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Photo by Jessica Bordner Photography
To be honest, in the dog days of summer, bridal showers can mean one less beach or pool day before the season is over. So why not embrace both? Hosting a poolside party has tons of benefits, not least of which is a relaxed atmosphere in the sun. Pop some fun floats in the pool-we're partial to the flamingo-and gift monogrammed beach towels for each of your guests. Serve up poolside classics, like daiquiris, cold beers, and Arnold Palmers, alongside light bites including guacamole and ceviche. It'll be like a scene out of a Slim Aarons photograph. Just remember to word the invitation properly, so guests know to bring their swimsuits, and provide an SPF bar to avoid nasty tan lines before the big day.02 of 17
RosГ© on the Roof
City dwellers know that spring and summer entertainment involves rooftops, so what better place to throw a bridal shower? Stock the ice buckets with Domaines Ott rosГ© wine (a French seaside classic) and Louis Roederer RosГ© Champagne-it's time for RosГ© on the Roof. Deck out the terrace or patio with floral arrangements and comfortable seating, then serve up wine-friendly fare like crab-topped salad, shrimp skewers, and veggie wraps.03 of 17
Photo by Ke-Li Photography
Instantly transport your guests to the English countryside with a sophisticated soirГ©e in a manicured garden or greenhouse. It will be your very own garden party. Think floral-print dresses, lavender-garnished cocktails, and plenty of blooms alongside a farm-fresh menu. A string quartet will further set the mood as well classic entertainment like archery. For a modern upgrade, host a make-your-own flower crown bar or a workshop on how to arrange freshly cut blossoms.
Black and White Party
Photo by Olivia Richards Photography, Planning and Design by Bari Elexa Events
Make like Truman Capote and host your own black and white masquerade ball-or, at least, a dinner party. Ask guests to don their best black or white formal attire, masks preferred, for an elegant soiree at your home. Hire a chef or caterer to handle the food and a bartender to keep the Champagne flowing. Bonus points for building a Champagne tower. It will be a night none of your gals will forget, just like the guests of the famed 1966 party.05 of 17
Photo by Tim Willoughby
Move over, Taco Tuesdays. For the bride with an affinity for tacos, tequila, and all the guac (ie. all of us), throw a fiesta complete with colorful papel picados and a mariachi band. A margarita bar is a necessity, as is a selection of spicy salsas for dipping chips. You can throw this party inside or out, making it flexible in case of inclement weather, and well, does anyone not like a taco theme?06 of 17
Photo by Emilie White
Nothing goes better with brunch foods than mimosas. Put a spin on standard OJ and prosecco by offering a lineup of fruit juices, including grapefruit, cranberry, and pear, along with brut bubbles and festive garnishes such as strawberries, herbs, and edible flowers. If you've got a sweet tooth, try something like Fluffpop, gold-flecked cotton candy you can place on top of a glass of bubbles. Talk about a party in a glass.
Photo by Sally Pinera
This popular bridal shower theme is always a fan favorite, but it's due for an upgrade. Skip the Mad Hatter theme in favor of a modern spin: make your own herbal tea bar. Guests can mix their own blend of loose leaf tea, by scooping everything from black tea leaves to star anise and rose petals into a strainer. Brew and ta-da! It works for iced teas too, and we're not opposed to a spiked version to get the party started. You can also bring in an ayurvedic expert or certified tea blender to help lead the class. You'll learn what works and what doesn't, especially to help cure ailments and boost things like libido. Pinkies up.08 of 17
Photo by Jessica Bordner Photography
Cue the hula dancers, it's time for a luau. Though this is a time-honored party and bridal shower theme, it never fails to excite guests, especially in tropical summer weather. Have guests wear their best floral prints and bright colors, deck the space out in tiki torches and orchids, and of course, вЂњleiвЂќ all your friends and family as they arrive-no pun intended. For food and beverage, think Polynesian classics: kalua pork, poke bowls, fresh pineapple, and tiki cocktails. For an unique twist on the standard celebration, hire an Elvis impersonator to sing some of the King's Hawaiian-inspired classics on a ukulele.09 of 17
Day at a Winery
Photo by Michael Stephens Photography
Spend the day tasting white and red wines, learning how wine is made, and of course, sipping a glass on a patio with a giant cheese plate at a destination bridal shower at a local winery. Producers like Napa Valley's Charles Krug and New York's Macari Vineyards are great for groups since they have indoor and outdoor seating, scenic views, and amazing wines. Look for a local winery with lots of options to make it the perfect outing with your favorite ladies.
Photo by Lacie Hansen; Planning by Callista & Company
Beer more the bride's thing? Never mind the winery; hit a local brewery instead. Tour the facilities to see how the brews are made and taste through different styles and flavors before ordering some pitchers and food for a celebratory affair. San Diego's Stone Brewery, central Pennsylvania's Troegs Independent Brewing, and Boston's Harpoon Brewery are all great destinations, but so is the brewery closest to you. You'd be hard-pressed to find a region without its own local craft brews and a staff ready to host your shindig.
Photo by Rebecca Yale Photography
Share your passion for philanthropy with your nearest and dearest by hosting a charity-focused bridal shower. This can be everything from a day volunteering at a soup kitchen to throwing your fГЄte at an animal shelter or sanctuary. Even if you have a traditional party, you can still honor a foundation. Ask guests to donate to a nonprofit of your choice in lieu of gifts, and invite a representative to share all the amazing work the organization does during your soirГ©e. You'll earn some major karma points going into your wedding day.12 of 17
Photo by Cynthia Chung
What's better than a party on a boat? Basically nothing, which is why a nautical theme is the perfect way to celebrate a lady of honor who loves the water. Charter a spacious sailboat, yacht, or catamaran for a few hours of sailing along with plenty of seafood and beers. Set a dress code that requests nautical stripes and sun hats and decorate with anchors, ropes, and paddles.13 of 17
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Photo by Rebecca Yale Photography
Is the bride a literature lover? If so, she just might adore a Shakespearean-themed shower, celebrating A Midsummer Night's Dream. Think lush green florals, glowing lanterns, and twinkling lights for decor musts, while flower crowns of baby's breath can help with the magical vibes. For final touches, incorporate quotes from the tale as centerpieces or decorative accents to tie it all together.
Cooking classes are nothing new for bridal showers, but put a summer spin on the idea by hosting a grilling workshop. Nothing says a dude has to вЂњmanвЂќ the barbecue! Invite a grilling pro to teach your ladies how to sear, grill, and smoke your favorite foods. You can even go with lighter fare, working with marinated salmon, fruit kabobs, and oysters instead of red meat. Obviously, you'll want to pair it all with wine.15 of 17
Photo by Olivia Rae James
Throw your own lawn games tournament as an unexpected bridal shower theme. You'll enjoy the outdoors while partaking in some friendly sporting as you go head-to-head over corn hole, bocce ball, and croquet. You can even class it up by having your guests don their вЂњcroquet whitesвЂќ and serve herb-infused cocktails alongside elevated stadium foods like bite-sized chicken and waffles and shrimp corn dogs with mustard aioli. Game on!16 of 17
Elevated Backyard Barbecue
Photo by Marion Brunel
Hosting a backyard barbecue is one thing; serving up a whole hog roast or a clambake is another. Forgo the standard burgers for an at-home affair that feels a bit more celebratory. Set long farm-style tables with pretty plates and seasonal blooms and be sure to tell guests to arrive hungry; it's going to be a feast. For the food, hire a catering company or chef to handle the preparation while you focus on a lemonade bar-possibly even spiked with vodka. To take it up a notch, have a folk band play some jams while guests mix and mingle, drinks in hand.17 of 17
Summer Solstice Party
Photo by Angela Pham
Dozens of cultures have celebrated the summer solstice-usually around June 20-for thousands of years, which makes it a lucky day for a bridal shower too. The solstice, an astronomical occurrence defined by the earth's tilt toward the sun, results in the вЂњlongest day of the year,вЂќ coined due to the maximum number of hours of sunlight on that day. Honor our closest star by throwing the shindig outdoors, with seasonal dishes and drinks and a colorful dress code. Since the holiday also praises Mother Earth, give your party an eco-friendly spin. Reduce waste by renting glassware, plates, and linens, decorate with potted plants, and donate to an environmentally focused charity as your party favors.