A Cool Girl's Guide To Bridal Showers

Bridal showers can be boring. Lame party games, watered-down punch, hours spent watching the bride-to-be feign excitement over monogrammed tea towels and mixing bowls... But, in this era of one-of-a-kind weddings, when couples carefully plan their nuptials to be a reflection of their personalities and unique love, there’s no reason showers shouldn’t get the same makeover.
After all, this is your sister/cousin/best friend/cool coworker we’re talking about. You love the heck out of her — and you want to help celebrate her big day with a party that is on par with her awesomeness. Plus, you’re fun, so there’s no reason you can’t throw a fun bridal shower — especially in New York City. So, we rounded up five cool venues (and the outfits, invites, and favors to match) to take some of the pressure off. The parties ahead are so good, you might even be able to convince the bride to reconsider those yellow bridesmaid dresses. Maybe.
1 of 30
Stand out (without overshadowing the guest-of-honor) with this pretty floral number.
2 of 30
Remind friends and family the bride-to-be loves the culinary arts with this kitchen-inspired invite.
3 of 30
This retro-inspired invite just screams "foodie."
4 of 30
If you haven't overdone it during the tasting (too much fromage? Impossible!), send guests home with a delicious cheese straight from Murray's renowned caves.
5 of 30
Photo courtesy of Murray's Cheese Shop.
Murray’s Cheese Tasting or Classes
An evening out with your best friend always involves ordering the cheese plate. She’s the best cook you know. And, she loves to spend her weekends hopping around the city, visiting all the amazing specialty food stores New York has to offer. A bridal shower / cheese tasting at Murray’s is the ideal fit for a foodie.

The newly renovated event space is set right in the heart of the West Village and can hold 24 seated or 40 for mingling. The planners at Murray’s will help you customize the event to your needs. Want to relive that girls’ trip to Milan? Serve a curated selection of Italian wines and cheese. Looking for something a little more hands-on? The mozzarella-making class will keep everyone busy, without resorting to constructing wedding dresses out of toilet paper.

Murray’s Cheese Shop 254 Bleecker Street (between Morton and Leroy Streets), 212-243-3289, ext. 42 or classes@murrayscheese.com.
6 of 30
Hand out the cards in advance and ask guests to share their favorite recipes with the happy couple.
7 of 30
Photo courtesy of the LeFrak Center at Lakeside.
Roller Skating at Lakeside
Your little sister is anything but ordinary. She craves adventure, and she’s always ready to drag you along. (Was there ever a more fun vacation than that girls’ surfing camp in Costa Rica?) Ladies like this deserve a bridal shower that is the antithesis of stuffy. So, channel your 10-year-old self and throw a roller-skating party, complete with cake, balloons, and old-school jams.

Lakeside has three party rooms that can comfortably fit 30 to 40 people. Choose from its extensive catering menus — the barbecue package is ideal for summer. Take advantage of the projection system and create a classic slideshow for the bride-to-be featuring all of her closest friends and family. We can’t think of a better bridal shower than one where time is evenly divided between a hot-dog station, a turn on the roller rink, and oohing and aahing over those shiny new pots and pans (while digging into some cake, of course).

LeFrak Center at Lakeside, 171 East Drive, Prospect Park, 718-462-0040 or parties@lakesidebrooklyn.com.
8 of 30
Yes, you'll be spending most of the afternoon on skates, but that doesn't mean you can't don a cute dress. This breezy Mara Hoffman style is cool, colorful, and comfortable enough for a spin (or three) around the rink.
9 of 30
This starburst invite is just as vibrant as the party you're throwing.
10 of 30
Okay, this is a kid's birthday invite. But, Minted will let you edit the text to your liking. And, who wouldn't love to receive this old-school card via snail mail?
11 of 30
You'll need socks to wear with the rented skates at Lakeside, so why not coordinate your group and give everyone at the party an awesome pair?
12 of 30
Chic and cheeky totes for a gaggle of chic and cheeky girls.
13 of 30
Photo courtesy of Reynard.
Brunch at Reynard
In every group of friends, there is someone who stands out as the cool one. She throws the best parties, is friends with the bouncer at the newest hot spot, and is always two steps ahead of the trends (though you wouldn’t dare call her "trendy"). Throwing the perfect bridal shower for such a friend seems close to impossible. Thankfully, all you need is the right venue; the rest will fall into place. That’s where Reynard comes in.

Reynard’s 1,200-square-foot garden space (which can hold up to 70 for a seated event) at the Wythe Hotel is a gorgeous place for a leisurely bridal shower that is a far cry from cookie-cutter. Opt for a sophisticated seated brunch: Create a custom prix-fixe menu composed of local and seasonal dishes. Bring your own flowers (may we suggest arrangements from Saipua) and make a killer playlist ahead of time — the space has a sound system you can use. Skip the present-opening portion of the party in favor of mingling over craft cocktails.

Reynard, 80 Wythe Avenue (at North 11th Street), 718-460-8000.
14 of 30
This pretty Tibi frock is perfect for the garden-party feel of Reynard's outdoor space.
15 of 30
Clean and classic — with the promise of mimosas.
16 of 30
The lush, watercolor effect of this invite sets the theme of the brunch. Share it with the florist to offer inspiration for the arrangements.
17 of 30
Continue the floral theme with the favors and give your guests some beautifully packaged soaps.
18 of 30
Photo courtesy of the Carlyle Hotel.
High Tea at the Carlyle
We love our wild and crazy friends, but we depend on the levelheaded ones to help us when things get tough. We all know an etiquette-loving, midi-skirt-wearing, birthday-card-sending lady who is drawn to more traditional pursuits. There's no better way to celebrate her big day than with a good, old-fashioned tea party — at a landmark NYC hotel, no less.

Having high tea at the Carlyle is like stepping back in time, to an era when women wore evening gloves and men wore Derbies. It’s completely retro, from the floral china to the tufted banquettes. The lower gallery seats 25, and the menu is classic: tea sandwiches, pastries, and scones with Devonshire cream. Toast the bride with a glass of Champagne, linger over a cup of tea, and encourage everyone in the party to share words of wisdom for the happy couple.

The Carlyle, 35 East 76th Street (at Madison Avenue), 212-744-1600.
19 of 30
This locally crafted simple syrup is essential for creating cocktails at home.
20 of 30
A demure dress with a feminine cut is perfect for afternoon tea.
21 of 30
These lovely faux-bois invites are so elegant.
22 of 30
The old-fashioned floral pattern evokes English gardens — perfect for this very proper party.
23 of 30
A tin of tea is the most appropriate favor for a tea party (and this bridal shower is nothing if not decorous).
24 of 30
This sweet and spicy jam is just as good on ice cream as it is on scones.
25 of 30
Photo by Erin Yamagata.
Crafternoon at Home
Your crafty cousin is practically DIY-ing her whole wedding. She convinced a designer friend to rework a vintage gown. She designed and letterpressed her gorgeous invitation suite. And, now she’s knee-deep in assembling favors for her 120-plus guest list. Instead of throwing her a traditional bridal shower, why not turn the afternoon into a crafting session and help the gal tackle a few projects on her to-do list?

The best venue for a crafting shower is your own living room. So, whip up some homemade snacks (you can’t go wrong with any of these hors d’oeuvre ideas from Martha Stewart), pick up some cupcakes from Betty Bakery in Brooklyn, and stock the bar with easy-to-assemble cocktails and craft beers. Instead of opening presents, spend a few hours making some of the decorations the bride-to-be wants to have at her nuptials. In the end, she’ll be relieved to finish some projects, and the shower-goers will all feel a deeper connection to the upcoming wedding — they've actually helped make it happen.
26 of 30
This is a DIY shower — obviously you have to send homemade invites. A cute kit from Yellow Owl workshop makes the process a breeze.
27 of 30
As the hostess of a crafternoon bridal shower, you need a dress that pops, but is still comfortable to move around in. (Though we recommend throwing an apron over it if you plan on doing any messy crafting.)
28 of 30
Yes, let's definitely get crafty.
29 of 30
Send your inspired guests home with a sweet stamp set they can use for their next craft projects.
30 of 30
Add an air plant to this hanging terrarium, and you've got a permanent reminder of a lovely and creative afternoon with friends.

More from New York


R29 Original Series