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surviving the bridal shower
by Karri Peifer
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The key to successful communication amongst bridesmaids is lots of exclamation points and a cheery disposition. This will sometimes border on the verge of passive-aggressive b.s. Nonetheless, an email bursting with love and compliments towards people you've never met is the perfect way to subtly inform unsuspecting bridesmaids that they are being honored to work and help pay:

"Random Bridesmaid, I am so looking forward to getting to know you better in this time! Bride tells me you are just a whiz in the kitchen, do you have any ideas about food for the shower? I was thinking about light finger food. Let me know about your ideas! I hear you're so creative!"

Once bridesmaid communication is flowing you'll find out that every bridesmaid has already planned the shower. Be forewarned, however, that the shower in their mind may have nothing to do with the bride. Nine times out of ten, it'll be the shower they secretly want (or wanted and didn't get, or got and it was so perfect it must now be recreated for every bride). A bridesmaid can spend a lot of time encouraging other bridesmaids in the direction of their choice (a tea party, a sit down luncheon, light finger food), but in the end it's all about survival. Do your best to encourage all involved to think about what the bride herself would like best, but ultimately, the objective should be to come out of the shower with the least amount of excessive money and time wasted. The easiest way to endure bridesmaids' polite spats is to set a budget; decide on a reasonable amount of money for each person to contribute, and stick to it.

duking out the details: decorations, food, theme
The bridal shower issues that are most frequently debated are decorations, food, and theme. A budget can solve some of these problems, like decorating and food (a bridesmaid who suggests her home be swathed floor to ceiling in flowers will have to rethink this once the decorating allowance is set). Also, because all bridesmaids are hosts of the shower, the responsibilities can be divided up so that two people might be involved with planning the menu and two or three can be dedicated to decorations. This organization can yield fewer cooks in the kitchen, so to speak, allowing a smoother planning.

Flowers, streamers, and white bells, typical wedding decor, can be used inexpensively to create a festive ambiance in the home for the shower. Frequently a local dollar store will house most of these items and perhaps a few more. Remember, less is more, so even a center piece that already belongs to the homeowner can be transformed into an eye-catching shower focal point with a few sprays of flowers or a cheesy bride-and-groom miniature.

still more over yonder!

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