Before you begin your planning, talk to the bride. Ask questions about what type of bridal shower she would like to have? Does she want an all-girls bridal shower or co-ed wedding shower? Does she prefer to have an afternoon tea party or an evening dinner party? Does she have a particular color-scheme or bridal shower theme in mind? Does she want to serve alcoholic beverages? While most of the bridal shower details will be up to you, make sure to incorporate the bride-to-be's preferences and personality as much as possible.
Determine the Budget
The cost of a bridal shower will vary depending on the number of guests, the menu, drinks, decorations, favors, and the location of the event. A budget will also help in determine the number of guests you can invite. If you are the only one hosting the bridal shower, do not be afraid to ask other members of the bridal party to share in the cost of the shower.
Make the Guest List
When creating the bridal shower guest list be sure to include the bride's mother, female siblings, soon-to-be mother-in-law, bridesmaids, maid of honor, close family members, friends and co-workers. Keep in mind that those you invite to the bridal shower should also be invited to the wedding itself.
Location & Time
Next, you will need to choose the date. The wedding shower can take place anywhere from six months to a week prior to the wedding. Typically, most wedding shower celebrations are scheduled one or two months before the wedding day.
When picking the date consider the following...
- Where do most of the guests live? You will want to schedule according to what will be convenient for the out-of-town guests, it could be well in advance of the big day or closer to the event. Just be sure to schedule it far enough in advance so everyone can make appropriate travel plans. If most of the guests are local, then you will have more scheduling options.
- When are the other pre-wedding celebrations? You do not want scheduling conflicts, check with the bride and or family members about dates and times of all the pre-nuptial events.
The bridal shower venue can be at someone's home, a restaurant, a reception hall, or a location that is significant to the bride and groom-to-be. When choosing the location consider the brides personality and the budget.
Having a bridal shower theme is completely optional, but having a theme can make the celebration fun and interesting. Having a theme can also make planning easier because everything can be coordinated with the theme, from the invitations to the gifts. Be sure that the theme reflects the bride-to-be's personality and interests.
Bridal shower themes can vary from traditional to modern, but whatever theme is chosen just using a little creativity can make for a unique and special celebration. Here are a few bridal shower theme ideas:
- Alphabet Bridal Shower - A great theme to reinforce that it is all about the bride-to-be, because everything revolves around the letters of her name. From the decorations to the wrapping on the gifts, the letters of the bride-to-be's name can be incorporated. You could also use the letters of the alphabet, assign each guest a letter, and that tell them to choose a gift that begins with their assigned letter. For example, the guest assigned with the letter "C" might bring a cookbook or a cashmere blanket.
- Kitchen Shower - This is a traditional theme that of course has the guests bring gifts related to cooking and the kitchen. This is a great bridal shower theme for couples just starting out or for the couples that love cooking. Incorporate the kitchen theme by having guests write down their favorite recipe to give to the bride and bring along their favorite dishes to share with everyone.
- Honeymoon Shower - This is a great theme for that couple who's hobbies include traveling or to help the couple that may be paying for the honeymoon themselves. Find out where the couple will be going for their honeymoon incorporate this into everything for the decorations to food. Have guests bring gifts that are travel-related or that represent the location they will be visiting, such as food or travel guides. Guests could also purchase extras and upgrades for the honeymoon, such as an experience gift or spa treatment.
Check out this page for more wedding shower theme ideas that are great for Couples Wedding Showers.
The Bridal Shower invitations can be as formal or as informal as you decide, if there is a theme, then the invitations should reflect the theme. Invitations for the shower should be sent no later than 3 to 4 weeks before the date of the even, also invitations should only be sent to those that are invited to the wedding. When sending out bridal shower invitations, be sure to include all of the necessary information for your guests.
Be sure that the following information is included:
- Time and date
- Location and address, you may even want to include driving directions
- Shower theme information
- RSVP date with contact name and phone number
- Where the couple is registered
- If the shower is a surprise, be sure that it is clearly stated and very noticeable
Food & Drinks
Traditionally food is served at a bridal shower, the menu you serve can be influenced by the location, time of the day and the theme. What is served is really up to you, there are no set menus for bridal showers, you could serve anything from a full lunch or dinner to finger foods. Whatever yo decide on the menu be sure to include a cake or cupcakes, be sure that it coordinates with the bridal shower theme or color scheme.
Remember, that if the location of the shower is a restaurant that the guests are not expected to pay for their meals, the tab should be paid by the hostess and co-hostesses.
Bridal shower favors are a great way to thank the guests for coming, and as a special reminder of the celebration. Bridal shower favors can be anything from something your guests can eat to a personalized keepsake. But, keep in mind that bridal shower favors are not mandatory and if your budget is tight, then skip the favors.
Games & Activities
There are many different bridal shower games to choose from and are a great way to break the ice and get your guests to mingling. Bridal Shower Games can also be coordinated with your theme and there are even games that are great for co-ed bridal showers. Check out our Bridal Shower Games page for some great ideas. If you decide to play games do not plan too many, 2 or 3 games will be enough, and choose games that will be fun for all your guests to play.
If you choose not to play games, then plan an activity that will get the guests involved and will let them be creative, for example you could plan a cooking class or a pottery painting party.