Good morning Washington DC area wedding lovers! Are you reading this as a maid of honor or a bridesmaid? Are you wondering how on earth you’re going to host a bridal brunch for your BFF in honor of her big wedding day? Maybe you’ve called around to a few restaurants in the Washington DC area and realized that hosting a bridal shower is going to cost you and arm and a leg. And that’s on top of your other wedding party expenses like a bridesmaid dress (that you won’t wear again despite how many times they try to tell you that you could!), a bachelorette party, a wedding gift, travel to the wedding, a hotel room for the wedding weekend. Did I leave any wedding expenses out!? Yikes, that was a lot! We love our engaged friends and would do anything for them (obvi), but the reality is that being in a wedding as a bridesmaid or a maid of honor can get pricey, that’s for sure! Don’t worry, we’ve got it covered on the bridal shower brunch part today.

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Photo Credit: Paired Images from this pink bridal shower in DC

Here is my own personal go-to plan for hosting a bridal shower brunch for my best girlfriends for under $50 total. Yes, it’s true! I recently used this bridal brunch plan to host a bridal shower for my dear, engaged friend. It was a lot of work, I’m not going to lie. But, I got my DIY on and used a few of those free resources all over the Internet and got down to it. The key, for me, was planning ahead and coming up with the schedule in advance of everything I needed to do and when. Now I’m sharing all of this affordable bridal brunch goodness with you! So, if you are a bridesmaid or a maid of honor, this one’s for you! And, if you are a bride, we won’t mind if you pass this post onto your ladies! I’m sure they will appreciate the tips and the help with their pocketbook.

Be Ready To DIY (Including Hosting!)

If you host the bridal shower at your home or apartment, you are eliminating the fee (which often can be large) for renting a space or having your celebration at a restaurant anywhere in the Washington DC area. The main thing you want is a dining room table of some sort, and a kitchen with an oven and range. Even a sofa with some random seating around the room will do. You could throw pillows on the floor and make it ultra casual. As long as there is a place to sit, the cozier the bridal shower the better, we say! If you live in an apartment or condo, you can look into a common room in your building, but sometimes there is a charge for using these rooms. If your apartment is just way too small, the common room might be a great alternative and now you use your own kitchen to prep the food. The last resort is checking with another guest to see if their house could be used. In this case, you do all of the prep work, they host the bridal shower. They might even consider co-hosting the bridal shower with you too!

Send Invites Online

Some bridal shower guests may not find it traditional, and it is not, but sending a free online invitations is, well, free! Sending a gorgeous, pre-designed online invitation for your bridal shower makes the whole shin-dig a lot less expensive and it makes collecting the RSVPs easier too! There are tons of free online e-mail invitation options like Paperless Post and E-vite and they have pre-designed bridal shower options to make your invitation look special and gorgeous.

Keep It Intimate

As with planning a wedding, the easiest and fastest way to cut costs is to trim the guest list. And, since you are hosting it at your house, you might be limited in terms of guests anyway. Look around your space, and ask yourself honestly, how many people can I really have in here at one time all eating and talking? Get practical and pull out the chairs, arrange them around the room and start counting? How many guests can all sit down at once? Take that number and add a few more, because not everyone needs to sit the whole time.

Keeping your bridal brunch intimate, to about eight to 10 guests, will really cut down on your bridal shower costs. Remember, you aren’t trying to re-create the wedding with this event by having lots of guests, rather the whole point is to honor your friend and make her feel special. She will feel amazing that you are hosting a bridal shower for her, not that you have tons of people there.

Keep Decorations To A Minimum

You can cut down on your bridal shower costs by doing basic decorations that look fun and festive, but won’t break the bank. Use seasonal items, as they are sometimes discounted at local craft stores or stores like Target. Don’t be afraid of the Dollar Store, as they often have hidden gems that perfect for decorating your bridal shower space. A few small decor touches, like bunting, and a fresh bouquet of flowers from the grocery store will really go a long way. I love the idea of purchasing a bouquet from the grocery store for under $10, trimming the flowers and placing a single flower in several of small bud vases from the Dollar Store. (Don’t forget the bathroom!) And, remember you are going to have the food on display, so that will take up much of the table and/or counter space.

There are tons and tons of free bridal shower printables all over the Internet for things like signage, bunting, menus and more. Type “free wedding printable” into Google and you will be amazed at what you come up with! You can make the decor at your bridal shower amazing by taking advantage of the free printables on the Internet. Print it out on heavy card stock, cut it slowly with scissors and you are good to go! Those cute flags for straws? No problem, there is a printable for that! Elegant tent cards to label the food? Oh yes, lots of free printables for that! Adorable little cupcake toppers? Yup, there is a printable for that! You can even hack the printables for weddings and use them for your bridal shower.

Print Out Games

Finding bridal shower games and things to do (besides sitting around and watching the bride open her gifts!) is where Pinterest can be your friend. There are multitudes of options to print bridal shower games for your guests. Have you been told you can tell a good story? The bridal shower Mad Libs game, one of my personal favorites, is something you can even make completely on your own. Spend some time looking around Pinterest for different bridal shower games. You’ll be surprised about how many you can easily make on your own or that you can put together with things that you already have. The same as with the decor, the Internet is crawling with free printables for bridal shower games.

Sample Menu

The most expensive part of hosting a bridal shower will be the food. There’s no doubt about that! Here is a sample menu that I put together for a delicious, won’t-break-the-bank bridal shower brunch for my friend. (Keep in mind, prices can fluctuate according to your local grocery store.) I shopped at a mix of Giant, Safeway and Trader Joes and Walmart. You could probably do better than I did on some of these prices if you really worked at it and bought things on sale.

My bridal shower menu was pancakes, bagels, bacon and cinnamon rolls. For a small dessert, since it was brunch after all, I made mini cupcakes and had strawberries for dipping in chocolate. For a bridal shower favor for the guests to take to-go, I made chocolate dipped pretzel rods with sprinkles.

For my bridal shower at home, I had 10 guests. I originally invited 12, but only 10 could make it. Here is a break down of what I purchased:

Main Course:

  • Aunt Jemima Original Pancake Mix –  $2.48
  • Lite Pancake Syrup – $1.99
  • Turkey Bacon – $1.50
  • Panera 1 dozen bagels + cream cheese – $6.99 on Tuesdays (Buy and freeze them until the party!)
  • Butter (for cupcakes, icing and serving) – $4.49
  • 6 Eggs (for cupcakes and pancakes) – $1.29
  • Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls – $1.29

To Drink (Mimosas):

  • Orange Juice – $3.89/Gallon
  • Champagne – $5.99/bottle

For Dessert:

  • Betty Crocker Cake Mix (Chocolate Fudge) – $1.25
  • Confectioner Sugar (to make icing) – $1.99
  • Pint strawberries – $2.99
  • Chocolate chips (for melting and dipping fruit) – $2.49

Favors:

  • Pretzel Rods – $1.50
  • Sprinkles – $0.99
  • Small baggies for wrapping – $0.99
  • Ribbon – $0.99

TOTAL: $43.10

That leaves you with around $7 extra to play with for decorations or flowers, should you wish to have some. As I mentioned above, you can get great flowers from the grocery store for less than $10.

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There you have it! A simple, easy and fun bridal shower brunch in honor of your friend’s big day! What DIY projects have you done as a bridesmaid? We’d love to know!

In the meantime, be sure to look through our DC area wedding idea galleries and find wedding advice from local DC area pros. If that isn’t enough, check out our collection of local DMV weddings from the real world and the best DC area wedding vendors who make it all happen

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