Like weddings, modern bridal showers are all about experiences. So we totally understand if you're not the type who wants to sit and play games or open up gifts in front of a big audience. Some of these activities and traditions have barely changed at all, so your guests will greatly appreciate some fresh ideas being worked into the mix.
From heading into the kitchen to hosting a charity fundraiser, here are 18 modern shower ideas.
Host a Wine Tasting With a Professional Sommelier
What's a bridal shower without some bubbles? Instead of the standard mimosas though, invite a wine specialist to guide the group through wine tasting 101. You can even theme the tasting around a place you have 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.
Unleash Your Inner Beyoncé
Suit up for your own dance class and learn the moves to your favorite song, says Chancey Charm Denver planner Lauren Groeper. Hire a choreographer to teach you and your guests a signature dance. “Hula lessons are perfect for a Hawaiian wedding and guests can always learn the 'Orea Pou Ine Nifi Mas' dance for a Greek wedding,” Groeper explains.
Create Beauty Products
Everyone wants to feel good and look good so incorporate that into your bridal shower, suggests Raquel Bickford of ROQUE Events. "Creating sugar scrubs will be fun, plus the guests will take them home and use them to get that sought-after glow," Bickford says. You can also have someone show the group how to blend essential oils, or have a perfumer help you make a custom scent.
Get a Tarot and Reiki Reading
Abby Lee of Sugar Plum & Co. suggests taking the bride squad 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, notes planner Andrea Freeman. Freeman advises to keep it simple and have guests make one item; for example, craft mozzarella and then enjoy Caprese salads.
Make It a Coed Party
Throw an evening bash with all your friends and family—not just the gals. 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, and hire a DJ or throw on your number one playlist. "We're seeing less daytime, female-only showers,” says Tracie Domino, founder of Tracie Domino Events.
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; set a timer for, say, every five minutes, while you open the gifts. When the timer dings, whoever’s gift is 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, martinis, and daiquiris. “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.
Make It a Charity Fundraiser
Use your bridal shower as an avenue to give back. Michelle Rago, 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 your heart. “There is so much waste in the world, what better way to give back than by establishing a lifetime of philanthropy as you start your married life?” Rago says; “We can all make a difference that can change the world.”
Establish a no-gift policy and share how guests can participate in the charity on the invitation—to keep the momentum of giving back, have everyone volunteer at a local soup kitchen before cheering with your own celebratory meal.
Organize a Community-Supported Picnic
"We love the idea of the bride’s friends getting together to see what the bride considers local- and small-business owned, and then creating a community-supported picnic," says Bash Please wedding planner Sunna Yassin. "The picnic can evolve into many different things but can start with a 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."
Sprinkle in picks from the bride's favorite local businesses that sell things like cheeses, produce, pastries, as well as flowers and art for the decor.
Learn How to Spin Like a DJ
If Paris Hilton can do it, so can you and your gals. Set up a masterclass with a local DJ or head to a spin school, such as Scratch DJ Academy in New York and 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.
Host 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.
Hire a Hot Chef
We’re cutting straight to the point here: Invite a good-looking chef to show your gals 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.
Bite Into a Cheese Experience
Find a local cheesemonger, like the French Cheese Board in New York, that allows for private events and host a custom cheese tasting, where your guests can learn about different styles, production methods, and flavors of the world’s best cheeses. 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.
Take a Makeup Class
It’s time to get glam, just because it’s your bridal shower so hire a makeup company—bonus points if it is your wedding day artist—to come on-site 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 who can 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,” suggests Maretti.
Try 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, plus you can comb through for those 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 says a candle-making workshop is the perfect bridal experience. "Give your bridal party an enjoyable experience with a difference as you learn each stage of the candle making process," she says. "You will have the chance to smell and test a beautiful selection of fragrances and essential oils and learn and how to use them." Look for something local or go for an online class like the Makers Mess candle-making workshop.
Craft DIY Wedding Projects
From handmade wedding signs to full ceremony backdrops, there's endless potential when it comes to DIY wedding decorations. "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," says Joseph. "Also, it gives your wedding unique handmade touches that set it apart from the crowd."
Now that you've created an epic queue of activities, it's time to work on that bridal shower guest list—who even gets invited to this shindig, anyway?