bow sho!

One of my favorite bridal shower traditions is the ribbon bouquet: A paper plate adorned with the bows and ribbons from the bride’s shower gifts to use as a bouquet during her reception. It’s sentimental and adorable (two of my favorite adjectives). Unfortunately if you’ve not been to many bridal showers, you may not get how to create one of those bouquets.

As the maid of honor at my sister’s shower, the ribbon bouquet was my responsibility and quickly turned into a comedy of errors. First of all, the only plates anyone had were those ultra-heavy-duty cardboard ones — try poking a hole in one of those without almost stabbing yourself. Second, the plate was oval, not round. Third, I just had no idea what I was doing. My sister ended up with a pretty sad-looking bouquet.

Then karma gave me an equally problematic ribbon bouquet for my rehearsal. My future sisters-in-law were in charge of collecting the bows and attaching them to the paper plate. They had a stapler, which seemed to be quite helpful. However, they created a ribbon bonnet instead of a bouquet. (This is either a tradition that I’m not aware of or a form of hazing.) After politely refusing to tie it to my head at the rehearsal, carrying it wasn’t so easy because of its lack of handle.

To make sure more brides end up better faux-quets for their rehearsals, I assembled a few tips from some savvy former bridesmaids:

  • Just make one hole in the middle of the plate and pull all the ribbons through. Tie the ribbons together underneath the hole to keep everything in place and create a handy handle.
  • Ask guests to use ribbons that go along with the wedding colors. At my sister’s shower, all the guests brought ribbons in various shades of pink. Even though the bouquet was quite sad, the colors looked really pretty.
  • Have a few extra ribbons on hand to fill out the bouquet if it looks a little anemic. Thin curling ribbon, for example, isn’t so great for creating a full, lush ribbon bouquets.
  • If you’re just not a DIY-er, get a bow-quet kit or a ribbon organizer to which you can tie the ribbons. No muss, no fuss.
  • FYI: As legend has it, the number of ribbons the bride breaks as she’s opening gifts will be the number of children she has. Tear carefully!