Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bridal Tea Games & Activities

Since this Bridal Tea Shower was a little bit more of a formal event, my mom and I didn't want to do too many cheesy games.  This was meant to be something sweet, sentimental, and rich with support and encouragement.  We still made sure to have things for the guests to do during the shower so that they still had a good time and made some fun memories.  So if you're looking for some ideas for personal touches or subtle ways for the guests to interact, you've come to the right place!

Last time, I showed you some unique ways that we decorated for this shower.  We tried to tie everything we did together with the "tea party" theme in mind.  There is a fine line to walk when you plan a tea party to make it classic and pretty without falling into the "grandma" category.  Not that the "grandma" category is a bad thing, but for a 23-year-old bride it's probably not at the top of her list when she wants to remember her bridal shower.  Lucky for us, one of the themes Michael's was selling was tea party!  We found pens, notepads, albums, blank cards, and more with teacups, teapots, and flowers on them!

We had one table set up in the main room where Kim would open gifts with all of our supplies for the games.  My mom found these adorable buckets filled with a set of tea towels and a teacup set for game prizes.  We made sure to gather all the materials we needed so we wouldn't be running around when it was time.

The Timer Game
We used an egg timer and turned it to a random spot when Kim began opening gifts.  The person whose gift she was opening when the timer went off got a prize!  So simple, but an easy way to involve guests.  I think it also helps them stay alert and paying attention when the bride is opening gifts.  You could alter this game if you have a larger number of guests by re-setting the timer when it goes off the first time.

Bridal Shower Poem Game
The second game we played I found here.  Since it was a Bridal Tea, I knew it would be a great opportunity to play a game involving what they were wearing.  Each guest was given a piece of paper and a pencil to keep score.  Then, I read this poem aloud and everyone added and subtracted until each person ended with a number.  Here is the poem:

This is a rather peculiar game

It really does not have a name

It’s simple to play, as a game should be

You just do as you’re told, you see

So now if you’ll please give me your attention

We’ll put an end to this suspension

In the end, whoever scores the most

Will receive a prize of which to boast

Now since you’re all fashionable girls

Give yourself 5 if you have any pearls

You may add 3 if your toes peek out

And earrings will give you 2 more to shout

Score yourself 5 if you show any red

Add 6 more for a curl on your head

Now before you think you are going to win

Take away 2 for each safety pin

Give yourself 6 if your pants are tight

Add 1 for a scarf which is just about right

Add 5 more if your shoes are black

And take away 3 for a zipper in back

Now count all your buttons, for each you get 2

And take away 1 for each button that’s blue

Give yourself 5 if your heels are high

And why not take 10 for the green in your eye

10 more points for a rose on your clothes

Take away 5 if you forgot to wear hose

If your husband you kissed today – add 9

If you didn’t subtract 12 – you’re subject to fine

This is the end…there isn’t anymore

Who is the lucky lady with the highest score?

Honeymoon Pig
This was a mix between an activity and a game.  I got this cute piggy bank at Target.  You could also search online to get one that matches the colors of the wedding, the theme of the party, I've even seen bridal pigs.  Then, I wrote a short little poem and framed it to go next to the pig.

In case you can't read from the picture, here's what it says:

Little piggy on the table
Will grant your wish if he is able.
Drop some coins in his tummy, 
He finds newlywed funds very yummy!

Don't wait, for now it's opportune
To help the new couple on their honeymoon!
A dime, a quarter, a dollar, or ten,
Your donation will be very well spent.

Couples' massage, dinner, a movie, or wine...
Let's help make their first days together shine!
At the end of the party, we'll see if you're wise.
The one with the closest guess wins a prize!

Throughout the shower, guests stopped by and added loose change from their purse, or a couple of bills.  When things started winding down, little piggy was whisked away, emptied, and the money was totaled.  Everyone wrote down a guess of how much was inside and the person that guessed the closest was the winner.

Besides these games, we had a couple of other activities for guests to participate in.

Thank You Envelopes
One of the duties of a bride is to send thank you notes for all the gifts that she receives at her showers.  To help Kim with the toughest part of sending these notes, we had the guests help by addressing their envelope for their cards to be sent.  All we did was purchase a few packs of cards (with the ones we found at Michaels, these were just $1 packs of blank cards).  We separated the cards from the envelopes, then put a small basket by the front door with the envelopes and a couple of pens.  I made another small frame with instructions for the guests.  By the door, guests can do this when they first come in, or be reminded when they walk out the door to leave.  Of course, this isn't fool-proof.  You may still have some guests who skipped over this task or didn't see it.  But the majority of guests will do this and it will save a couple of hours for your bride from gathering and writing out addresses.

A Year of Encouragement
As I mentioned, we wanted this shower to be a way for Kim to feel embraced with love and encouragement from the important women in her life.  One of my favorite things that we did for this shower was cards of encouragement.  Many have heard that the first year of marriage is a tough one.  There are sure to be a lot of adjustments, drifting from friends, figuring out what this new life is as husband and wife.  We wanted this feeling of love and encouragement to continue throughout Kim's first year of marriage.  So, mom and I found a cute set of blank note cards at Michael's and scattered them on a table with a frame and instructions.  

As guests had an opportunity, they took time to sit down and write a few encouraging words for Kim in a card that would be sent at some point during the following year.  At the end of the shower, my mom collected the completed cards and has been sending about one a month.  I think the coolest thing about this is that neither Kim or the author of the card know when a card is being sent.  My mom really doesn't either, she just chooses a card at random.  When my sister was over for Easter, she said she got my card and that I told her to call me to set up a date for sushi this week.  I had forgotten I even wrote that but now Kim and I are planning to have sushi when normally, we wouldn't have thought to make time for it.  I think this is a great way to remind the bride that she is loved and supported.

Dress-Up Photo Booth
One of the most popular things right now at weddings and other events is a dress-up photo booth.  We thought this was a perfect activity to add to Kim's Bridal Tea.  I mentioned in my previous post about this shower that it was planned and styled around a birthday party Kim had as a young girl, where we got to dress up in all kinds of fun stuff.  It was fun to gather things for this activity, and pretty cheap, too!  We asked friends if they had any old hats, scarves, etc. that could be used.  We scoured Goodwill, yard sales, and the attic.  We pulled random items that could be used from around our houses.  I think we ended up with a pretty nice collection.

For the backdrop, we hung a black sheet over the curtain rod in my parents' office.  We got a cheap clothing rack from Wal-Mart (which actually came in really useful later to hang our dresses the day of the wedding).  My mom had an old frame that she hung from the bar on the clothing rack, then draped another black sheet over and around the frame.  We set up all the hats, sunglasses, scarves, and boas on the long table against the wall and hanging on the side of the clothing rack.  Then, my dad set up the tripod facing the frame and zoomed to where the only thing guests needed to do was snap a picture or set the timer.

It was a little less fancy than some photo booths, but I liked the way ours turned out.  My favorite part was that it was so cheap!  Well, that, and that we had a ton of fun playing dress up and taking pics.

Overall, I think guests had a pretty good time.  There was a lot of catching up, giggling, and reminiscing on good memories years ago.  I hope that these ideas can stir up some of the same results at the Bridal Tea you're planning!

PS...If you're looking for more unique ideas and games that are aimed more for a bachelorette party, there are some great ones here and here.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

April Date - Garage Sale Scavenger Hunt

Woo-hoo!!!  I have been so excited to share this date with you guys because I think it's such a great idea.  I don't know why I've never done it before!

This is April's date for the Dates for a Year Basket!  The past couple of months have been at home dates.  In January, they learned to make fortune cookies in their kitchen, in February, they had an at-home spa night, and last month was an at-home game night.  I'm all about finding fun at home, especially if you're on a tight budget!  But I thought for April, it was time to get them out of the house! Especially now that it's finally Spring and the weather is just begging you to spend some quality time with it!  So, if they're going to be enjoying the weather, I knew I had to plan a weekend date for optimal time in the sunshine.  That narrowed it down to a weekend morning/day, and do you know what happens then?  GARAGE SALES!!  That may not sound exciting to you...until you realize that it's a Garage Sale SCAVENGER HUNT!

I definitely can't take credit for this idea.  The ladies at Dating Divas have it going on.  I found this date there, and used the templates to personalize some cards for Kim and Larry.

Here's what was included in the April envelope:
  • Date Card
  • Scavenger Hunt List
  • Bonus Items List

Here is the date card that was included in the envelope:

When I downloaded the template, it was a blank PDF, so I copied and pasted the image into a Word document.  Then I made it smaller (I made it a landscape page format and shrunk the image to fit on half the page) and added my own items.  I used some of her ideas but came up with my own, too.  Here's what the finished product looked like:

After I printed this card I thought, "This isn't enough!"  So I made a bonus card.  That's why I made these items each worth 5 points each, so that I could make bonus items worth double that!  Bonus items are things that are left for interpretation, probably impossible to find, but a saving grace if you're not good at finding the other stuff.  

The plan for this date is for Kim & Larry to find a list of local yard sales (in a copy of the local paper or even more simply, through a search on Craigslist), grab some breakfast and/or coffee and head out the door.  I like that this is something they can do together but kind of have to sneak around on their own, too.  If they both peruse through yard sales side-by-side, it would be hard to have a winner because they'd find stuff at the same time.  Just like last month, this adds a bit of competitiveness to the date, which makes it fun and exciting.  Actually, I thought that it would be easy for them to use the same "prize" from last month's game night and just recycle.  

This date was basically free for me to put together, if you don't count the paper and time it took to create.  You could definitely make it a little more exciting by including a gift card for them to swing through Starbucks or McDonald's before starting.  You could also include some cash for them to purchase some things while they're looking.  Maybe even add the task for them to search for a perfect "couples trophy" that they could pass back and forth for these competitive dates.  Think about how fun it would be to find something unique...like a glass pineapple or something...that can be the sought after "prize" for bets and games.  It could even become something of a family tradition that's passed down when they have kids.  

Sounds like a fun weekend activity, doesn't it?  This is one of my favorites out of the dates included in the basket (not my favorite...that one is still to come), but yet it was one of the easiest ones to plan.  This is date 10 of 13, we're getting down to the last few now.  Stay tuned...they're worth waiting for!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bridal Tea Party - Decorations

Hello, friends!

Man, am I excited!  I mentioned in my last post that I'm planning to be a lot more intentional with this blog and start to make it a regular habit.  Part of my struggle has been that I wasn't sure what to blog about.  With the way life has been for me lately, I've had to put a halt to some of my creative habits so I didn't think I had much to blog about.  Sometimes all it takes is some focus.  I found a bunch of stuff to share that I haven't gotten around to for the past year.  So I've just planned out the next 18 posts!  I'm excited about making blogging more of a priority and giving you guys some more ideas.


As most of you know, my sister was married last July.  Actually, most of my blog posts this year have been about the wedding gift I put together for Kim & Larry, the CHEAP Dates for a Year basket.  Head over and check out some of those ideas if you haven't yet.  I also shared some games with you that I used for her Bachelorette Party, but I guess in all the chaos, I forgot to tell you about the shower that my mom and I threw for her last June.  I can't believe I completely skipped over it, because we put A LOT of work into it, and were both proud of the outcome.

Mom and I wanted to throw a shower for Kim to kind of pull together a bunch of little groups of people and have one big gathering.  It was a way to get a lot of the people together that love her and share in celebrating.  So, we needed something that would sound fun to a variety of people, something that wouldn't be too expensive, and something that would easily fit in most everyone's schedules.  So, we decided on a Bridal Tea Party.  It's traditional, fun, super girly, and cost-conscious enough to feed a large number of people on a weekend afternoon, which most people have available.

Another reason is tied into a few of our family traditions.  I'll get to those in a second.  Like I mentioned, Mom and I put a lot of planning and detail in this shower, so there is no way that I could do a post that includes it all.  At least not one that most of you would read all the way through.  So, I'm breaking it down.  Today, I'll go over the general plan and share some of the decorations and special touches we included.  Later, I'll share four more posts; one for food, one for games and activities for our guests, one for the favors, and one with some tips for all you Maid of Honors out there.  Don't miss them!

We wanted this shower to be feminine but not too frilly.  Classic but not "grandma".  Traditional but personalized.  My parents' gorgeous home was the perfect setting because Mom's decorating style is right in line with what we wanted.  The flow of the floor plan and the neutral, classic decor left a lot of ease in the plans for decorating, so we didn't really have to do much.

The first thing we wanted to do was make sure that we had plenty of seating for when Kim opened gifts (we were expecting between 15-30 guests), places for people to sit and chat while sipping on tea and snacking, and different mingling centers.  It's important when you plan a party to provide opportunities for conversation that are natural and comfortable, even for people who don't know each other.  At something as personal as a bridal shower, all guests have something in common so this is pretty simple.

We wanted to include some flowers, but nothing too formal.  Mom had a great wildflower garden to pick from and I have a stunning hydrangea bush at my apartment, so that's all we used.  Use what you have growing in your yard!  It fits right in with your home and most importantly, it's free!

We saw this idea on the ever-helpful Pinterest!  So easy and different.  We just used some wine glasses mom had, put a cluster of wildflowers underneath, and topped with a tea light.  It was the perfect way to spruce up our plate and silverware table.  Mom and I used plastic white tablecloths, but got a couple yards of fabric to match the feel of the shower that we overlaid on top of the white plastic.  This dressed it up a little and pulled it together.

I didn't arrange the hydrangeas that well, just stuck them in a vase on the table.  But I had so much fun making the wildflower jars that hung in the window!

It was really easy but got a great response at the party.  I saw the idea original here.  I had several baby food jars that were sent to my classroom and never used.  My mom had a ton of old ribbon that she got from my grandma which I cut to fit around each jar.  It was as simple as hot gluing them down with a couple dots of hot glue.  Then I used some twine to tie around the lips of the jars and left a long enough tail to hang them over the curtain rod.  I think it's a more dramatic and whimsical to hang them at varying heights.  After they were hung, I used a pitcher of water to fill each jar about halfway, then added a good mixture of wildflowers to each jar.  I wish I had a better picture of them.  We liked them so much, mom kept them up for weeks!

I know that's a silly title, but I don't know what else to call them.  One of my favorite things that we included in our decorations for this shower were personal items from Kim's past and/or heritage.  I typed up short descriptions for each of them and got frames at the dollar store to display them.  These explain more about why having a tea party was so perfect and fitting for Kim's Bridal Shower.  These also provided the mingling spots I mentioned above.  Once guests spotted a few of these, they talked with others about them and started searching for each one.  

When Kim first asked me to be her Maid of Honor, we spent one night in the pouring rain sitting in my car in the Arby's parking lot near a bridal store where we had stopped to look at bridesmaid dresses.  I'll probably always remember that.  During that conversation, I was asking her all kinds of questions about what kind of showers she wanted, things she wanted incorporated during this special time, etc.  One thing she mentioned was that she would love to have a party similar to one she had when she was younger.  For her birthday one year, mom threw her a tea party and a lady came with all kinds of dress up clothes.  So it was a dress up/tea party.  It was perfect, and definitely something I knew she had to relive as a grown-up before tying the knot!  To tie the conversation and the idea together on the day of the shower, mom pulled out a bunch of old photos of not only the party but other times we dressed up to display.

Phew!  I was still planning on adding more to this post, but realizing I can split the last bit into a whole post on its own.  I don't want to make this too long!  Stick around...I'll tell you more about this special shower soon!


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