Tips for budget bridal showers

When hosting a bridal shower, it can be easy to get carried away. Hosts, typically a close friend or relative of the bride, often feel obligated to give the bride the “perfect” party — a concept as elusive as it is expensive.

 
However, if you find yourself planning an upcoming bridal shower on a budget, have no fear: It’s entirely possible to plan a tasteful, fun and sentimental gathering without breaking the bank. Here are five time-saving and cost-cutting ways to throw a beautiful bridal shower:

Invitations

It can be tempting to blow your entire budget for the party on the invitations, but consider saving money (and time) by sending them electronically. Web sites like Pingg.com make sending invitations and tracking responses electronically a breeze. And with an enormous online image database, it’s almost guaranteed that even the pickiest planner will find the perfect invitation design.

Food

Skip hours of baking and frosting and provide your guests with a creative and low-fat ice cream cake. Ice cream sandwiches from The Skinny Cow look sweet when stacked in a pyramid and topped with creative garnishes. Your guests will be thankful for a low-fat snack option, and you will have time to actually enjoy the party. Sandwiches come in strawberry shortcake, chocolate, vanilla, vanilla/chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, mint and cookies n’ cream flavors. Use one flavor for a consistent look or mix and match flavors for extra guest options.

Drink

Sangria is an unexpected and delicious drink to serve at your shower. Added bonus: the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find. You can even substitute grape juice and seltzer water for wine for a tasty non-alcoholic version. The only other ingredients required are slices of fresh fruits such as oranges, pears and peaches, and about 1/4 cup of sugar. For variations on the classic recipe, check out Cooks.com or AllRecipes.com

Games

Rework an old classic by playing a game of Bridal Shower Bingo. First, create copies of a blank grid resembling a bingo card. As the guests arrive, have them fill out the grid with gifts that they think the bride will receive. (The free space is in the middle and players can write their own gift in this space.) As the bride opens a gift, players cross it off their bingo card. Award a prize to the first person to fill five spaces in a row, across or diagonally.

Favors

Pamper your guests with homemade body scrubs in simple, elegant glass mason jars. You can even customize the recipe below to include your favorite scents and colors.

You will need:
3 cups Epsom salt (or coarse sea salt)
1 cup oil (almond, canola or olive oil usually works best)
Essential oils for fragrance
Mason jars

Instructions:
First, measure out your salt and pour into a large container. Measure out the oil and slowly pour into the salt while stirring. Finally, add the essential oil to the desired strength. Attach any desired ribbons, hang tags or other decorations to the outside of the jar.

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