Throwing a Bridal Shower for the 21st Century Bride

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Let’s face it: getting married today is not like is was 50 years ago – heck, 30 years ago if we’re being realistic – and 10, if we’re completely honest :)  Brides and weddings today are no longer the cookie cutter ceremonies of our grandparent’s era – no sir!  In fact, they are very far from it.

Recently, I had the extreme fortune of being a part of such a discussion with my grandma, good ‘ole Dottie :)  Now, you see, Dottie, is from a very, very old school of thought.  Turning 87 this year, her and my grandfather have been married for 64 years!  And that, my friends, is nothing to shake a stick at!

Anyhoot, in lieu of my baby brother getting married this weekend, there has been nothing but wedding around the family water coolers, and as Jamie – the future bride-to-be – was discussing some of the final details of seating chart drama, Gramma Dottie couldn’t help but let out a large, low, long winded whistle, commenting, “Man, this sure ain’t like it used to be.  We served cold cuts at our reception, and there wasn’t all this fiddle about who could sit with whom or who was or wasn’t speaking to, for or against the other… eesh.”  Another long whistle and she was gone.  Haha!

This got me thinking about how much really has changed and how dissimilar things really are… how dynamic and different each couple’s situation is.  Today’s bride, not only comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes and styles, but she also comes from a completely different background, school of thought and altogether situation in general.  Couples today aren’t just marrying each other, pending their age, race and religion match.  No way.  No how.  More and more couples today – in fact – are marrying who they want, how they want and when they want.

Sometimes, (Gramma, close your ears) sometimes, couples even choose to not get married at all!  Sometimes, they just live together with no deadline or direction on making it official  And when (or if) they do choose to make it official, for some, it might not be the first time they did.  For some, it might be the second or third  or fourth time around!  I think you get my point…

Marriages today are extremely unique – each providing a different situation to the next, and one area I’ve really seen this being broadcasted is in the wedding showers!  Recently, I’ve attended several of these “unique circumstances” showers, and it was very interesting the take some took.  Whether it was the couple’s second marriage or they’d already been living together or because they were getting married later in life and already had everything they needed, each shower was structured in the same uinique way as the couple, and it was very fun to be a part of!  Below are some examples:

  1. Let’s Hear it for a Holiday Theme.  I went to one shower that was holiday themed.  The couple had been living together for several years and had pretty much already established all the typical shower stuff  (ie. plates, appliances, kitchen utensils, towels, etc.).  So, they thought it would be fun to have a shower where each guest bring some sort of holiday decor — be it for Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day etc.  That way, when they were decorating for all the most festive times of the year, they’d have all the ones they loved with them as well :)
  2. Looking to Build on Love.  For another shower, the bride and groom had both previously been married with children but had been living separately.  After months of searching, they finally found a home that would accomodate both families post nuptials – an old, super duper, fixer upper.  While neither one was keen on having a shower – as they both still had gifts from the first time around – their families insisted.  Hence, the Live off Lowe’s gift card shower was born!  Rather than going out and spending money on new place settings, the couple received money to go towards fixing up their new home.  Absolutely loved this!
  3. Not Big Enough for a Shower, just a Little Sprinkle instead.  (This is mayhaps my favorite!)  In this case, neither the bride or groom had been married before, but they were both in their forties, well established in their careers and home appliances.  Therefore, the couple’s friends chose to give them both a “Sprinkle” where they rented out a room at their favorite restaurant – the one where they went on their first date – and had guests bring well wishes, favorite stories or marital advice for the soon to be newlyweds.  It was sosososooo cute, and the couple really loved it!
  4. Wine  for the Win!  Okay, this was my favorite :)  Haha!  In this case, the futire Mr. and Mrs. were huge wine connoisseurs and collectors.  So, rather than have a typical shower, they threw a party for friends and family and simply asked that each bring their favorite bottle of wine to help fill their cellar with love, support and above all, the deliciousness of fermented grapes :)

So, you see, no matter what the situation, just find the one that’s right for you, and if it hasn’t already been invented, be the trailblazer and make a new one!  Who knows, you might just end up being a trendsetter too :)

 

Bridal Shower Alternative: Give the Couple a Proper Toasting

courtesy of I Love To Laugh! via facebook.com

Recently, a friend of mine (holler for a dollar, Candice!) had her “bridal shower” here in town, and I couldn’t help but get a kick out of the theme.  Thrown by her mom and aunt, they decided to do a “Wine & Whiskey: Stock the Bar” themed celebration, and I gotta admit… I thoroughly enjoyed it :)

Instead of bringing your typical BB&B / Target / Crate & Barrel / fill-in-the-blank-of-your-fave-registry gift, friends and family were requested to bring their favorite bottle of booze (be it beer, wine or otherwise) and / or their favorite barware accessory to stock the couple’s latest home remodel: their new bar!  Now, before anyone starts calling the authorities for potential abuse, I think it’s important for me to state their case :)

Candice is everything but traditional.  Since moving to Chicago six years ago with her long term beau, they’ve really already built a life together.  Candice is the kind of girl, if she wants a gravy boat – for whatever reason one would want a gravy boat – she’ll buy it.  If she wants to drop everything and take a trip to the Canary Islands next week??  Well then, by golly, she’ll book her plane ticket that day at lunch.

She really is one of a kind, and after already living together for such a significant time anyway, they really did have mostly everything they needed to make their house a home, which generally includes all the appliances, dishware, kitchen accessories, towels etc. that would normally be put on a registry.  Therefore, her mom came up with the brilliant bar themed idea to complement their newest renovation, as well as their love for entertaining!

I mean, how can you not love that??  After attending such a celebration and seeing all the fun, it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the fabulousness of such an event… but what’s even more amazing is the practicality of it all too!  Candice and Jared (or her gentleman caller, as C refers to him, haha!) love to entertain!  With the majority of both their families living in Indiana and them posting up shop in the Windy City, they highly encourage their “open door” policy and vow to never turn away a wearisome traveler or friend from their welcoming embrace.  Hence, the theme becomes even more amazing!

Heck, even for the less open / more closed door couples, I still stand by this being a good idea!  While I may have hung up my party hat after an incredible four year stint at IU, there are still the throw back occasions that cause for toasting.  And while I’m country born and bred and will always have a taste for brew-ha-ha, it’d be nice to be able to offer something for the classier pallets that come my way when need be… especially without spending half the grocery budget to do so!  Haha, booze is expensive!

In the end, it’s OBVS up to every individual couple on what will work best for them, but this was one I knew I had to share!

Cheers to C and Jared and many. MANY years of happy toasts!

C+J (courtesy of Candice)

‘Sprinkle’ Your Bride with Love: Bridal Shower Alternatives

courtesy of news.asiantown.net

This day in age, there are all types of brides, and often times, many of those brides are second chance brides.  No matter what pomp or circumstance lead to it, there are several reasons why a first marriage maybe didn’t work out as planned, but more importantly than the reason why it didn’t is the fact that that these ladies continue to find enough faith to give it another try.  It’s these brides that I especially love… the ones who never stop believing in ‘happily ever after.’

Recently, a family friend (holler Jennifer!) got married to the man of her dreams, and even though it was her second husband, it was his first for everything; so, the sisters of said dream man wanted to spare no expense.  The dream man and Jennifer, however, had other plans in mind.  Being that they were both older and already living together AND that she already had the big, whoo-whoo celebration before, neither one felt the need to have all the hoopla a wedding can often bring.

One of the first “hoopla” items to go was the shower.  Because they already had several of your typical shower gift items under lock ‘n’ key, they didn’t find it necessary to register for a whole bunch of things they already had.  Plus, they were both already well established and struggled to combine what was already there in the first place…  But the sisters persisted and decided that if a shower was out of the question, then they wanted to throw a ‘Sprinkle’ for Jennifer instead. 

First of all, the name alone… Addddooorrrraaabbbllle… But the idea behind it???  Even cuter!  Instead of having Jennifer register at a bunch of places for gifts they didn’t need, they simply took her out to dinner at her favorite spot and showered her with well wishes, advice and sentimental gifts.  Ummm, helllooo?  Love!

And you wouldn’t even have to go out to dinner necessarily either.  You could even plan a luncheon or girls night in.  Really, the choice would be up to you!

It’s also a great idea for the non-traditional bride… or even the non-traditional groom to use.  Because Sprinkles are intended to be less formal, many couples may choose to make it a couple’s event.  This way, there’s no obligation for guests to get traditional gifts, but rather, still spend an afternoon or evening celebrating your love!  It would also work famously for older brides and grooms already living with each other, who don’t feel the need to register for new China or spatulas or couples looking to downsize what they already have.   The possibilities are literally limitless!