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Bridal Showers the Whole Family Can Enjoy

When most people think of bridal showers, they think of little cucumber tea sandwiches, champagne, and giggling over gifts of lingerie and bedroom items with the girls. But then there are the rest of us who would rather have more fun and less formality with our bridal shower. And when you factor in kids – either your own or those of your bridesmaids and friends – bridal showers can actually take on a new and very enjoyable aspect. How? Think past the petit fours and consider this an opportunity to really let loose and celebrate the way you want.

Pick a theme you love

This doesn’t mean you can only choose between the English Countryside theme and the Southern Plantation theme. It means go for what really makes you, the bride, happy. For example, a good friend of mine recently held a zombie-themed bridal shower. There were little brain-shaped cupcakes, dirt cake (vanilla pudding layered with crushed Oreo cookies) with zombie hands (http://www.amazon.com/Cake-Decorating-Zombie-Hand-Picks/dp/B000WB8PBI), popcorn zombie brains (http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1830,158171-231201,00.html) and zombie gear that guests could use to dress up. She even included several zombie-oriented games such as Zombie Red Light – Green Light (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statues_%28game%29) and Zombie Tag (http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Zombie-Tag). The best part was that all of the activities were family friendly.

Besides popular character themes such as zombies, pirates, and vampires, themes can also revolve around decades, such as the 1920s or 1980s, or around television shows such as Game of Thrones, Desperate Housewives, or Bones. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box!

Selecting snacks

Once you’ve established a theme, it’s pretty easy to find some theme-inspired treats on the Internet. Going for a Game of Thrones bridal shower? How about putting out some thick slices of cheese and fresh fruits such as sliced apples and pears á la medieval dining (http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/medieval/food/index.htm)? Instead of massive turkey legs, maybe have some different types of buffalo wings and dip. Drinks can be served in goblets and cloth napkins can be purchased in stacks from the local dollar store. For the 1920s theme, vintage recipes abound on the Internet that can be quite fun, and educational, to make. For example, there is a delicious recipe for Nut Honey Cake in Mrs. Wilson’s Cook Book (circa 1920) (http://www.vintagerecipes.net/books/mrswilson/) and Cooks.com provides a bevy of 1920s desserts in their recipe index (http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,desserts_from_1920s,FF.html).

Game time!

Depending on the age of the kids at your shower, games can range from all-ages to older kids ages 10 or above. If your audience is mainly older children, games such as Murder Mysteries (http://www.host-party.com/Home/Default) are loads of fun and encourage attendees to come dressed as their character to the party. For a more diverse age range, however, all-ages games can be just as fun for the toddlers as they are for the adults. For all ages, it’s best to avoid having winners or losers and instead, just have fun. That said, you can still let the older kids (your adult friends, for example) think they won as long as they don’t brag about it to their three- and four-year-old competitors. Some games that fall in this category are Find Your Marbles (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeTLN169zjk), where competitors race to remove as many marbles as they can with their feet from a tray of Jell-O before time runs out (to make this noncompetitive, just tell them to remove as many marbles as possible in a set amount of time); No Hands Oreos, where contestants attempt to eat an Oreo cookie hanging by a string without using their hands (this can be set up by tying strings to a rope tied between two points in the backyard); or a traditional scavenger hunt . A lot of fun game ideas, in fact, can be found on a list of Minute To Win It episodes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Minute_to_Win_It_challenges), and many can be crafted to fit with your chosen theme.

Keeping track of the kids

Even though your bridal shower is kid friendly, it doesn’t mean you need to be worrying about them the whole time. If you know there is going to be a fair number of kids at your bridal shower, be sure to have either a volunteer ready to babysit while the adults relax, or hire a babysitter or two to take care of the lively crew. Even if the theme for your party is adult-only, including a babysitter for the kids can be a massive relief for your friends and is a “party favor” seldom considered but is always greatly appreciated.

Rhonda Wallinga manages social media programs for 123Print.com, a leading provider of custom wedding necessities like wedding invitations, personalized letterhead, RSVP cards and wedding programs.

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