I was recently asked an amazing question that always plagues friends and families of an out-of-town bride: “How do you throw a wedding shower for an out-of-town bride?” This question is loaded with all sorts of potential conundrums.
1-Showers are for gifts, but if she lives out of town how do we get the gifts to her?
2-If people bring gifts to the shower, does the hostess need to pay for the shipping of the gifts?
3-Is it wrong to ask people to just mail gifts to her? How awkward.
1-3 are so hard that it seems impossible to have a shower for the out-of-town bride. However, if no shower is given, it might seem like we don’t care.
All very valid concerns. When I did a quick Google search for showers for out-of-town brides, there isn’t much information at all. Well, here is what I have to say…
The best answer for this situation is to rethink and redefine what we believe to be a wedding shower. Traditionally and most commonly, showers are designed to “shower the bride with gifts and love”. In the case of an out-of-town bride, I suggest we focus on showering her with love rather than gifts. What better excuse is there for a party than to shower a friend with love and celebrate the fact they found love?! Do we want to give her gifts?! Heck YES! So, let’s rethink that for a minute.
I would suggest that you invite the guests to contribute, in any denomination, to a group gift that can be mailed directly to her home. They key words here are “any denomination”. Please don’t send a note saying if they wish to participate in the bridal shower they should consider writing a check for $30. It is already borderline to suggest bringing a gift let alone dictating how much they must spend. If the guest reaches back to you and asks for a “guideline” then feel free to offer a guideline but make it clear that you are happy to accept whatever they are comfortable with.
Scripting this request correctly is paramount to ensuring everyone is comfortable. Examples would be:
“Jamie and Eric are making their home in San Clemente, but we want to shower her with love in New York. Since traveling with gifts is difficult and shipping gifts can be expensive, we invite you to contribute towards a group gift that will be shipped directly from the store to her home.”
Then there is the “no gift shower” option. This is where you can encourage guests to ship presents to the bride directly but not bring them to the party. A sample script example would be:
“Jamie and Eric are making their home in San Clemente, and we want to make sure she feels the love in New York. This party is about celebrating her love and joy, your presence is all that is requested. As shipping gifts from the party to her home can be costly, please feel free to not bring a gift or to purchase a gift off their registry that can be shipped directly to her home. Regardless, we would love to have you help us shower Jamie in love.”
If you would still like to give the bride a “physical” gift, enclose a little card or slip of paper in the invitation and ask guests to send in notes of encouragement; their favorite bible verse; or advice for a great marriage. Collect these and place them in a small scrapbook for the bride that she can keep with her on the trip home. Now that you have the gift situation covered, let’s talk concepts. Here are some fun ideas for bridal get-togethers and celebrations:
Champagne and chocolate party
Wine tasting and cheese party
Private cooking lessons
Mixology party with a mixologist
A couple's shower with competitive games such as badminton, volleyball, horseshoes and/or any other type of sporting game.
Bottom line, it is important to not be intimidated or constrained by old traditions. Your friend or family member found love, this should be celebrated with gifts or no gifts. Besides, imagine going to a shower and not having to sit for an hour watching her open gift after gift (sounds awesome to me)!! Instead, just enjoy the company, laugh and celebrate people.
Have fun and let me know how it goes!