I haven’t quite reached the status of Katherine Heigl’s character in the film 27 Dresses, but I have walked down the aisle my fair share of times and not once was as a bride. Knowing what a daunting task it can be, I’ve compiled my personal notes, tips and tricks in the art of being a bridesmaid. I’ll share all of these with you over the next couple of weeks.

First up, I use my most recent experience as a bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding to take us through the process of hosting a bridal shower.

What’s the budget? If you’re planning the shower, chances are you’re paying for it as well. Right from the get-go, determine what you’re comfortable spending and if anyone will be helping you bite the bill.

 

Who’s invited? Traditionally, bridal showers are limited to close family and friends and guests should always be invited to the wedding as well. Guest lists can be touchy in any situation, so consult with the mothers or other close family if you’re unsure about who to include. One of my few regrets in planning my sister’s shower was overlooking a couple of important names, which a little research on my part might have prevented.

Where’s the party? Showers are most commonly held at the host’s home, which is the route I took. While this option gave me more control, it did limit the number of guests I could invite. Other good venue options include restaurants, community centres or even a local park. Consider the bride’s personality and your desired feel for the event when selecting a venue.

Should I call in the pros? Since showers are often thrown on a modest budget, professional help may be limited. I decided on two areas where I would require pro assistance: the food and the cake. I knew a full-on lunch was a must and getting the food catered greatly reduced my stress levels. While supermarket cakes can be great, I wanted the cake to be delicious and beautiful. So I enlisted the help of When Pigs Fly Pastries to create a cake that ended up being a centrepiece of the event.