Bridal Shower Rules…And How to Break Them

Considering all of the people who may be involved in planning a bridal shower, it can sometimes be more overwhelming than planning the wedding itself! While I don’t really believe that there are hard and fast rules you need to follow with your wedding or any of the events leading up to it, it’s still nice to know the traditions and expectations that go along with a wedding and shower. Here are some rules for a traditional bridal shower and some ideas on how to break them.



Traditionally, the mother of the bride (and of course the bride) would never plan the bridal shower. While some will still say the MOB should not host or plan the shower, this is becoming more passé. Whether it’s because bridesmaids can’t afford to host, or female family members live too far away to step forward, there isn’t always someone who can be the responsible person. No matter who is planning the shower, the bride is often involved much more than she lets on. While sometimes it can’t be helped, brides should try to stay away from the planning as much as possible to make it easier on the women who are stepping in to plan. If the bride does need to be involved, try to make it discrete.



When creating the guest list, it is hard for the bride not to be involved. Normally, if a guest is invited to the shower, she must ultimately be invited to the wedding. This is one of those rules that I would say shouldn’t really be broken. Once a woman gets invited to a shower, she expects a wedding invitation. However, not all female guests need to be invited to the shower. This is the tricky part where the rules are all made up and you can make any decision you want about your guest list.



Showers are typically held one to three months before the wedding. If a significant number of guests live in a different city, you may choose to have two smaller showers in two different cities in order to accommodate your guests. This means you’ll have to have two different ladies volunteer their services, which is not always easy. But the guests will appreciate not having to travel, especially when they may be traveling soon for the big day. There’s no rule here other than do what works for you and your guests. You can’t please everyone, so make sure at least you and the hostess(es) are happy!



Bridal showers held more significance back when couples lived separately until marriage. Certainly every bride should still be entitled to a bridal shower, even if she has already made a home with her husband-to-be. I’m sure any cohabitating bride can find some fun things to put on that registry.



To stay on the topic of gifts, your guests will expect you to register for mostly common household items. If you don’t need another toaster or set of towels, you can sign up for a honeymoon registry instead and guests can contribute to the honeymoon of your dreams. This makes for a fun and relaxing bridal shower with no gift opening – just cocktails and socializing!


If you do decide to stick with the traditional gift registry, choose two or three store registries - it’s nice for guests to have options of where to shop. You’ll also want to choose items to fit everyone’s budget. But if you want something expensive, don’t be shy about putting it on your registry! You may get the robotic vacuum you never thought you’d get, even if it comes from all 8 of your first cousins! Most registries offer a discount on items not purchased by the shower date so you and your fiancé can get a deal on that blender you really wanted.



When all the gifts are opened and you’ve recuperated from the extravaganza, it will be time to write your thank-you cards – ASAP! I know I said there are really no rules with a shower, but this may be the one exception. There are plenty of shortcuts for this step if you hate the idea of writing thank-you cards. At the shower, you can have guests each write their name and address on an envelope and then use the envelopes to draw a winner for a gift basket. Et voila, half the work is done! As for the other half, recruit a bridesmaid to take a list of all the gifts you received so you don’t forget what to thank people for. You’ll be writing thank-you cards after the wedding as well, so consider this your test run. They don’t have to be elaborate – just like the gifts you received - remember it’s the thought that counts!



Eveningside Vineyards

Distinctive Occasions is pleased to announce a partnership with Eveningside Vineyards! Make your big day even more picture-perfect with the backdrop of a sprawling vineyard.

If you choose to hold your wedding at Eveningside Vineyards, you will have the coordination services of Distinctive Occasions to ensure that your wedding runs smoothly and you can relax and enjoy the day.

Eveningside Vineyards is located in Cambria, NY, just west of Lockport, in the heart of Niagara wine country. The property is 21 acres with a stone house built before the Civil War with stones from the excavation of the Erie Canal. There are also two barns on site, one of which is over 100 years old and now remodeled, serves as the quaint Tasting Room.

The state-of-the-art wine making facility with a controlled barrel room, a laboratory for monitoring winemaking processes, a bottling room, a tank room with refrigeration, and a covered crush pad allow the production of a variety of delicious wine.

To inquire about holding your wedding at Eveningside Vineyards, you can call Randy of Eveningside at 716-867-2415 or Dawn of Distinctive Occasions at 716-907-2263. We look forward to creating your perfect day!

All photos courtesy of www.eveningsidevineyards.com.

Burlesque Bachelorette

I recently heard about a bachelorette party that held a private Burlesque Dance Class – a 1 hour class where the instructor led a warm-up, taught some moves, and then choreographed a short routine to part of a Christina Aguilera song. Oh, and they celebrated afterward with wine.  I thought this sounded so fun and different that I had to share.  You don’t need to have a female-version of “The Hangover” to make your bachelorette party memorable!



Buffalo has plenty of neighborhood dance studios and I bet most of them would be willing to host a private class. It’s extra money in their pocket if you can work out a time that’s outside of their busy dance, competition and recital schedule. Most recitals are finished by the end of June so you may have luck booking something in the summer.


Besides Burlesque, you could also try belly dancing, pole dancing, Salsa, or hip hop to name a few others. This could be something you may only do once in your life, and trying something new with all of your friends in a private class makes it much more comfortable if you’re out of your comfort zone. Who knows, maybe you’ll become a regular! If this sounds like fun for you and the girls, here is a very short list of some studios you may want to look into.




Baila Salsa Dance Company – Buffalo


The Future Dance Studio – Hamburg


Free Soul Dance & Fitness - Blasdell


Ilya’s Bellydance Studio - Buffalo


ModDance Studio - Kenmore


Nickel City Dance & Fitness Center - Kenmore


Pole Play Dance Studio – Buffalo

Knox House for Rent

This year’s Decorators' Show House was held in East Aurora at the Knox Summer Estate at Knox Farm State Park. While touring the home over the weekend, I learned that the very impressive main house is now available for private party rentals, including weddings. All profits made during these private events will fund improvements to the house that follow historic preservation guidelines and state requirements.

Because it is now run by New York State, the park has rules and regulations to follow that will carry over to your event. For example, caterers must be insured, liquor permits are required per event, and the curfew in place is 11pm. This is no different than if you were to get married at any other State Park. Although it may seem like a lot to deal with, you will have the peace of mind that your event will go smoothly because you have taken all of the proper precautions that are sometimes neglected at private functions, plus you will have qualified vendors you can trust.

Although the details are still being worked out on their website, there is plenty of information to get you started on your private party. You can visit http://www.friendsofknoxpark.org/house_lease/index.html (source for photos above) for more information. If you visited the Show House or saw the photos in the Buffalo News (source for photo below), you will need to take another look after this weekend when the show ends. After the decorators have removed their belongings from the house, you will get a better idea of what the space can look like for your event.

Southtown & Northtown Showers

I attended a Bridal Shower this weekend at the Coyote Café on Main Street in Hamburg. Being from the Northtowns, I didn’t know this place existed. I found out that my in-laws from the Southtowns who knew of the place had no idea they had a back room large enough for small events. Since it seemed to be a well kept secret, I thought I would share.


They had 50 people at the shower - 8 per table – seated pretty tightly. There was also space for a few gift tables, a décor/gift basket table, and a buffet table, which was then switched over to a gift-opening table after lunch was served. What I really liked about the layout was that the floor slanted downward so that the bride-to-be was slightly higher than all of the tables and you could easily see her open all the gifts from any seat.

I would recommend this for a shower with a relaxed, non-traditional shower. Mexican is not always a safe bet for a crowd, but the food was not spicy (this is coming from someone who orders mild chicken wings) and was very tasty.


I do want to mention one other potential shower location for those who prefer the Northtowns. Sinatra’s now has a small banquet space on Delaware Avenue in Kenmore (near Delaware Road) called Village Square Events & Catering. Although I haven’t attended a function there, I have peeked inside and it looks very nice, with subtle décor, white linens, and Chiavari chairs. Although I don’t know for sure, I would expect the food quality is the same as the ever-popular Sinatra’s Restaurant on Kenmore Avenue in Buffalo.




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