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 for your bride-to-be coworker can be a wonderful surprise! However, there are also some tricky waters to navigate before you even get deep into the planning process for a get-together at the office with your co-workers.
Every company has a different office culture, and you want to make sure you’re not committing any crimes of etiquette. Even if you're planning a The Office-themed bridal shower that Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute might put together, that doesn't mean your The Office bridal shower theme has to also include etiquette faux pas that might appear on the popular show. Be courteous and respectful of your office environment.
First things first, you’ll 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. Some offices may gladly allow a mimosa bar or the time it takes to put together a Friends-themed bridal shower, while others may not. Make sure the party is 100% okay with your supervisor, manager, boss, etc. Nothing gets in the way of fun like someone asking that the party come to an end because they weren't made aware of the event beforehand.
Photo by Mae B Photo; Floral Design by Joe Mineo Creative
Now for the guest list... Be careful if only some people from your office 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 for those invited to the office shower 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 included.
Once you’ve received the okay to throw 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 get-together 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 as a whole. At the very least, make sure to have everyone sign a card with well-wishes for the bride.
There's no need to go overboard with decorations – simple party store streamers and a few balloons are appropriate for this sort of occasion. Skip the typical games that may be at a standard bridal shower – many people may not have the time during the work day, and it can also be awkward in an office environment. Also, do your best to not pressure people into participating as this event should be a fun diversion from the day-to-day, not a work obligation. And finally, try to make it a surprise!