One of the many duties of friendship is hosting or attending showers in celebration of life’s important milestones, like getting married or having a baby. For weddings, showers can be one of the most fun events of the engagement-period festivities. And after the bride gets married, wedding bells will likely turn into baby bottles, and more showers will come down the pike. Showers are an amazing tradition to help a young bride build her household, or to give a young couple the tools to start a family.
But you would be hard pressed to find a woman in her 20s or 30s who hasn’t helped plan one of these events for a close friend or family member. But when you have student loans, or even your own brood to take care of, a shower could be a challenge to finance, not to mention finding the time to iron out all the details. While we understand that you are absolutely delighted to take on this responsibility for your dear friend, here are a few ways to throw a great party, and save a little time and money.
Divide and Conquer – The easiest way to take on the time and monetary commitment of hosting a shower is to join up with another gal or two to to tackle the planning responsibilities. For example, one could send out the invitations, another could plan the menu, and then one could work on favors and decorations. Of course, communicating the ideas among the group is part of the fun. Not only does it save everyone time, but it helps cut down on money spent Keeping track of the costs in a Google Doc Spreadsheet and dividing it at the end is a great way to make sure no one gets stuck with the bulk of the expenses.
Potluck Menu – While you might be the one hosting the party, it’s likely that there are plenty of other people who want to contribute. If you haven’t fielded any offers yet, then approach Mrs. So-and-So and compliment the amazing chicken salad she made for Mary’s shower, and ask if she’d mind bringing it for this one. Not only will she be flattered, but you will have one item marked off the checklist. If you have a few people contribute to the menu in a little mini potluck, then you will take advantage of your friends’ fantastic recipes, get more people involved in the planning, and save a little bit of time and money along the way.
DIY Invitations – If you’re not up for using Evite or Paperless Post to electronically distribute the shower invitations, there are still ways to send out something adorable to guests, without spending a ton of cash. Start by picking a design that you like, have them printed, then soup them up on your own. Add ribbon or lace to the trim, or use fun scissors to doll up the edges. Just a little elbow grease will produce something completely scrapbook worthy. (Read more about DIY Shower Invites here.)
Homemade Flower Arrangements – Flowers make the most pleasant decorations, and they don’t have to cost a lot of money. Start by hitting up the local grocery and picking up 2-3 pre-made bouquets. Then, take 5-6 small vases or jars and tie ribbons around the tops. After that, trim the flowers until the blossoms are 3-4 inches from the rim. Next thing you know, you have beautiful centerpieces that will charm the group—and probably cost less than $5 each. #Winning.
Favors – The question of what to provide for favors always is one of the most annoying decisions of shower planning. But it doesn’t have to be. Even something as simple as a chocolate bar could be turned into a charming little gift for the guests by adding a ribbon and a custom label (try the Wrapped Hershey’s labels, starting at $0.99 each). Or try buying a bunch of nail polishes on sale or with an Ulta coupon, then decorate them with ribbon and a label, like the “It’s a Girl” polishes shown below. Adorable. Still need help? Try doubling desserts as favors, like a cute bridal or mommy cookie.
And the most important thing to remember when planning a shower is to relax, enjoy the ride and try to have a little bit of fun along the way.