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A Complete Guide To Planning The Perfect Bridal Shower
A bridal shower is a beautiful way to congratulate a bride-to-be publicly. It’s not just one of the first pre-wedding parties where friends and family from both sides get to meet, but it’s also full of fun decor, food, gifts, and games—and it’s the perfect excuse to dress up! Consider this your one-stop shop for bridal shower planning advice and ideas.
This ultimate guide covers the bridal shower planning process from start to end, including game ideas, a bridal shower itinerary, and more, whether you’re a seasoned bridal shower planner in need of some last-minute help or hosting your first party and have no idea where to begin. From selecting a location to choosing a theme and beyond.
First And Foremost, What Happens At A Bridal Shower?
Bridal showers are generally all-female affairs attended by the bride, her bridesmaids, and close female relatives on both sides, such as grandmothers, aunts, and cousins.
A traditional bridal shower program includes eating a seated dinner or casual hors d’oeuvres, playing games, and having time for attendees to speak.
The primary event is when you shower and treat the bride—that is when she receives her gifts, which are often items from the couple’s wedding registry. Many wedding showers are themed to match the bride’s preferences, such as a vintage-style tea party or a tropical island-themed party.
Who Organizes The Bridal Shower?
The maid of honor is usually in charge of planning and organizing a wedding shower. Many etiquette books frown on family-member-hosted bridal showers because it may be considered disrespectful or greedy for the family to beg for gifts for their own relative; nevertheless, in recent years, it has become totally acceptable.
Involve the bride in the planning phase unless it’s a surprise. If she hasn’t already done so, request that she set up a registry. Perhaps she has a specific shower theme in mind, such as a lingerie shower, a luau shower, or a disco shower.
For an informal, casual shower, the host usually pays for everything. Still, for a more lavish shower, the host may approach the other bridesmaids early in the planning process and ask them about dividing costs or chipping in. Aside from financial assistance, the host can and should enlist the help of the bridesmaids in planning, setting up, decorating, and so on.
In some situations, it is appropriate for all guests to contribute to shower costs.
Where Should the Bridal Shower Be Held?
A restaurant, a private banquet space, or any other place that suits the bride’s interests, like an art museum or spa, are also acceptable venues for a bridal shower. When in doubt, ask the bride for the advice! The most important thing is to make sure that the venue is convenient for everyone who has been invited, has plenty of parking, and has space for all of your guests.
When Should the Bridal Shower Take Place?
A bridal shower might take place anywhere between six months and a week before the wedding. If many guests are traveling from out of town, it may make sense to hold it closer to the wedding so that they can attend.
Four to eight weeks before the wedding celebration is a good rule of thumb since it produces just enough enthusiasm without adding to the bride’s stress.
A wedding shower can be held at any time of day. Many wedding showers are hosted as a luncheon or dinner celebration in the afternoon or early evening. Brunch bridal showers are very prevalent.
Who Should Be Invited?
You want to ensure that you’re not asking anyone to attend the shower who isn’t also invited to the wedding celebration, and the only way to do so is to obtain the wedding guest list. Request a copy from the bride or, if the shower is a surprise, from her mother or fiancé.
Remember to invite both the bride’s and groom’s close female relatives, as well as all of the wedding party’s women and the bride’s special and close acquaintances. While traditionally solely women attended wedding showers, many are now coed gatherings that honor both the bride and groom, also known as a “Jack and Jill” shower.
Before deciding whether to include guys in the shower, collaborate with the groom-to-be to ensure that he is okay and comfortable attending a shower and to request a suitable male guest list if the response is “yes.”
What Happens In A Bridal Shower?
The majority of the time during the wedding shower will be spent eating, laughing, telling tales, and unwrapping gifts. Food can be as basic as light appetizers, crudités, and sweets or as lavish as a themed buffet honoring the couple.
Play some decent music in the background while the bride opens her gifts. Then, assign someone to record the presents and their givers to make thank-you message writing easier. Fun bridal shower games are a terrific way to keep the celebration rolling if they are appropriate for the event area.
Steps On How To Prepare For A Bridal Shower
Establish a wedding shower budget
The first step in wedding shower planning is settling on a budget before deciding on food or a theme. The host usually pays for the shower, and while your initial reaction may be to go all out and lavish the bride, we recommend choosing an amount that you can comfortably afford without breaking the bank. We guarantee she’ll be grateful anyway!
Decide on a date for the shower.
We recommend starting the bridal shower planning at least six months before the big day and no less than four months. The bridal shower should be held approximately two months before the wedding; talk with the bride before finalizing the date to ensure that it fits her schedule as well as her family members.
Make a guest list for the bridal shower.
When preparing a wedding shower, the next step is to decide who will attend. Inquire with the bride about a list of persons who must be invited, as well as the addresses of each guest.
Depending on where you plan to have the party, the ultimate guest count should be between 30 and 50 individuals (more on that in a minute). Remember that everybody invited to the bridal shower should also be invited to the wedding, including children, so confirm each attendee with the bride before adding them to the guest list.
Decide on a location for the shower.
Once you’ve decided on a date and an approximate guest count, you should consider where the party will be held. The most traditional choice is to host the wedding shower at your home if you have enough space. If not, consider the house of a close relative of the bride.
A bridal shower can also be held at a restaurant, a private banquet, or any location that appeals to the bride’s interests, such as an art gallery or spa. When in doubt, consult with the bride!
Most essential, ensure that the location is easily accessible, has plenty of parking for the guests, and has just enough space to accommodate all of your guests, assuming everyone you invite will attend.
Decide on a bridal shower theme.
When you’ve finished collecting addresses, it’s time to choose a bridal shower theme, and the bride-to-be has authorized the final guest list. While a theme isn’t required for bridal shower planning, it may be a great way to bring some personality to the party through invitations, food options, and decoration.
Feel free to be as creative as you want—for example, a brunch and bubbly theme, a rustic theme, a wine-tasting theme, or even a flower-arranging party are all popular alternatives. But, whatever you decide, it should be appropriate for the bride’s personality and everyday interests.
Distribute the shower invitations.
Plan on finalizing, purchasing, and mailing out bridal shower invitations six to eight weeks before the event. This allows guests plenty of time to clear or move around their schedules, buy a present, and notify you if they cannot come.
Create a menu for the bridal shower.
After you’ve sent out the invitations and begun receiving RSVPs, you may start arranging the celebration feast. Our primary advice for menu planning is to stick to foods you know the bride will enjoy and select quickly served-items.
For example, if you’re throwing a brunch-themed wedding shower, consider serving mimosas, coffee beverages, and breakfast items like tiny waffles or salmon toast. For a boho-themed shower, a build-your-own-taco station with guacamole and margaritas would be a great option.
Depending on your budget, you can have the meal professionally catered, cook it yourself (hopefully with the help of the bridesmaids), or ask close friends and family to bring a potluck dish.
Purchase the bridal shower decorations.
Now comes the exciting part: decorating! Once you’ve decided on a bridal shower theme, it’s time to start looking for bridal shower decorations.
You don’t have to go overboard if you don’t want to—look for elements like mylar letter balloons, personalized posters, tassel garlands, and photo backgrounds that will instantly make the venue feel unique for the bride. Fresh flowers and candles are also excellent choices!
Plan some games for the bridal shower.
While you’re looking for decor, look into bridal shower activities to keep your guests entertained at the party. Bridal bingo, wedding games, and guessing information about the bride are all traditional bridal shower games.
Games can assist your visitors in breaking the ice, especially if many of them have never met before. Plan the activities for a natural pause in the bridal shower schedule, such as after everyone has done eating and before the bride receives her gifts.
Make an upbeat playlist.
While music isn’t the primary focus of the day, it’s lovely to have some background noise while guests arrive, chat, and enjoy their beverages. So make a bridal shower playlist of mood-boosting and age-appropriate songs—bonus points if they are about romance or marriage!
What To Do During A Bridal Shower?
- Create a bridal shower gift station.
Unlike at an engagement party, where gifts are optional, visitors at a bridal shower are typically expected to bring a gift. During the wedding shower schedule, everyone will gather around the bride to watch her receive her gifts.
Create a space where guests can lay their gift as they arrive, such as on a table or in a traditional “wishing well,” to ensure that no gift is misplaced.
If you need to make your own gift station, you may easily set up a picnic table and drape some linen or cloth on top. You may consider taking note of the gifts from each visitor when the bride opens them so she can compose her thank-you cards!
- Make a bouquet of ribbons.
While the bride-to-be is unwrapping her gifts, have a member of the wedding party gather all of the ribbons to make a lovely ornamental bouquet. It’s a custom for the bride to take the ribbon bouquet from her bridal shower down the aisle during the wedding rehearsal, not just an excellent keepsake or a check on how to prepare a bridal shower list.
- Make a bride-to-be toast.
You’ll only need to speak a few words to thank guests for arriving near the end of the wedding shower timeline. This is also a perfect moment to congratulate the bride-to-be formally. The toast doesn’t have to be long or formal; simply something short and sweet in which you introduce yourself and express some encouraging words.
- Distribute bridal shower favors to attendees.
Finally, as another method to express gratitude, it is always a good idea to offer a favor. Bridal shower favors can range from edible, such as a frosted cookie, to wearable, such as personalized sunglasses. Many variations would work for any shower theme, and guests will appreciate being able to take the present home with them!
It takes steel nerves to plan a bridal shower and insane expertise to execute it successfully. Fortunately for you, we have plenty of both. So we hope this article has everything you need to know to plan a bridal shower.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it necessary to have more than one bridal shower?
This is pretty common. The bride’s coworkers frequently organize a second shower. Another scenario in which a second bridal party can be appropriate is if the guest list ends up being too large.
You may arrange one shower for the bridal party and friends and another for close family members (The maid of honor could plan both of these events)
When is the best time to send out wedding shower invitations?
Wedding shower invitations should be sent out 6-8 weeks before the event. You want to give guests enough time to make travel arrangements.
Make sure that all attendees RSVP to only one person. For example, if the maid of honor is hosting the shower, please return all RSVPs to her. That way, everything stays in order.
Who is in charge of organizing the bridal shower?
The maid or matron of honor is generally in charge of organizing and hosting the bridal shower. Bridesmaids, parents, and other relatives frequently pitch in by decorating, cooking, and managing the party’s logistics.
Who should pay for the bridal shower?
The host generally pays for the bridal shower. However, you can share the costs evenly if you are co-hosting the shower with bridesmaids or other relatives.
What is the cost of a bridal shower?
When it comes to arranging a wedding shower, no set amount of money should be spent. The cost will vary based on the party’s location, the number of guests invited, the décor, and the food and beverages offered. However, you can arrange a wedding shower on a budget by hosting it at your home, keeping the food and drinks basic, and foregoing costly favors.
Do you receive a bridal shower and a wedding gift?
It is customary to bring a present for the bride in addition to the wedding gift for the pair when attending a bridal shower. Depending on your relationship with the bride, you should spend between $25 and $75 on a bridal shower present.
What is the best food to serve at a bridal shower?
The bridal shower menu should reflect the party’s theme, time of day, and the bride’s personal tastes. For example, if she enjoys PB&J sandwiches, serve bite-sized versions as appetizers or desserts. Also, consider having a catered meal from her favorite restaurant if your budget allows it.
Bridal shower menus frequently include crudités, cheese plates, fresh fruit, salads, and pasta dishes. Also, provide a range of sweet goodies such as pastries, cupcakes, brownies, and doughnuts. Finally, don’t forget about the drinks! Set up a DIY mimosa or sangria bar in addition to non-alcoholic beverages so attendees can make their own refreshments.
How long should a bridal shower last?
The average bridal shower lasts between two and four hours. They are usually held in the late morning or early afternoon—think brunch or lunchtime.