Learn the dos and don'ts for hosting a bridal shower in the workplace.
It’s always nice to have an excuse to have some cake and spend some time socializing at work. It’s also always nice to celebrate happy times for a friend. Whatever your motivation is, throwing an office bridal shower can be a wonderful surprise! However, there are also some tricky waters to navigate before you even get deep into the planning process.
Photo by Mae B Photo; Floral Design by Joe Mineo Creative
Every company has a different office culture, and you want to make sure you’re not committing any crimes of etiquette. You’ll first want to check with the boss(es) to make sure you're even allowed to throw the shower, and see if they’re okay with the time it takes to decorate and participate in the event. There may even be an established protocol for how these types of events are handled.
Be careful if only some people are invited to the wedding. Office showers do tend to be the exception to the rule of only having guests at a shower if they will be guests at the wedding; however it’s probably best when the wedding is an all-or-nothing scenario in terms of invited coworkers. For large offices, sticking to the department of the bride may be best – no one likes to feel pressured to contribute money towards a gift for someone they barely know. You’ll also need to decide if this will be a coed shower with everyone available, or a more traditional party with only the female employees.
Once you’ve received the okay to plan an office bridal shower, it’s time to really get into the planning. Will you all go out to a nice lunch, or host cake and punch in the break room? Will your company supply the food and decorations, or do the employees have to chip in for that as well? If everyone is sharing the cost, then it is acceptable to forgo a gift. Otherwise, everyone can put in a small amount of money (whatever seems comfortable for the individual or your office) to go towards a gift card where the couple is registered. If enough money is pooled, perhaps one of their larger gifts can even be given by the office. Make sure to have everyone sign a card with well-wishes for the bride.
Don’t go overboard with decorations – simple party store streamers and a few balloons are appropriate for the occasion. Skip the games that may be at a standard bridal shower – many people may not have the time, and it can be awkward in an office environment. Do your best not to pressure people into participating as this event should be a fun diversion, not a work obligation. And finally, try to make it a surprise!