;rida; shower; on a budget
Elegant events without a party-spoiling price
MEDIA BAKERY; IRIDIO; THINKSTOCK
By Sharon Naylor
ALL BRIDESMAIDS want to throw a lovely
shower for the bride. They imagine gorgeous
floral centerpieces, a lavish and delicious
menu, guests blissfully sipping Champagne
and the bride beaming, knowing her bridesmaids planned this celebration for her.
But the dream often pops like a bubble in
that Champagne when the costs of such a
shower are revealed. TheKnot.com reports
that bridesmaids spend an average of $1,400
on their wedding expenses, including their
dress, shoes, travel, gifts and shower expenses.
Still, bridesmaids can make that dream
bridal shower come true, with some smart
planning. And it helps that many of the basics
are available at Costco.
Let’s start with food
The food helps make the at-home bridal
shower a success, and one of the best secrets in
planning a menu without the savings showing
is to serve unique foods that guests don’t often
make for themselves, or devise a creative twist
on a traditional dish. Here are some top ideas.
; A buffet-style food presentation creates a visual feast, and very often costs less per
guest than a sit-down meal.
; Serve lots of unusual vegetarian
dishes, such as mini veggie quiches, stuffed
mushrooms, steamed artichokes with dipping
sauces, stuffed grape leaves and the like. Tiny
bites of lighter fare with sensational flavors
often cost 60 percent less than meat or seafood
; Also serve a variety of hummus and
dips, with a bounty of pita bread triangles,
toasted baguette circles and cut veggies.
; Consider using seafood as garnishes,
such as a sprinkling of lobster meat on top of
a ravioli dish.
; For hot entrées, serve inexpensive
chicken or pasta in chafing dishes, and dress
them up with creative, gourmet sauces.
Next up: drinks
Drinks are an important element of an
enjoyable bridal shower. As with food, you can
take smart steps to achieve maximum pleasure, minimum price.
; Serve a limited open bar, with two or
three kinds of wines, two or three signature
cocktails and a variety of soft drinks.
; Serve a nonalcoholic signature drink:
iced tea mixed with lemonade.
; Stretch your Champagne supply by
blending it with a fruit juice and garnishing
with a popped-in fresh raspberry.
; Likewise, stretch your wine supply by
serving colorful sangrias in glass pitchers.
; Serve crowd-pleasing punch in a
blend of tropical or berry flavors with sparkling soda.
; Use cut fruits as garnishes—even a
glass of water will look more elegant.
Happy endings: cake and desserts
Everyone looks forward to the cake at a
bridal shower, so make this sweet ending to
your party stand out—without spending $200
for a lavishly decorated cake from a baker.
The Costco Connection
Costco offers dozens of items to make a
bridal shower or wedding affordable, including roses and other cut flowers, a wide variety of fresh foods and beverages, and sheet
cakes and cupcakes made fresh daily in the
Instead, choose a nice cake from Costco,
decorated simply. Leave the intricate, piped-on icing designs and hundreds of sugar-paste
flowers for the bride’s wedding cake. You don’t
want your cake to outshine hers!
Dress up a sheet cake with extra frosting
flowers in its design, or press in some choco-late-covered strawberries on top and around
the bottom edges.
Display your cake surrounded by colorfully frosted cupcakes, mini pastries, truffles
and candies for a buffet of sweets that will thrill
your guests without straining your budget.
Another option is to skip the cake and
just serve pretty cupcakes on tiered platters.
Flowers and favors
Lovely floral centerpieces can be easily
made using fresh flowers. Use vases you and
your co-hosts own, and fill them with colorful
long-stemmed flowers. When you design
multihued centerpieces, you need fewer flowers to make a visual impact than you would
with, say, only white flowers.
Also, use more ferns and greenery than
flowers in your centerpieces for a lush, natural
look that costs very little.
You can create low-set centerpieces with
simple tufts of ultra-inexpensive baby’s
breath. And float a single large flower, such as
a gerbera daisy, in a water-filled bowl at the
center of each guest table.
Last, send guests home with a favor
they’ll enjoy, such as packaged cookies or
brownies, a trio of chocolates from a big box
or two, a collection of herbal teas or a single
flower wrapped in cellophane. C
APRIL 2013 ;e Costco Connection 51
Sharon Naylor (
the author of Bridesmaid on a Budget and
The Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book.