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How to Throw a Drama-Free Bridal Shower

Being chosen as a bridesmaid is a real honor, but the pressure to throw your newly-hitched BFF, sister, cousin or special person in your life a memorable bridal shower can be the source of a lot of stress. Between dealing with the various personalities amongst the bridal party, planning logistics and trying to make everything perfect for the bride-to-be, it can be very overwhelming. To help you throw a drama-free and FUN shower, we've gathered some dos and don't from wedding experts that will have you planning a shower so awesome that you might land yourself a new career!

Bridal Shower Planning Dos

Discuss a budget and timeline. At the very beginning of the planning process, it's vital to discuss a budget and a timeline with everyone involved. When everything is agreed upon beforehand, it will avoid unnecessary awkwardness and potential embarrassment down the line for some friends who might be on a tighter budget.

Be mindful of the kind of bride for whom the shower is being thrown. Some people might be more particular about themes, locations and whether or not they want to open presents in front of their guests, says Nikki Haritatos, designer and event planner for Serendipity Garden Estate.

"Unless the bride you're coordinating for loves surprises and is up for anything, run your ideas by her and get her thumb's up before proceeding," advises Haritatos.

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Also consider her celebration style: A more adventurous bride might love an activity that gets the blood pumping like kayaking or a BBQ on the beach, while a more low-key or traditional bride might just want family and friends to hang out and sip sangria. But don't have too many activities, stresses Haritatos. "You don't want the party to feel rushed or have the guests feel like they need to keep to a fast-paced schedule."

Choose a venue that has some "built-in"activities. "Pick a venue such as a paint-your-own pottery place, an art gallery, or a bakery that offers baking or cake decorating classes for private parties," suggests Haritatos. "It saves you some time from brainstorming activities yourself!

Aviva Samuels, a Florida wedding designer and destination-wedding planner of Kiss the Planner, proposes letting the environment dictate the theme. "You can choose the great outdoors, such as a beach BBQ volleyball party or a casual Sunday brunch with a waffle station and Bloody Mary bar in the comfort of your living room," she says.

Make gift-giving easy for guests. "Make the gift giving process easy for your guests by sharing the couple's registry," advises Jessica Chao, Marketing Manager at Bloominous, a start-up that provides easy and affordable DIY floral kits for weddings and events. This will eliminate any potential tension that might result from people not knowing what to get, or two people purchasing the same gift.

Brides: Send thank you notes! Katherine Ford of Paisley Events reminds us of this often forgotten etiquette: "Send thank you notes to all shower guests, especially your host or hostess! Don't forget to write thank you notes to guests who couldn't attend but sent a gift."

Bridal Shower Planning Don'ts

Brides: Don't host your own shower! A bride should never host her own shower, according to Chao. "You have enough to worry about, so enjoy and let your BFFs do the work," she says. Instead, delegate tasks to your bridesmaids and family members who agree to help out to allow for "minimal stress and maximum efficiency" -- exactly what you need during this hectic time.

Ford adds that brides shouldn't try to convince anyone to host their shower, simply because it's rude to ask for such a potentially expensive and time-consuming favor. "Just trust that someone will host it for you and relax!" encourages Ford.

Don't invite guests who aren't invited to the wedding. While Chao recognizes that this may seem obvious, she warns that it "often happens when the bride isn't planning!"

Don't take on major home improvement projects if you're hosting at your house Sharon Kent, a homemaker from Fairfield County, Connecticut recounts a girlfriend's almost-horror story: "My friend hosted her daughter's bridal shower. A month before it, she decided to expand her home's deck and have the party out there. However, the deck wasn't even close to being finished a week before the shower! The possibility of the deck not being done in time added to the stress of hosting a bridal shower for over forty women!"

Don't rule out having a co-ed shower. "Today it's perfectly acceptable to invite couples or single guys to a bridal shower too," says Samuels. If you're at all concerned with the drama that sometimes seems to fester in some female-only groups, consider inviting significant others to keep things light.

Bridal Shower Planning Resources

There are countless websites devoted to everything bridal shower related, but The Knot is a crowd favorite.

Another resource is this link on Bridal Guide's website which focuses on activities and décor that were done by real people -- so they're actually doable, unlike some Pinterest posts that seem just too good to be true.

In addition, there are several apps you can download to help certain components of the shower. Some of our favorites include Food52, a3.99 app which provides video cooking tutorials for hundreds of recipes plus "extensive event planning guidance;" a free app called Hello Vino, as well as Pro Party Planner, which allows you to do everything from delegate tasks to guests, create seating charts and even turn on notifications that alert party-planners of upcoming to-dos for about5.

Also see: bridal gowns

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