The Non-Traditional Bridal Shower

The Non-Traditional Bridal Shower

Not the dreaded bridal shower! If your friends’ eyes are already glazing over at the thought of sustaining a smile while you unwrap present after present–tell them it’s another occasion entirely. This isn’t your grandmother’s bridal shower, and there will be no knitting circles (unless they’re of the hip, artistic sort).

Your shower is a chance to gather your best friends and have fun; a possibly tamer bachelorette party, if you will. So break out the cocktails, order some pizza, and get ready to have an afternoon (or evening) that everyone will enjoy.

Break from tradition right away when planning the guest list. Who says bridal showers are girls-only? Invite couples and friends of all genders, for a party that will be much more festive and inclusive. 

Setting the Scene

Get everyone excited about your party by playing lively music the minute they walk through the door. Since many people have preconceived notions about what a “bridal shower” is, you want to let them know immediately that this will be a much more festive occasion.

Decorate with plenty of colorful balloons or other bold touches. Even more traditional guests will pick up on your cues and enjoy themselves once they see your party atmosphere. Consider holding a costume party to get people feeling their most playful.

Still not sure all of your guests will enjoy themselves? Consider breaking the party into separate rooms: one for eating, one for dancing, one for mellow conversation, and even an area to display the gifts. That way, people can gravitate towards the activities they feel most comfortable with. As the hostess, be sure you mingle among all the rooms equally. 


While you’re welcome to center your shower around a gourmet meal, it’s much less stress to serve your guests something easier. Order pizza or fire up the barbecue grill for an informal feast everyone is sure to love. You can also skip the heavy meal and go straight to cookies and cake. Buy them or bake them; the scent of cookies in the oven puts everyone in a happier mood as soon as they arrive. 


Are you inviting a lot of friends who don’t know each other? Having planned activities is a good way to break the ice. Consider holding your shower at a paint-your-own-pottery or make-your-own-teddy-bear studio so everyone gets a fun memento to take home. Spas are also fantastic places to take a group of friends so everyone leaves relaxed and looking their best.

Food is another great way to involve your guests. Have a cookie-decorating party with tea time, or a roll-your-own-sushi party with sake bombs.

Your guests all have one important thing in common: you! Let them discover common ground (and get a lot of laughs yourself) as people go around and tell a story of how they met you, or something funny that happened with you. 

Play “Un-Strip Poker.” Go to a thrift store and collect a large pile of silly clothing and accessories like bridesmaids’ dresses, veils, top hats, bow ties, tiaras, scarves, glasses, clown noses, Halloween costumes, and even bras and underwear. Whenever someone loses, they have to put an article of clothing on … and pose for a picture. 

You can hire entertainment to come to your house and set the theme for the party. A psychic could read cards about your guests’ love lives. A bellydancer could arrive to give beginners’ dancing lessons. A caricature artist could give people fun sketches to take home. Do some research: whatever activity you enjoy, there is probably an entertainer who specializes in it.

When was the last time you broke a piñata? Hide all the breakable lamps and give your guests a blast from the past. You don’t have to give yourself a candy stomachache, either; fill the piñata with fun adult treats like gourmet snacks, nail polish, and make-up. For a racier crowd, fill it with novelty adult items.


It’s a fact of life: No one actually wants to sit in front of you while you unwrap gifts. Rather than test your friends’ devotion to you (and their ability to smile politely), save the unwrapping for a more interested audience: your husband-to-be. Not only will he get more excited about gifts that have been given to you as a couple, but you can also feel free to laugh in private when you unwrap the third waffle iron in a row.  

Your bridal shower is a time to connect with your friends and share your excitement about your wedding. However you plan your shower, they will be happy to feel included in your celebration.

Remember, the most important thing is not the activities, but the quality time you spend with each guest, so let them know how appreciated they are, and they will leave satisfied.