Thursday, May 23, 2013

Planning A Shower

I've planned a few showers in my day. It's in my DNA. I remember accompanying my mom on trips up and down Whittier Blvd., hitting multiple party supply stores in a day*. In fact, mom was the one who got me to host my first shower. My high school best friend got pregnant our Junior year. We had known each other since 6th grade and spent vast amounts of time with each other's families, so when I told mom, I was a little nervous she might be upset. No. She just asked "Are you going to throw her a shower?". We did. We had it in our living room and mom made "Shower Punch" (that 7-up, Hawaiian punch mixture with giant globs of rainbow sherbert that I have renamed "Diabetic Coma Punch") and a bunch of teenage girls awkwardly played classic shower games that they'd seen their mothers play a million times before.

Photo Credit: PaperLovePaint

My shower planning skills have be honed since that first fateful party, and I'm here to give a few pointers on how to throw one for those without the know-how that comes from shopping on Whittier Blvd. in your childhood.

Step 1: Pick A Theme (But Don't Kill Yourself Over It)- I like to have a general feel for the party, but if something isn't quite in keeping, it's ok. Last week, my BFF's bridal shower theme was vaguely "BFF likes Paper & Buttons". The party wasn't all "In Your Face Themed" but keeping that thought in the back of my head gave the party a cohesive feel. Most of the decorations were paper-based and buttons showed up on the invites and in the decor as well. We even had a scrapbooking station. (You'll see this whole party blogged soon.)

Step 2: Get Help (You'll Need It)- You're throwing a party for someone who is either getting married or having a baby. You're inviting people, so my guess is lots of people love this lady (or gent). If you're close to the Honoree's family or friends, see who might want to chip in. The key is to assign specific tasks & make sure everything is cohesive (hence, Step 1). For last week's shower, I worked with FIVE other awesome women  to pull it together. Talking to the Honoree's other close friends & family also might give you a perfect location to host if you're in a bind. Big houses, apartment complex common rooms, country club houses, local parks with rentable rooms- lots of options open up when you ask around.

Step 3: Communication is Key- Last week, we used a few handy online tools to make sure we stayed on the same page: Pinterest and Facebook. Once I had the names/contact info for the cohosts (bridesmaids), I formed a private Facebook group and they all joined. We talked there about thoughts & themes. Doing it there meant everyone could read the whole conversation in order, rather than a million mass emails. I also made a pinterest board for the shower and started dumping inspiration in there. You can even have multiple contributors to a board, so other bridesmaids could add to it as well. Since we all knew the color palette. and theme, everything looked great together even though decor came from 4 different people!

Step 4: FOOOOOOD- Everyone knows the key to a great party is food. Seriously- your house can look like a page out of Martha Stewart Weddings, but if the food sucks everyone will be disappointed. I like mid-afternoon showers that focus on drinks & finger foods. It's a lot easier to make tea sandwiches and fruit spears look cute than hamburgers and chips! Make sure there's a good variety and plenty of it. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING is worse than running out of food at a party.

Step 5: Activities- I say "activities" instead of games because the traditional party games are becoming less popular as we make way for alternatives. Baby showers often have onesie decorating or headband making stations. I already mentioned our scrapbooking station for the bridal shower. These things take up time, still feel fresh and give the Honoree something to take home with them. Still, traditional games can be fun if you stick to just one or two.

Step 6: Let People Know- An invitation gives your guests the first glimpse into what the party will be like, so put some thought into it. Pull images from your decorations and use them in your invites. Below is a baby shower invite I made using russian doll images. Those same dolls were used on the name tags and cupcake toppers at the event itself, which really everything together. Be sure to give an RSVP date! I like to include both my phone number and an email address for people who don't know me and don't feel like calling a stranger.

Personal Photo
Step 7: Get Ready Early- I LOOOOVE house parties because you can set up a day or two in advance. This makes everything SO much easier.

Step 8: Give up- What? Hear me out. The night before the shower, ain't nothing left you can do but get a good night's sleep. Don't stay up all night making a million more decorations. Don't worry about what's going to happen. If you have food & a place to sit, you'll be fine. Really.

Step 9: Have fun! Be sure to enjoy the day. Talk to people. Eat. It's not the end of the world if everything doesn't go exactly the way you wanted it to. Believe me, people don't know.

* Total truth: Mom planned a lot of bachelorette type "showers". Bridal parties that were during the day, but very penis-themed. I would often have to stand OUTSIDE the store she was shopping at and was not allowed to open the bags she brought out with her. I might be making this up, but I swear I remember filling condoms with whipped cream with her and my grandmother when I was, like, 7.

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