Where do I start? It began honestly with a non-idea. I didn’t really want a bridal shower. I wasn’t a fan of the typical, stereotypical bridal showers where all the females are invited to fawn over the bride, play games, eat food, open presents, and take photos. I have enough material items already. I don’t need more. I enjoy hanging out with my friends on quality one-on-one dates, and I have never ever invited more than two groups of friends together. It’s just not my style. (I’m also an introvert, so that is why I don’t favour large groups.)
Thus, when I first bestowed upon my close friend the role of matron of honour and she asked me whether I wanted a bridal shower or not, I said, “No, it’s okay. I just want to keep things simple.”
However, leading up to the big day when I was speaking with an older friend and one of my bridesmaids (added later into the bridal party because of an extenuating circumstance), they both highly recommended me to have a bridal shower. “It’s once in a lifetime,” “it’ll be fun,” “let your friends shower you,” “it won’t be a lot of work because your bridesmaids will be helping you to plan it.” The older friend also had her second child recently and was a bit regretful that she didn’t hold a “sprinkle” for her (the first child has a baby “shower” while the second-born has a baby “sprinkle” — I didn’t know this!). Thus, she highly recommended me to have a bridal shower.
Some thought went into this and I was successfully persuaded when talking about it with my second bridesmaid. Thus, the idea went out two months before the event and we quickly called together a “emergency meeting” on Zoom (Skpye was out of the option for one of the girls) to nail down a date and firm up details. Time was of the essence since we decided upon this party so late and needed to invite friends immediately.
In my heart, I always knew that if I had a bridal shower, I wanted it in a party room where all the girls could mix and mingle as well as play games and eat nibbles of food. I didn’t want it tea party style (I’m not a huge tea party person — I don’t drink tea and there’s too many sugar and carb items) and neither at a restaurant either (a restaurant is so commonplace. We go out to eat at restaurants all the time.) I wanted something special if I was going to have a bridal shower.
At first, one of my bridesmaids suggested a really cool and pretty spot at one of Toronto’s swank hotels that provided a beautiful backdrop of the CN Tower and surrounding city views. It was a brunch, which I was okay with at the moment. The main reason for choosing this venue was because the environment was so nice, no decorations needed to be put up and thus it was less work to do. It was simply going to be a bridal brunch. The con was this venue though was that we couldn’t play any bridal shower games or really get up to mix and mingle…
The original intent was to invite 15 or so of my closest friends (that was the maximum capacity of the restaurant unless we wanted to book out the whole restaurant, which was extremely pricey). However, even though we had actually sent out the invitations for this brunch and friends already RSVPed, I quickly realized that this was unfair to the rest of my female friends. I didn’t want to only pick 15 out of the 25+ female friends that I had. I didn’t want to play favourites because all of my friends are dear to me in one way or another.
Also, I didn’t want any of the friends to feel uncomfortable to sit next to somebody they didn’t know for the entire duration of a brunch. It’s super awkward to be forced to make small talk like that. Obviously, all of my friends would want to sit next to me, but only three or four would be physically able to at a table. Thus, I wanted to change the venue of the shower.
I conveyed this dissatisfaction with one of my bridesmaids who then informed the group. I also informed my mom who was able to help me enlist the help of her friend. We were able to find a condo party room that was in our budget, looked good, and available for use! It was only $150 to rent the party room for five hours. There was parking available. A fully equipped kitchen was available, bar table, stools, tables, chairs, sofas, a TV screen, and more. It was perfect. We booked the room successfully and then we went from there.
At first, because I was primarily involved with the idea of the bridal shower, my matron of honour actually involved me with the planning too, which I felt upset about. The bride isn’t supposed to be planning her own party!
I conveyed this sentiment to my bridesmaid who agreed and quickly took hold of the situation and from then on, the planning was in their hands. However, I had already given them a skeleton idea of what I wanted to happen at the party, so they simply had to carry out what was in plan: I wanted an ice breaker bingo game for all the girls to know each other, a game to test the girls about how much they knew about me (the bride), a potential pin-the-tail on a turtle game (jokingly suggested by my fiancé), the toilet paper wedding dress game, and that was pretty much it.
From then on, the reins were handed to them and I never heard another peep about the bridal shower from them (other than a few questions here and there).
I think my team of three bridesmaids (plus my good friend Grace) did extremely well in planning the bridal shower. It was more than I hoped for in terms of decoration, thoughtful detailed planning, and creativity in executing the games. It was beautiful.
The party room was booked from 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 24. We were allowed to arrive at 11 a.m. to set up. The condo security guard walked through the room during the initial check to make sure everything was there (to ensure that after the party, everything was back in place once more).
I was told to arrive at 12:30 p.m. (so that everything was already decorated and ready for my arrival). I found it sad that one of my friends attending the bridal party actually had the audacity to text me before the party, “Hey, what time are you arriving?” Um… the bride is supposed to arrive later than you guys. When you ask me that question, are you expecting me to arrive early too or are you going to just show up when I show up? It’s such an awkward question. These are questions that you should ask the person who’s planning the party, not the person for whom the party is supposed to be for.
Anyway, I ended up arriving at 12:50 p.m., later than anticipated. I’m sorry! I arrived in the door and Grace was already waiting for me at the doorway — typical of her, and which I love that about her. Then, I was bombarded by Angel who had a “bride” headband for me to wear as well as a “bride” sash. Yay, I love these things!
(I was so nervous while getting ready that morning. I was nervous and shaking. If I was that nervous for my own bridal shower, how much more nervous and shaky am I going to be for the wedding when all of my family and friends are going to be there? Lol.)
Then came a scamper of friends with their phones all pointed at me and taking photos. I was not ready or used to this. Cyn said, “You better get used to this! It’s going to be like this on the day of your wedding.” Haha.
Everyone was already seated and eating since they had all been waiting for me to arrive. Again, sorry for waiting, friends! I was glad to see everyone eating and sitting in groups of four or five. I knew that everyone would be able to get along because all of my female friends are good people and friendly.
I grabbed a little bit of food too (there were croissant sandwiches, chips, cake pops, Smarties, and fruit and vegetable platters, as well as drinks like water, Perrier, ginger ale).
Very soon after that, Grace started the ice breaker bingo game (I will attach a photo of the game here eventually for memory purposes). I wasn’t a participant of the game. I loved watching everyone try to gather other people’s names to put onto the sheet in order to fill it up to yell “bingo!” When the winner Christal was announced, Grace also made everyone individually confirm their answers. It was hilarious.
After this, we played the “toilet paper wedding dress game.” Although I hate wasting perfectly usable materials, this was such a classic bridal shower game that I had to have it at my shower too. I’m thankful to the girls for getting the toilet paper (and for not getting any tape at all, which made the game both challenging and more earth friendly). Toilet paper is made to dissolve well, which thankfully is a bonus.
The girls arranged themselves into groups of three, and they were given 15 minutes to come up with their best version of a toilet paper wedding dress that they had to present to me. I would be the judge of the winner.
Again, I loved watching this. The only other time I’ve seen this game being played live (and which I played too) was last year at Diana’s bridal shower. I love games like these; classic traditional bridal games.
At the 15-minute mark, they seemed to need some more time, so I suggested five more minutes, but Grace said that was too much time and gave them two minutes more. Haha. I was really impressed with some of the creations so far!
Finally, we had five girls all dressed up and bridal-ready. I made sure to take a photo with each group first after the five girls were ushered near the front of the room to be judged. They tried their hardest to “pitch” their dress too.
In the end, I admired the toilet paper headband, toilet paper bouquet, and “ring” up the arm that Christal’s group had as well as the simplicity of Wendy’s dress. I crowned them both as winners. (The winners got ring pops as the prizes.)
After that, we moved right into the “bridal jeopardy” game. Unlike the first two games where Grace hosted them, Angel was the one who hosted this one. I was super duper impressed with the bridal jeopardy game board that she handmade herself! It was so well done! I admired how she used a thick board, painted it with a background of the ocean (with a gradient scale of water to sand), stuck on seashells to the beach part, printed out and cut out a turtle bride and groom picture, stuck on black letters for the title and gold letters for the categories, and also glued on different gold patterned envelopes with each question written in it on to the board. It was so classy and well done! I honestly wouldn’t have thought of all those details. (If this was a school project, I would have given her an A+ lol.)
The entire group was divided up into three teams and they took turns choosing the category and points in order to win. There actually weren’t as many questions about me or me and Ken or our wedding as I anticipated. The “numbers” category was quite random actually and the single calculation math question was a waste/had nothing to do with the wedding. Some of the “100” category questions were too easy, like “spelling my name backwards” or “what’s my last name” or “what’s my fiancé’s name”…
While some questions were ones that I anticipated and actually came up with myself, I actually wanted questions like “where are they going on their honeymoon”, or “what’s the hashtag for the wedding”, or “what’s the name of Karen’s blog”. Some questions were indeed good, but I wanted more. This is the only chance in my life where I get to see these questions asked of my friends, and I truly wanted to see if they knew what the answer was. It’s partially a selfish game to “advertise” myself but also to test my friends’ knowledge of me.
Anyway, it was really fun and we all had a lot of laughs during the game too. I think Angel did a great job hosting. The questions that stumped people were “what is Karen’s shoe size”, “how many turtles does she have,” and a couple more I don’t recall — oh, “what is Karen’s major in university.”
After this game, we had a five-minute break time, which might or might not have been necessary because at this point, we were nearing the 3 p.m. mark, which was the time on the invitation that the party was supposed to end at. Thus, some of the the friends were getting a little antsy about wanting to finish up and leave.
Anyway, I took photos with the friends at the beautiful photobooth area that Mandy made. The balloons that Angel got were the best ones ever!!! They were beautiful, perfectly fitting the shower, and perfectly fitting the colour theme of the wedding as well — turquoise and pink! They gave an “oomph” to the photobooth area. Mandy also brought her Polaroid sticker camera for photos and as mementos for the friends to take home as gifts. I loved this. It was so, so good. We had a part of the wall too where Mandy posted all the Polaroids on a string to display. Loved it.
After this, we were able to sit down around the sofa area so that the game where Grace came up with at the last minute could be played. This was actually my favourite and most sentimental and meaningful game during the whole shower. While waiting for me earlier, Grace asked all the participants to write a personal note to me on a purple sheet of paper and without signing their name. Then, I would read out all the messages and try to guess which friend wrote that to me. I loved this idea! Instead of reading it myself though, I asked Grace to do it for me — she’s louder and more enthusiastic than me haha.
I wasn’t able to guess the first two since we had just started playing and I wasn’t into it yet. However, the third and fourth and following ones, I was warmed up and was able to guess who wrote them correctly right away. Some of the messages were very obvious, stating where we had been to previously or what activities we liked to do. One was very characteristic of my friend and so I guessed it right away (Alice’s, and then also Christal’s since it was written in steno), and so on. At the end though, I had four left that I wasn’ts sure about , but by process of elimination, I was able to guess the correct friends. This was the best game ever!
Oh, and I forgot to mention, but just as we were about to play this game, someone walked into the room. This wasn’t a female, and it wasn’t just another friend of mine, but Ken my fiancé! Hahaha. He was wearing a Toy Story Woody costume and walked into the room with a bouquet of red roses in his hand. Hahaha. I knew that he was expected to come (I told Grace to tell him to come because it seems to be a tradition where the groom comes in at the end of the shower to surprise the bride), but I didn’t know he was going to come so early (actually it wasn’t that early anymore) or that he was going to dress up in a costume. It was so random haha, but totally unexpected and a surprise (one of the first real surprises from him actually :D). I had him sit next to me on the sofa as Grace read out all the messages in the game.
After this, the cake was brought out (thank you to my bridesmaids for clearing out the area and bringing out the cake as the game was being played). We took photos in front of the cake and cut it. Priscilla had bought the cake from Butter Baker, a vanilla one that was simple but pretty with the words “Miss to Mrs” on a slab of white chocolate.
After we were done eating the cake, one of my friends came over to me and said she was going to leave (it was 3:20 already), so I quickly called everyone together for a group photo before she left. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that not everyone was in the photo (Grace was in the washroom because she had diarrhea from the dairy in the cake; Vivian wasn’t back yet from her short step-out), so we didn’t have everyone in the group photo — I didn’t know this until later that evening. 😦
While we were eating the cake, we played the pin-the-tail on the turtle. Mandy had hand-painted an adorable turtle on a large sheet of paper and prepared little sticky notes. There was an eye mask and a few people took turns putting on the eye mask, spun around three times, and then led to the turtle on the wall where they tried to stick the tail near the turtle’s actual tail area. Each person wrote their name on the “tail” too, so we could see who was the closest.
Not everyone played the game unfortunately because it definitely was getting late, but Christal was again the winner because she stuck the tail closest to the correct spot! It was fun. 😀
After the cake and game, the friends started to filter out as expected. Then it was time to clean up. Vivian did make it back in time by then, which I was appreciative of. Christina was also the one who won the “most rings” game by stealing a ring from those who said “wedding” or “bride” during the whole shower — because we had so many rings, it actually would have been more fun if everyone started off with five rings instead of just one. (I secretly wanted this game at my shower too, but didn’t tell the bridesmaids about it — or did I? — anyway, I’m so glad they had this game too! :D) I liked that there were 15 rings hidden around the room as well. It was so fun. I love scavenger hunts!
We collected all the remaining items, cleared the room, and then we left. I’m thankful for my friends who helped out and for Eva who helped us rent the room on her behalf. We called the security guard to inspect the place one last time and then we parted ways.
It was such a highly successful, fun, and lovely gathering for all of my female friends. Unfortunately, there were a handful who couldn’t make it, but the ones who made it really showed me that they care and want to be there for my bridal shower. I was very appreciative.
That night at home, I gathered all of the presents and wrote thank-you notes to each of the friends as I opened up the presents. Then, I organized all the photos we took that day and sent them to each person too. I knew that if I didn’t do it that night right away, I would be leaving it until who knows how long.
Again, I’m so grateful that I had such a great group of bridesmaids and friends who were able to put this together seamlessly for me. I know a lot of effort, time, and money went into the behind-the-scenes work, which I’ll never know about (like how they forgot to bring the proper cake knife which was no big deal but to them, they’re like “oh, shoot!”) and I’m forever thankful for that.
I really indeed am glad that I decided to have a bridal shower after all. This was a priceless and one-of-a-lifetime memory, and I’m all for those. Whatever uneasiness I had previously about having all of my friends together in one room doesn’t matter anymore. Diana, who’s attended three bridal showers this year, said that this was the best shower she attended! What a great compliment. Mandy also told me twice that all of my friends are so nice and friendly, which made the afternoon so pleasant and fun. Again, such a great thing to hear. 🙂
Thank you again to all involved and to the special man who showed up as well. I love you all! ❤
Next up, the wedding! :O D: