Bridal shower ideas

Planning a bridal shower for your sister, best friend, cousin, or another special person in your life? Then you need a creative bridal shower theme! Some brides are all about wedding flowers and lace while others just want something unique.

  1. Brunch and Bubbly

 

What’s classier than champagne? Hosting a “Brunch and Bubbly” theme for your bride allows for lots of blush pink, gold, and cream. Fresh flowers, white or cream tableware, and cloth napkins are all a must when decorating for brunch. If you’re really ambitious, you can have brunch at someone’s house. If you’d rather have someone else handle the details, hiring a Caterer is always a great option!

 

  1. Mad Hatter Tea Party

 

A Mad Hatter Tea Party bridal shower theme is perfect! You can get creative with decor and refreshments, too. Use mismatched teacups, plates, tablecloths, and napkins to add to the eclectic feel of the party space. For refreshments, tea of course! And other miniature desserts like petit fours, macaroons, or cupcakes are perfect for a tea party. Adding “Eat Me” placards or even putting the words on cakes or cookies is a great way to incorporate Wonderland into the party. You can serve other drinks like lemonade or wine spritzers, but don’t forget the “Drink Me” tags!

 

  1. Wine time

 

Wine is a girl’s best friend sometimes. And why not use this as inspiration for a bridal shower theme? Your bride will no doubt welcome the chance to sip some wine, open presents, and just enjoy some time away from the planning process. White wines pair well with white meat or light foods like quiche. Red wines complement richer flavors like red meat and roasted vegetables. So sit back, sip, and enjoy the party with your bride!

 

  1. Kick back and relax

 

Planning a Wedding is stressful. Being “on” all the time can take a toll. Laidback bridal shower themes are definitely the best choice for the stressed out bride-to-be. Set up a buffet bar, add some crisps and homemade salsa or guacamole for tasty appetisers. Let bride to be kick back with her favourite food…and a cold margarita for some laughs with friends and family!

 

Food for thought

Thinking about ideas on what wedding food to serve at your wedding when you’ve on a tight budget is sometimes difficult. We’ve got 10 top tips to help you serve great wedding food ideas on a budget!

Too many cooks?

Although you are catering for the whole wedding party, when choosing your menu, don’t offer too many options. Offering a multitude of choices for the wedding breakfast doesn’t enhance your guests’ experience, or make anything taste better. More choice only means more expense.

Cooking on gas

Some of the most beautiful wedding venues are outdoors – be it a marquee or a hog roast festival – but these celebrations do not have on-site kitchens or furniture. You will be required to pay extra to supply these facilities, so make sure you include this in your budget.

Smooth operator

The key to a successful wedding reception is timing and service. Making people wait for food and drinks is not a great idea. Pay for extra serving staff to ensure a smoothly-run reception and you will notice the investment – and your guests will love you for it!

Trade your toasting tipple

Champagne is everyone’s top tipple for parties, but it can be a little on the expensive side. However, there are some great sparkling wines available, which are just as good but cost less. To impress your guests on half the budget, add a little elderflower cordial and a hibiscus flower to Cava, to create the perfect festive fizzy cocktail. Not only does this add a light, sweet, floral taste to the drink, it makes the Cava go that little bit further – good news all round!

Bacon buffet

If you plan to party in the early hours of the morning, don’t serve an evening buffet – you are essentially paying for two full meals that many people won’t even touch. Why not serve bacon sandwiches or posh kebabs a la Lily Allen? This will give the illusion of an evening meal and your guests will be thankful for the traditionally British fuel injection before the trip home.

A cheesy ending?

Cheese cakes are a great alternative to traditional tiers. You can ask your caterers to cut and serve the savoury slices with fruit and biscuits as the dessert after your meal. Alternatively, cupcakes are a cheaper option than a tiered cake and work well as both a dessert and a favour.

Raise the bar

The drinks reception tab can easily set couples back a few thousand pounds, so limiting what is served can be a great way to reduce costs. Ask your bar to carry beer and wine, or alternatively, have a cash-only bar that your guests will have to pay for. If you have provided them with a lovely meal accompanied with great wedding entertainment, guests won’t mind forking out for a few drinks towards the end of the evening.

Caffeine fix

Coffee and mints are an essential part of any party and the perfect way to round off your meal. Why not add flavoured syrups and amaretto biscuits to freshly ground coffee, to give your guests a delicious caffeine fix? They’ll be guaranteed to keep dancing late into the evening after one of these!

Spend to save

Cutting corners doesn’t always mean cutting costs. If you cut out canapés, you will end up with hungry guests at the beginning of the day. Why not spend more on canapés but less on the evening buffet? Many people over spend on the evening wedding food when most guests are still full from the wedding breakfast, which is a waste of both money and food! Lighter evening snacks will go down just as well with your guests, and save you money, too.

Hire a venue in East London

It’s Cheaper

Ask anybody who knows anything about London and they’ll be able to tell you that the East End is the cheapest area of London. That’s not to say it doesn’t have nice venues – there are numerous ones in Hackney and Shoreditch – but it’s simply that most city types tend to head north, south or west in search of their perfect wedding venue. Who knows why this might be, but if you search around the East End a little bit, you can get the best venue for your money!

 

It’s Cooler

Everybody knows that the East End is where it’s at when it comes to cool places and cool things to do. Shoreditch is renowned for being extremely arty and appealing to a younger crowd with amazing food and a great vibe. Throw in the up and coming areas like Dalston and Clapton and the completely regenerated Stratford, which underwent a massive facelift for the London Olympics in 2012, and you’ve got yourself a whole host of venues and cool locales to choose from in which to exchange vows.

 

The Culture

No matter what anyone says about East London, you can never accuse it of not having a clear sense of culture. The thing about East Londoners is that they always have a story and if there’s a problem, you’re in the best place to solve it. Thanks to the unique makeup of areas like Whitechapel, Aldgate East, Bethnal Green and Mile End, you’ll have absolutely no problem sourcing that one material or stray ribbon that you require for either dressing your wedding venue or doing your hair! East London is full to the brim with kind souls selling a little bit of everything and just like point one states, you won’t be bankrupted in the process!

 

Suppliers Love It

From wedding caterers to wedding entertainment, everybody loves working in the industry but there are times that things can feel very similar from one day to the next. Not so in East London! By arranging your wedding in a slightly different way and holding it in a slightly different area to the norm, you can rest assured that all of the suppliers involved will feel rejuvenated and keen to tackle a different project to what they are used to. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve been on ‘auto-pilot’ but it stands to reason that the suppliers will go the extra mile for you on your wedding day by incorporating a sense of fun into the proceedings.

 

The Partying Never Stops

Arguably this might be more for your friends and family than yourself but if they’re a fun-loving bunch then they’ll probably want to continue singing and dancing long after you’re gone. The best bit about East London is that it caters to younger people and even has a 24 hour bagel shop. What more could you want?

 

If you’re a fan of the capital or yourself and your partner were both born in London then it makes sense to want to get married here.

 

Embrace a 20’s Wedding theme

The Roaring 20s are a big one. This decade is full of Big Band Jazz, Art Deco visuals, and intricately adorned ensembles. Here are some ideas for your 1920’s Wedding theme:

  • For a 1920s theme, a classic palette of black, white and gold is easy to achieve and truly timeless and elegant. For the bride, we love the look of a trumpet-style gown.

  • Bridesmaids can be styled in simple LBDs with the addition of headpieces or fascinators, and the groomsmen will look dashing in classic black tuxedos.

  • Champagne towers are making a comeback, especially in Roaring 20s-inspired celebrations. We adore the look of sophisticated black and white striped linens.

  • For brides preferring something a little more colourful, jewel tones are the way to go! Think of the rich shades of a peacock feather for inspiration.

  • ​With vintage ​wedding cars you can show up in style and use this classic as a prop in your wedding photos.

  • ​For wedding entertainment, try a unique performer like a Charlie Chaplin impersonator. With a comedic 20s era presence, Charlie can make your guests feel like they’ve travelled to a time of satire and silent films.

  • ​For your wedding photos, ask your wedding photographer about vintage overlay options for development. Your big day will be captured with a nostalgic 1920s look.

We wish you a happy marriage and roaring celebration!

Casual dining experience

Informal wedding dining options such as buffets, bowl food and rustic platters are shaping up to be hot this year. These all give guests the freedom to move around and enjoy proceedings, making for a more relaxed atmosphere. Remember, the key is to include a good mix of meat, fish and vegetarian options to accommodate all guests.

Offering canapés as a starter or dessert adds a fresh twist and provides a good talking point for guests. Think miniature steak and chips with a warm horseradish cream – lovely!

Another huge trend this year will be reinventing classic dishes. Pay homage to your childhood favourites, with a twist. Think pie and mash, mini sirloin hamburgers, bangers and mash, or fish and chips all made from local produce. We particularly love the fish and chip option. If it’s not formal enough for the day time, it would definitely work for your evening guests, and it may work out cheaper than a buffet.

When it comes to desserts, the key is to think small! Opt for dessert tables or platters with an array of miniatures. smatterings of your favourites such as cupcakes, mini cheesecakes, dainty trifles, chocolate brownies or crumble will allow guests to tuck in. And with light portions they won’t be left feeling lethargic, meaning they can dance the night away!

One particularly lovely trend ‘bring a cake’ dessert table. Brides are asking friends and family to bring their favourite homemade desserts – cakes, flans and more. It’s a cost-effective way to add a personal touch, guaranteed to get everyone talking.

For a novel menu idea, why not serve an actual ‘wedding breakfast’ a la Carrie and Big in Sex and the City? A beautifully served full English with locally sourced produce, fresh orange juice or fruit to start and pancakes or waffles for dessert.

Wedding costs

If you have decided to get Married, have you really sat down and thought about costs? Whether money is no object or if you are on a budget you may want to consider some costs.

Here we break down what each part of the Wedding costs and hopefully keep you on track to what needs to be spent on your big day.

As a guide, here are the average amounts that Brides readers spend. (Of course, it’s up to you where you decide to save or splurge!)

  • Wedding venue: £2,223

  • Reception venue: £4,189

  • Catering: £3,063

  • Photography/video: £1,399

  • Flowers: £560

  • Wedding Cake: £296

  • Entertainment: £682

  • Dress: £1,340

  • Shoes: £107

  • Stationery: £240

  • Headdress/veil: £108

  • Attendants’ outfits: £465

  • Mother-of-the-bride outfit: £337

  • Groom’s outfit: £313

  • Beauty: £220

  • Engagement Ring: £2,451

  • Wedding rings: £647

  • Other wedding jewellery: £191

  • Honeymoon: £3,931

  • Wedding Gift List: £1,954

  • Total: £24,716

If this seems rather expensive to you, there are many ways in which you can cut back and have the Wedding of your dreams. You can have your dream ceremony and then cut the costs by going to a pub and having a buffet. If the pub has a big garden (weather permitting)  can have a band in the garden and dance the night away. This option would be cheaper than a reception venue.

When buying your wedding dress, could it be borrowed, or bought second hand?

Could your make your own invitations?

There’s a lot you can cut back on which won’t break the bank.

Planning a bridal shower

Planning a bridal shower for your sister, bestfriend, cousin, or another special person in your life? Then you need a creative bridal shower theme! Some brides are all about flowers and lace while others just want something unique.

1. Brunch and Bubbly

Traditional brides may appreciate bridal shower themes that are a little more sophisticated or classy. And what’s classier than champagne? Hosting a “Brunch and Bubbly” theme for your bride allows for lots of blush pink, gold, and cream. Fresh flowers, white or cream tableware, and cloth napkins are all a must when decorating for brunch. If you’re really ambitious, you can have brunch at someone’s house. If you’d rather have someone else handle the details, hiring a Caterer is always a great option!

2. Mad Hatter Tea Party

For a whimsical bride, a Mad Hatter Tea Party bridal shower theme is perfect! You can get creative with decor and refreshments, too. Take a page out of Lewis Carroll’s book and use clocks, teapots, book pages, and even playing cards to decorate the space. Use mismatched teacups, plates, tablecloths, and napkins to add to the eclectic feel of the party space. For refreshments, tea of course! And other miniature desserts like petit fours, macaroons, or cupcakes are perfect for a tea party. Adding “Eat Me” placards or even putting the words on cakes or cookies is a great way to incorporate Wonderland into the party. You can serve other drinks like lemonade or wine spritzers, but don’t forget the “Drink Me” tags!

3. Let’s Taco ‘Bout Love

Who doesn’t love tacos? Low-key brides may not want a huge shower that has a lot of fluffy decorations. Wedding planning is stressful. Being “on” all the time can take a toll. Laidback bridal shower themes are definitely the best choice for the stressed out bride-to-be. Give her some time to chill out by throwing a casual fiesta! Decorate with bright colours, sombreros, or other Southwestern- or Mexican-themed decor. Set up a taco buffet bar with different shells, meats, and vegetables. Add some crisps and homemade salsa or guacamole for tasty appetizers. What would a taco party be without margaritas? There are lots of fun recipes out there besides the traditional lime margaritas. Shake it up with strawberry, mango, or even pomegranate flavors! Cucumber margaritas are a growing trend and are super refreshing in the summer months. You can play bartender or set up a couple of blenders for guests to make their own. However you choose to host it, the main idea is to let your bride kick back with her favorite food…and a cold margarita for some laughs with friends and family!

4. Two Less Fish in the Sea

For the girl who loves the sand, sun, and sailing, nautical bridal shower themes are an easy choice! Nautical decor is simple and tasteful, using lots of navy blue, gold, and white. You can also use natural elements like, rope, driftwood, or seashells. For more of a beach vibe, use faded colours like coral, teal, or yellow. Natural elements fit beautifully into this theme, too. Phrases like “Tying the Knot” or “Two Less Fish in the Sea” can be used on your decor to add a little romantic flair to the party. Refreshments are pretty flexible. We suggest white wines, oysters, or other tasty seafood for the classier nautical theme. Fruity cocktails like Pina Coladas or Tequila Sunrises are more beachy. Fresh fruit, and other easy finger foods are fabulous for beach themes, as well. Let your bride be a beach bum for a day and let all her wedding stress fade away!

5. You Had Me at Merlot

Wine: it’s a girl’s best friend sometimes. And why not use this as inspiration for a bridal shower theme? Your bride will no doubt welcome the chance to sip some wine, open presents, and just enjoy some time away from the wedding planning process. For decor, wine glasses, grapes, corks, and empty wine bottles are all perfect for a wine party. Mini bottles of wine are great party favors, or just set out a basket and let guests take their pick. Refreshments should include wine, of course! Offering a few selections of white, blush, and red wines allows your guests choose their favorite or try something new. Gourmet cheeses, crusty breads, crackers, and fruit are all perfect additions to wine. We recommend placing your wine selections with the various foods they complement. White wines pair well with white meat or light foods like quiche. Red wines complement richer flavors like red meat and roasted vegetables. So sit back, sip, and enjoy the party with your bride!

Spare on the expense

Most guests love to see a bit of a handmade touch in weddings, and that’s why there is no surprise about how many people are DIYing their wedding these days…

A survey conducted found that fewer than one fifth of weddings do not feature any do-it-yourself touches, with the vast majority of newlyweds relying on the method to save a bit of money, add that oh-so-special personal touch, and to make sure everything is done the way you want it.

When the newlyweds were asked to reveal which items were made or altered through do-it-yourself means, they found the most common DIY details to be the favours, invitations, and the wedding cake. The more unusual answers included the wedding dress (9%), the music or entertainment (6%), and even conducting the service or ceremony (2%)!

Here are the top 10 DIY details at weddings:

Favours – 41%

Invitations – 38%

Wedding cake – 24%

Venue decorations/styling – 21%

Photography – 19%

Flowers – 18%

Catering – 15%

Order of service prints – 14%

Guest book – 13%

Beverages – 11%

It’s great to see that so many brides and grooms-to-be are drawing on their own talents, and no doubt those around them, to make their big day their own. It is lovely to be able to make your wedding special and unique to you by having real input into it.

DIY is not for everyone, though, and if you’re starting to feel a little overloaded or panicked, you need to make sure you have time to put your feet up too! It’s okay to get some outside help, but be sure you can trust the suppliers and that they can help you make your dreams a reality.

Food on a tight budget

Thinking about ideas on what wedding food to serve when you’ve on a tight budget is sometimes difficult. We’ve got 10 top tips to help you serve great wedding food ideas on a budget!

Too many cooks?

Although you are catering for the wedding party, when choosing your menu, don’t offer too many options. Offering a multitude of choices for the wedding breakfast doesn’t enhance your guests’ experience, or make anything taste better. More choice only means more expense.

Cooking on gas

Some of the most beautiful wedding venues are outdoors – be it a marquee or a hog roast festival – but these celebrations do not have on-site kitchens or furniture. You will be required to pay extra to supply these facilities, so make sure you include this in your budget.

Smooth operator

The key to a successful wedding reception is timing and service. Making people wait for food and drinks is not a great idea. Pay for extra serving staff to ensure a smoothly-run reception and you will notice the investment – and your guests will love you for it!

Trade your toasting tipple

Champagne is everyone’s top tipple for parties, but it can be a little on the expensive side. However, there are some great sparkling wines available, which are just as good but cost less. To impress your guests on half the budget, add a little elderflower cordial and a hibiscus flower to Cava, to create the perfect festive fizzy cocktail. Not only does this add a light, sweet, floral taste to the drink, it makes the Cava go that little bit further – good news all round!

Bacon buffet

If you plan to party in the early hours of the morning, don’t serve an evening buffet – you are essentially paying for two full meals that many people won’t even touch. Why not serve bacon sandwiches or posh kebabs a la Lily Allen? This will give the illusion of an evening meal and your guests will be thankful for the traditionally British fuel injection before the trip home.

A cheesy ending?

Cheese cakes are a great alternative to traditional tiers. You can ask your caterers to cut and serve the savoury slices with fruit and biscuits as the dessert after your meal. Alternatively, cupcakes are a cheaper option than a tiered cake and work well as both a dessert and a favour.

Raise the bar

The drinks reception tab can easily set couples back a few thousand pounds, so limiting what is served can be a great way to reduce costs. Ask your bar to carry beer and wine, or alternatively, have a cash-only bar that your guests will have to pay for. If you have provided them with a lovely meal accompanied with great entertainment, guests won’t mind forking out for a few drinks towards the end of the evening.

Caffeine fix

Coffee and mints are an essential part of any party and the perfect way to round off your meal. Why not add flavoured syrups and amaretto biscuits to freshly ground coffee, to give your guests a delicious caffeine fix? They’ll be guaranteed to keep dancing late into the evening after one of these!

Spend to save

Cutting corners doesn’t always mean cutting costs. If you cut out canapés, you will end up with hungry guests at the beginning of the day. Why not spend more on canapés but less on the evening buffet? Many people over spend on the evening food when most guests are still full from the wedding breakfast, which is a waste of both money and food! Lighter evening snacks will go down just as well with your guests, and save you money, too.

Choosing a wedding menu

As more and more couples become self-confessed foodies, couples are raising the stakes when it comes to choosing their wedding menu. When planning a wedding, whether you desire the ultimate five-course dinner, paired with wines and finished with petit fours and coffee, or you want to embrace global cuisines in a cultural celebration, you’ll find caterers and venues alike offering all of that and more. But, with choice comes a challenge – when you could have almost anything your heart desires included in your wedding menu, how do you choose what makes it onto the plate?

What type of food do you like?

If you find ordering at a restaurant tricky, you’ll find planning your wedding menu even harder. Do you go for something light, something heavier, or something utterly indulgent? Do you go for vegetarian, fish dishes, lots of spice? Do you keep it traditional or go for a full on fusion of flavours?

The easiest way to narrow down your choice of dishes is to start with what you as a couple both love. If one of you isn’t a big fish fan, and there will only be one main course on the menu, your wedding day probably isn’t the day to try to change it – you both need to enjoy your first married meal together!

If you’ve decided to offer several choices for each course in a menu sent out with your invitations, you’ll have a bit more flexibility, so if you and your new husband or wife-to-be don’t have the same tastes, you can still both be happy.

Will your guests like it too?

While we definitely believe that you should put yourselves first on your wedding day, you are going to be spending a lot of money feeding all your guests, too. By choosing dishes that most of them will like, you’ll be spending that money far more wisely and ensure that your guests have as good a time as you do. For this reason, it can be good to avoid some stronger flavours or more fatty dishes.

It’s also worth asking guests to disclose any allergies or dietary requirements beforehand and choosing caterers who can adapt to these – there is nothing worse as a guest than sitting down in eager anticipation of a decadent and delicious three courses only to find that you can’t eat them.

How do you want your wedding breakfast to be served?

Once you’ve narrowed down your flavours and dish choices based on what you love and what will work for your guests, you can fine-tune your wedding menu by throwing the dining experience into the mix!

While the days of an obligatory sit-down banquet have passed, couples who have chosen more traditional and formal weddings often opt for a three or four course meal, while relaxed and outdoor weddings will often embrace picnic, barbecue or buffet-style dining arrangements. Those with a sweeter tooth might like to mix traditional with contemporary trends and opt for an afternoon tea instead!

If your heart is set on a global feast and you don’t want to limit yourselves to a set three courses, why not have multiple food stations? They can serve up everything from popcorn and hot dogs to sushi and curries. They can cater to all tastes and all cultures, guaranteeing that there will be something for everyone.