Are you a maid of honor? Mother of the bride? Hands-on bridesmaid? Here are some practical tips that will help you plan a beach-themed bridal shower. (Take it from me as a professional bridesmaid who has helped curate numerous bridal showers!)
When I was getting married, I told my mother exactly what I wanted.
I had envisioned a casual, beach-themed bridal shower in June, somewhere by the water, complete with deliciously healthy food, gluten-free desserts, no opening of gifts, free-flowing wine and lots of conversation. (Spoiler alert: she did in fact call me bossy).
First things first. As with any event, you have nothing until you have the venue.
We scouted around, negotiated and settled on Jack Baker’s Lobster Shanty in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. We wanted a healthy buffet with fresh seafood options, clam chowder (side note: we opted for a buffet to allow for more casual interaction where people can move from table to table) as well as gluten-free options for me, as the bride.
Next was sending out invitations. I had my mother use our Greenvelope account that we used for our ENTIRE wedding. Given we were planning a destination wedding in Italy and a subsequent New York City celebration a month later, we decided to go completely electronic. It was one of the best moves we made. It streamlined responses, allowed us to see who read it, who didn’t and we had the ability to send reminders to those who didn’t respond.
We designed a fun, tropical, beachy invitation with lots of bright colors. We were also able to mention all of the details of the shower including no gifts to the venue, wishing well instructions and so on, which saved us a lot of time fielding questions from quests on the back end.
Instead of a traditional cake that we would’ve had to fuss over making it gluten-free, I wanted a CHEESE cake (meaning cheese made to look like a cake). My mother called the famous Murray’s Cheese in New York City to buy the best wheels of cheese that were stackable and cost effective.
She chose three different types of cheese that she stacked herself and then topped with beautiful berries around the cheese wheels. For something a bit sweeter, we served chocolate-covered strawberries, Trader Joe’s mini gluten-free cupcakes and an ice cream bar with traditional toppings. We liked the idea of small portions with something for everybody.
As for games, the only one I wanted was an interactive version of the Newlywed Game known as Know Your Boo (a reference to an episode of the TV show Parks and Recreation). My sister and mother came up with a set of questions that Phil (my now husband) had to answer ahead of time.
For the lightning round, Phil came into the shower and we were asked the same questions, this time having to write down the answers to test our compatibility. (The only one we didn’t get right was “Who’s the little spoon?” It’s clearly Phil, but he said me to save face, so we got that one wrong).
I also suggest whether you’re a drinker or not, to have some beer and wine options, along with juices, sparkling water, coffee and tea.
One other fun optional item is to have a wishing well. I very specifically wanted a lingerie wishing well. I knew the idea of that would send some of my older relatives into a tizzy, so on the invitation we suggested underwear, pajamas, robes, etc. (Don’t worry, I got a few raunchy items, too!)
If you wanted to keep to the beach theme for the wishing well, you could do something like a beach accessory wishing well and ask for cover ups, bathing suits, hats, sunglasses, beach bags, etc. Just remember to remind guests of the bride’s sizing so they know what to get her (also can be done on Greenvelope in a reminder email before the event).
The final touch for a good beach-themed bridal shower is a favor. My bridesmaid Katy crafted homemade blue sea glass candy made with organic ingredients and tied them into a small bag with a blue ribbon. It was an elegant, simple way to say thank you to all of those who attended that tied into our beach themed bridal shower.
Here’s the OBB Beach-Themed Bridal Party Checklist:
Venue: Try casual chic by the water or beach in warmer months. No need to overspend on the place, there will be enough money spent throughout the wedding process. Find somewhere solid where there is good communication between you and the venue.
Dessert: Cake, cupcakes, doughnuts? Take into account food sensitivities and bride’s preferences.
Beach-themed favors: Doesn’t need to be overdone, but something simple to say goodbye. Ask a crafty bridesmaid to help out here.
Photo booth props and polaroid cameras: Check out Target for bridal and bachelorette favors.
Guest Book: You can buy a ready-made one or get a custom made one with the theme from Etsy. You can post the photo booth polaroids in there and have guests sign their name.
Wishing Well: Decide on a theme and have one bridesmaid craft the wishing well that can then be repurposed for the bride at home.
Have any great suggestions? Have you thrown a great themed bridal shower? Please share all of your comments below!