My parents used to call it “shy”. I was a “shy” kid. Which I hated because I didn’t want to be “shy”, I wanted to be the kid who wasn’t afraid to talk in class. Being afraid to talk is weird. I wanted to be able to raise my hand to answer a simple question without giving myself a mental pep talk to raise my hand.
I was that kid. I’ve gotten a little better as an adult – I don’t freak out anymore if I have to call to make a doctor’s appointment or order a pizza- but I’m still not jazzed when I know that it’s an “all eyes on me” kind of situation. Some people thrive in that environment, I feel like I want to crawl into a hole and die.
Which meant that (as you can imagine – especially if you’re a weirdo like me) I was super psyched for my bridal shower.
“Please don’t make me play any stupid games.” I begged my mom. I was having visions of being wrapped in toilet paper, or having to coordinate some sort of bridal shower bingo.
“That’s fine,” Mom agreed. “I don’t like games either.”
Of course I was still going to be the center of attention – there was no getting around that. When you’re the bride at a bridal shower, it’s part of the gig. Which is NOT to take away from the fact that you’re so grateful someone went through all of the trouble to organize a bridal shower with YOUR friends and family. Of course you’re excited to see everyone!
But, at the same time, if the idea of everyone sitting around to watch you open gifts and talk about “how cute” you are with your finance – if that fills you with inexplicable dread and makes you kind of want to step out in front of a bus just so you don’t have to go? Stick around, girl – this post is for you.
(Also, please don’t step out in front of any buses. This has been your PSA.)
Tip #1 – Make it a couples shower
These are becoming more and more popular. “Back in the day”, bridal showers were WOMEN ONLY and it was all about the bride and her friends and her mom and her aunts and her female cousins and etc etc etc. Now? Times – they are a’changin’. Since it isn’t 1950 anymore and women aren’t going from their parents’ house to their new-husband’s house where new-husband is expected to provide for her, it isn’t necessarily expected that the bride need to be showered with kitchen gadgets and do-dads that she will be expected to use every night when she cooks dinners for her husband.
I might be making this up – I don’t know the “science” behind why these couples showers are becoming more and more popular. For all I know, some dude started it because he wanted to be an equal opportunist (and register for a PS4 or something, I don’t know). The point is – they weren’t a “thing” in 1950, and now they are, and I personally attribute it to the women’s movement, but what do I know?
The good news is – grooms and their men-friends are actually getting invited to these showers now. With your groom being there, it not only takes some of the pressure off you (because now it’s about the TWO of you, together) but it can also ease some nerves just to have someone else there. And isn’t that what marriage is all about? Having a buddy to do these kinds of things with? Exactly.
Tip #2 – Make it a brunch
ONE – because you can have mimosas (not that I’m promoting alcoholism, but come on – who doesn’t love a mimosa?) and TWO – this can help to take some of the pressure off of you. “Brunch” gives it a theme. People can eat, drink, socialize. This way it’s not all about finger foods and watching you open presents, the way that some bridal showers can be. Give people something else to do, like drink champagne.
Tip #3 – Make it at a restaurant
Not only does this give guests something else to do besides sit in a circle around you and play “who does the dishes more often, the bride or groom?” – but it makes it feel a little less formal. Everyone’s eating, maybe there’s wine, etc. The other nice thing about having it at a restaurant is that there will likely be time restrictions – this way you know that you’ll have a hard cut-off at 2 hours (or 3 hours, or whatever the restaurant says). Sometimes knowing what time you’ll be “done” can help shy brides get through their bridal showers.
Tip #4 – Make it small
Obviously when it comes to social situations and people with social anxiety – the less people, the better. If you’re really nervous, try to keep the bridal shower small. Only invite people you’re comfortable with whom you know really well. Just like how there’s nothing wrong with having a small wedding, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a small bridal shower.
Tip #5 – Make it a “fun day”
Get ready with your besties beforehand. Blast some music. Have a cocktail. Relax! Remember that everyone is there for YOU!