One of my best friends (we go way back to the first grade) is getting married in July and I'm in the bridal party. There are seven of us in all who will precede her down the aisle, so it was our obligation and great privilege to raise a glass (then another and another...) and wish her well at her shower and bachelorette party. Fresh out of this experience, I thought I'd share a few simple things that helped make the show run smoothly and keep the guest of honor on her toes. (In addition to being a bride, I'm guessing chances are good that you're someone's bridesmaid too.)
1. Plan the parties back to back. This was the bride's idea and it was a really good one. With the shower early in the evening on Saturday, the transition to the bachelorette party later that night was very natural. The day was much more exciting and festive because of it.
2. Be organized. The bride's sister, her maid of honor, could give seminars on being organized. Everything went right because she was so on top of it all from the first day of planning. The shower was a group effort—we each had responsibilities for the prep and day of—but having one person take the lead was key.
3. Add the unexpected. We planned a few small twists for the bride to make the day more memorable. We gave her a customized photo book at the shower and cute personalized tanks at the bachelorette party, which had a subtle Hawaiian theme (a nod to her honeymoon destination). There were some other fun things I won't mention. We were celebrating a bachelorette, after all.
4. Be prepared for the day after. My friend's fiance lovingly armed his bride-to-be with the basics: bottles of water and Advil. This made me laugh. I'm not sure she needed the painkillers, but busy brides have little time to rest, even when they're out late the night before. —Michaela Garibaldi, assistant managing editor, Modern Bride