Hosting a bridal shower at a restaurant can be a great option for your event. You don't have to worry about cooking, cleaning or staffing up. But not all venues are created equal, and a lot of the important choices depend on the type of bride and guests you have coming. To help ease your woes, we've rounded up our most commonly asked questions and best tips for throwing a shower at a restaurant.
photo courtesy of Leuca at The William Vale
1.Location, Location, Location. When choosing a venue, it's important to be mindful of where the venue is in relation to your shower VIPs (e.g. Bride, Mother, Mother-in-laws). Make sure you are picking a spot that's convenient for them, or the majority of your guests.
2. Let There Be Light. Bridal showers are typically held during the day, so find a restaurant that has great natural lighting and take advantage of that time of day. Alternatively, picking a space that has light/bright colors that are uplifting will also do the trick.
3. Private vs. Semi-Private If you have a particularly boisterous group, opt for the private option so you don't disturb other patrons. If your shower is pretty casual and you don't plan to have a sit-down occasion, go with the semi-private option so you can enjoy the atmosphere of the restaurant.
4. Let Them Eat Cake: It's common to BYODessert, but not all restaurants allow for that, so make sure you check with the venue before-hand. PRO TIP: Some restaurants will charge a "cutting" fee if you bring in your own cake, so if you're trying to cut corners (pun intended) with the spending, go for cupcakes instead.
5. Your Fooducation: On to the most important part: the food! Your menu should take into account whether or not your shower is seated or standing, formal or non-formal. If you are serving passed hors d'oeuvres or offering a station of light bites, you want to make sure you're choosing foods that are easy to pick up and eat, like tea sandwiches, crostinis, deviled eggs, mini quiches, and fruit. If you're having a sit-down meal but still want an informal feel, opt for light, family-style dishes like salads, chicken, or salmon. Or, if you're looking for something more formal, have a pre-set, multi-course menu. .
6. Let's Get Personal. Restaurants are generally very accommodating and want to make your shower special, so they'll happily work with you to customize the event, such as creating a signature drink or adding the bride's name to the menu. If you're laid-back (or just really busy), the restaurant may agree to take care of additional décor and flowers for an extra fee. If you're a style stickler, bring in the flowers and décor yourself, or work very closely with the restaurant to make sure they match the aesthetic you are looking for. Favors are another great way to bring in the bride's vibe: personalized soaps, matchboxes, cookies, or any other sweet treat the bride-to-be loves will all be winners.
7. Musical Chairs. Assigned seating or free-for-all? This depends on the group attending the shower. If you have a lot of people who don't know each other, I'm a fan of assigned seating because it allows you to seat people together who might hit it off or connect on something outside of the bride. Also, it saves time, and eliminates potential awkwardness of people trying to figure out where to sit. If it's a super-tight group where everyone knows each other, let people choose where they want to go.
8. Secretary of Gifts. Put an organized friend or family member in charge of keeping track of gifts as they're opened so the bride-to-be can mention the item in a thank-you note later. It's also perfectly acceptable to not open gifts at a shower, some people don't love being the center of attention, and guests should respect that.
9. Mo Credit Cards, Mo Problems.When it's time to pay the bill, have the payment ready to go. Whoever is hosting the shower generally pays for it, whether it's the bridesmaids or family members. While it's totally okay to split the cost among multiple hosts, that should be sorted out before the shower and should not come up in front of guests.
10. Here are some of our favorites spots in NYC for Bridal Showers By Bride Type:
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