalist is a great way to create a memorable event. If this isn’t in your budget, consider putting together a playlist on Spotify or whatever streaming service you use, but just remember to bring your speakers!
To limit the chances of contaminating food with a buffet, I decided to offer personalized selections that ranged from traditional continental breakfast foods to a “to-go” charcuterie board. The original plan was to include a large grazing board (they are so on-trend right now) but I felt like this would be a health and safety concern during the event. The miniature breakfast items were a big hit and they were so delicious!
Inspiration for this cake came from Pinterest. I knew the style of cake I wanted to have, the flavor and approximately how many people it needed to feed. If you have a cake stand that you want to use, make sure and provide the dimensions to your baker so they create the right size cake based on the stand and number of guests you are expecting. This could be the difference between a one tiered or two tiered cake.
If you are planning to include floral, like I did on my cake, you will need to let your florist know ahead of time and also coordinate this with your baker. The flowers in the photos above were placed on the cake only a hour before the event so they were fresh and not wilting. If the flowers are still on their stems you will need to pack a extra pair of sheers to trim each flower before placing them on top of the cake.
And finally here is my unsolicited advice when it comes to managing wedding planning during uncertain times.
- This too shall pass. I am reminding myself daily (sometimes by the hour) that these times are temporary and they will pass.
- If you are driving – pull over. Once I came to a place of acceptance I was very emotional and I needed to cry (like ugly cry). Unfortunately, I was driving when this moment hit, so I pulled over. There I was on the side of the road, the morning of my bridal shower, and all I could do was ugly cry. But that’s ok. I allowed myself to be accepting of this moment and I accepted that the day was here and it was going to be different than what I panned. I accepted it for what it was and somehow I found some comfort in that moment of acceptance.
- Laugh, smile, and enjoy the moment you were gifted. I quickly realized that although the day was difficult, it was also a day I was gifted. I was surrounded by people who love me and care about me. And the ones who couldn’t be there were in my heart and they were there in spirit. We were able to video portions of the shower and create a short film to share with family members who could not attend. This was a special way to include everyone.