While bridal showers are traditionally an event where guests play games or watch the bride-to-be open gifts from her registry, you shouldn't be afraid to mix things up a bit. In fact, your family and friends will probably appreciate fresh ideas being worked into the mix.
With that in mind, here are 22 modern ideas to consider for your bridal shower.
Host a Wine Tasting With a Professional Sommelier
What's a bridal shower without some bubbles? Instead of the standard mimosas, invite a specialist to guide the group through wine tasting 101. You can even theme the tasting around a place you've traveled to or where you’ll be honeymooning. Caterer Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs shares the example of focusing on Tuscany: You can set up long farm tables and serve a family-style Italian meal paired with different Tuscan wines for each dish.
School Your Guests in Calligraphy
Beautiful script is becoming more important in the days of technology, so if you’re going to handwrite something, it better be well done. Sign everyone up for a calligraphy workshop, where you will begin to master envelope addressing and thank-you notes.
Create Beauty Products
Everyone wants to feel and look good, so incorporate that into your bridal shower. "Creating sugar scrubs will be fun," says Raquel Bickford of ROQUE Events. "Plus, the guests will take them home and use them to get that sought-after glow." You can also have someone show the group how to blend essential oils or have a perfumer help you make a custom scent.
Unleash Your Inner Beyoncé
Chancey Charm Denver planner Lauren Groeper suggests hiring a dance instructor to teach you and your guests the moves to your favorite song. "Hula lessons are perfect for a Hawaiian wedding, and guests can always learn the 'Orea Pou Ine Nifi Mas' dance for a Greek wedding," she adds.
Try Tarot and Reiki
Abby Lee of Sugar Plum & Co. suggests taking the bride squad out for some good vibes with a tarot reading and Reiki healing session. "Get all your chakras cleared before the big day!"
Head to the Kitchen
Cooking classes are all the rage for corporate team-building, and the interactive quality of these parties makes them ideal for bridal showers, says planner Andrea Freeman. Keep it simple and have guests make one item; for example, craft mozzarella and then enjoy Caprese salads.
Throw a Coed Party
An evening bash with all your friends and family—not just the gals—is something Tracie Domino, founder of Tracie Domino Events, is seeing more and more of. Host a couple’s shower where guests can honor both you and your partner and make it a full-on party. Have a bar with some of your favorite drinks, hire a DJ, or throw on your best playlist.
Put a Spin on Opening Gifts
"Some brides feel that they need to open gifts, so there are ways to make it fun," explains Maddy K, owner of Maddy K Events Atelier. Make the production into a larger game by setting a timer for every five minutes while you open the gifts. When the timer dings, the giver of the gift being opened wins a prize, and the guests are entertained while some of the focus is deflected from the bride.
Be Your Own Bartender
Gather your closest friends and family to learn the art of the craft cocktail, recommends planner Kristin Banta of Kristin Banta Events. Have a skilled mixologist guide your group through the basics of shaking and stirring to put twists on classic drinks, such as an old fashioned, martini, and daiquiri. “Not only can you all hone a valuable hosting skill, but an interactive team-building activity will give you something to do while having something delicious to toast with,” Banta says.
Learn How to Spin Like a DJ
If Paris Hilton can do it, so can you and your crew. Set up a masterclass with a local DJ or head to a spin school, such as Scratch DJ Academy in New York or Los Angeles. You can host a private workshop where your guests learn the basics of the turntable, mixing songs, and, of course, the timing of scratching.
Plan a Private Shopping Day
Who doesn’t want a personal shopper? Make this dream come true for your guests—and yourself—by hosting your bridal shower at your go-to boutique. Many brands and local stores allow for private gatherings, where Champagne is served alongside canapés and personal shoppers help guests take their fashion to the next level. When planning, ask if the store offers discounts for private events—sometimes you can save up to 20 percent on that perfect pair of shoes for your bachelorette party.
Hire a Hot Chef
We’re cutting straight to the point here: Invite a good-looking chef to show you how to whip up homemade pasta or that elusive hollandaise for eggs Benedict at home. Planner Jove Meyer notes that the activity enhances the idea that it’s a party for everyone, not just the bride. “It takes the focus off the bride-to-be and allows it to be more of a group celebration,” he says.
Hold a Charity Fundraiser
Use your bridal shower as an avenue to give back. Michelle Rago, the founder of Michelle Rago Destinations, suggests hosting a "Shower the World With Compassion" party, where guests can learn about and donate to a charity or charities that are close to the bride's heart. "There is so much waste in the world," she says. "What better way to give back than by establishing a lifetime of philanthropy as you start your married life?"
Establish a no-gift policy and share how guests can participate in the charity on the invitation.
Enjoy a Cheese Experience
Find a local cheesemonger, like the French Cheese Board in New York, that allows for private events so you can host a custom cheese tasting where your guests can learn about different styles, production methods, and flavors. Consider pairing the cheeses with drinks—and it doesn't have to be wine.
Ever heard of Paint Nite? It’s a company that puts on art classes at bars, which equals painting with a drink in hand—that definitely says bridal shower. Customize the experience by having guests paint their beloved pets or their significant others.
Have a Wellness Day
Do your guests love wellness? Serve cold-pressed juices and acai bowls for a fun-filled way to geek out on all things well-being. Bring in a yoga teacher to lead a vinyasa flow class or guide you through meditation.
Take a Makeup Class
It’s time to get glam, just because it’s your bridal shower. Hire a makeup company—bonus points if it is your wedding-day artist—to come onsite and lead a makeup class. You can focus on techniques like smoky eyes, highlighting and contouring, or applying false lashes. Your guests can employ the newly acquired skills for your wedding day to look extra fabulous.
Eat Chocolate and Drink Wine
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t love chocolate and wine, so combine the two for a truly luxurious experience. Planner Jennie Maretti of Pixies and Petals has organized parties like these with local specialty chocolatiers that pair styles of chocolate with different varieties of wines. “Make sure to include dark, milk, and white chocolate and have the chocolatier tell the story behind how each is made,” Maretti says.
Organize a Community-Supported Picnic
"Figure out the bride's favorite local small businesses and then create a community-supported picnic," says Bash Please wedding planner Sunna Yassin. "The picnic can evolve into many different things but can start with local beer, wine, or fun cocktail bar to-go kits that the ladies can sip on. The overall goal is knowing the bride’s favorites were had and that her community is supported."
Book an Airbnb Experience
Looking for something unique that you don’t do every day? Check out Airbnb Experiences for inspo, says Shannon Leahy of Shannon Leahy Events. The activities are localized and priced per person, and you can comb through for ones with good reviews. Experiences include everything from sushi-rolling classes to tattoo courses, ghost tours, and hiking excursions.
Attend a Candle-Making Workshop
Cherelle Joseph of Perfectly Planned 4 You believes a candle-making workshop is the perfect bridal shower experience. "You will have the chance to smell and test a beautiful selection of fragrances and essential oils and learn how to use them," she says. Look for something local or try an online class at a place like Makers Mess.
Craft DIY Wedding Projects
From handmade wedding signs to full ceremony backdrops, DIY wedding decorations have endless potential. "There are some great projects that would make for a fun night in with your girls and that would add a lovely personalized feel to the wedding," Joseph says. "Also, it gives your wedding unique, handmade touches that set it apart from the crowd."