How to host a frugal bridal shower

A Fun, Yet Frugal Bridal Shower

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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Wedding Shower Ideas

Planning Party Platters

Frugal Bridal Shower Ideas?

I need some ideas for a bridal shower I'm hosting. Don't have a lot of money, so I need some tips on how to make a frugal bridal shower lots of fun for everyone. Any ideas?

Frugal Shower Games

At my own bridal shower and at showers I've attended, we had some fun games that were virtually free or simply the cost of paper. One game played at my bridal shower (prizes were homemade scented hangers) was a game of figuring out which shower guest (excluding relatives) had known me, the bride, the longest. Other shower games I've seen that were inexpensive include:

  1. Make as many words (general words, wedding or kitchen related, etc.) as you can out of the Bride's-or Bride & Groom's-names in a set time. The guest with the most words wins a small prize.
  2. Cut out ads from magazines and newspapers of common household products & cover over the label. (A variation of this was simply giving the logo of the product/company & having the guests guess at it.) Have the guests pass these around for a set amount of time. The person who has guessed the most correctly wins a small prize.
  3. Don't get overwhelmed with the planning. See Party Planning Without Panic

  4. If children are to be included (it's also fun, if a bit silly- for adults), try having a few small prizes wrapped up and distribute balloons with pieces of paper inside that have silly messages and the word "winner" for however many prizes you wish to give away (a variation of this is simply putting blank slips of paper & timing the game to see who can collect the most). Here's the catch: The balloons can only be popped by the act of sitting on them. It makes for a lot of fun for the children and adults both. (It's harder to pop a balloon with your rear than you might think!)

Michelle W. in Paducah, Kentucky

Frugal 'Thank You' Game

Purchase a package or two (depending on amount of guests) of Thank You notes and then you take the envelopes and have the guests address one as they arrive.

You get a pretty basket or bowl and add the completed ones to it. Throughout the shower you can have drawings for "little" doorprizes. It serves 3 purposes. First, it's an easy, unstressful and unintimidating game. Also, it's a gift for the bride (or new mother) and you can even add stamps if you want. Finally, the bride will be very appreciative with all the things going on that she has a pre-addressed Thank you card to send every guest that came to her shower. And that little bit of non-stress is a gift in itself.

Decorate the Bride Game

Here's a great (cheap) and fun wedding shower game. It's called Toilet Paper Bride. Divide the guests (except the bride) into groups of 4 or 5. Give each group a four-pack of cheap toilet paper (I bought mine at Sam's). Then instruct the groups to choose one member to be the bride. The rest of the group should fashion a wedding dress out of the toilet paper. You can give them hints to be creative, make a veil, or just let them go on their own. Send each group to a separate area of the house so they can't see what the other groups are doing. This was easily the most popular game at a shower I gave.
Sheila F.

A Matter of Time

It depends on the bride's age and her interests but I have a couple ideas for a frugal bridal shower. If the couple is just starting out, you can have each person invited bring a gift for a specific time of day. For example, if you get 7am, this might suggest a basket of coffees and mugs with a newspaper tucked in. Or if you received 8pm, maybe movie videos, laundry supplies, etc.
Alicia S. in Essex Fells, NJ

How much food will you need? See Planning Party Platters

Holiday Themed Bridal Shower

I attended a shower which had the "holidays" as the theme. Each of us was assigned a holiday and asked to bring something for the bride/groom/home that pertained to that holiday. I had the 4th of July. The couple automatically had decorations for every holiday.

Hide the Pantry Game

I also have a wedding shower in my future. A good theme would be "fill the pantry." Ask guests to bring 1 item of canned food. Then for a great game, you can have a little quiz for the bride to be about her hubby to be (get the answers from him beforehand). Things like birthday, favorite whatevers, clothes size, etc. For every question she gets wrong, you tear the lable off a can. It is fun to see how much the bride knows (or doesn't know). It also provides food for the couple and interesting meals for those between paychecks time.

Recipe for a Happy Marriage

One way to lower costs for a bridal shower is to invite the guests to bring a favorite dish complete with recipe for the bride to sample and include in her recipe box. Of course, all the guests get to sample it. You end up with a pot luck. To make it extra special have the guests include some "spice" on the recipe card with ingredients for a happy marriage.

Don't Go It Alone

Get friends involved and don't go it alone. Hold the shower in a home of a friend or family member of the bride that can accomodate a crowd, or have it at a church with room for a party. Get friends involved for decorations. Think of a color (maybe the bridesmaids' dresses), and have friends bring items from their homes that would go with the theme, such as flowers, greenery, plates, cups, etc. For food, keep it simple. An ice cream sundae bar would be inexpensive, or brunch with quiches, muffins, etc. For drinks, coffee, tea, and citrus water would be inexpensive, too.

In Black and White...

We hosted a bridal shower and used cupcakes for centerpieces, dessert, and party favors. The colors of the wedding were black and white. Half of the cupcakes had black icing with white candies for decoration. The other half were iced in white with black candies. Each table had a cupcake stand (actually a black and white plate set on a black and white cup turned upside down) with enough cupcakes for everyone at the table. At the end of the shower, we put the extra cupcakes in clear goody bags tied with black and white ribbon for the guests to take home as favors.
Kathy in Harrisburg, PA

Shop party supplies and decorations at The Oriental Trading Company!

Ethnic Recipe Shower

A recipe shower is a great way to help both you and the bride-to-be. It works like this. Everyone brings either a spice, special cooking pan/dish, or a kitchen appliance. Each attendee brings a dish made with their gift to show off, along with the recipe for the dish. Each attendee gets to discuss the preparation of the dish. You can even choose a theme. If the bride is marrying into an Italian family, it can be Italian dishes that are highlighted. Decorate accordingly. I had this done for me many years ago when I married my German hubby. It was so helpful to know how to cook apple kugle and red kraut and to have all of the spices, etc.
Van in AL

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