Bridal Shower 101: Your Planning Checklist

A bridal shower is a fun and highly anticipated celebration for the bride-to-be, giving her a chance to take a day off from the stresses of wedding planning.

Typically, the maid of honor plans and hosts the shower, yet it’s common for family members, bridesmaids or even the groom’s mother to get involved. It’s a chance to “shower” the bride-to-be or couple with gifts and words of encouragement before they start their life together.

Planning a bridal shower has many steps, so it’s important to start far in advance to work out all the details. Consider a bridal shower etiquette guide to help the direction of your planning and use this step-by-step timeline and checklist to help you stay organized!

Bridal Shower Checklist

3 Months Before

Set a date - The shower can be held anywhere from two weeks to two months before the wedding. Select a date that works best for your circumstances and, if it’s not a surprise, check with the bride. The earlier the better!

Coordinate with the bride - If it’s not a surprise, get the bride’s input on whom to include and specifics details such as the date, theme or style.

Create a budget - To avoid overspending, set a budget and coordinate with the people involved to balance out costs.

Select and book venue - Whether held at a home, an event space or an outdoor location, reserve a venue that best suits the bride’s personality and tastes. Consider the costs in line with your budget.

Decide on theme - Although not necessary, a creative bridal shower theme can liven up the event. It may dictate the drinks, food and activities you choose, so don’t be afraid to have some fun with it!

Create guest list - Although it doesn’t have to align with the wedding invite list, be sure you invite all important figures in the bride’s life. Determine if you want it to be co-ed or just an all ladies affair.

Finalize time - After you choose the date, pick a time to hold the shower. Take into account that a bridal shower typically lasts 2-4 hours.

Select invitations - Bridal shower invitations should tie into the style or theme of the shower. Include directions, attire, registry details, how to RSVP and any other essential details.

2 Months Before

Send a save the date email - If important guests are traveling from out of town, confirm there are no scheduling conflicts.

Collect addresses or emails for invites - Whether you plan on sending an Evite or a physical invite, make a list of all addresses you will need ahead of time.

Create a planning committee - If you need the extra help, get a group together and delegate tasks and roles for each person. Keep communication open to address any questions or concerns.

Start planning - Make a list to finalize decisions on decorations, flowers, favors, music and menu items. Be sure it ties into the theme!

Place rental order - If the venue doesn’t include it already, be sure to reserve tables, chairs and linens as needed.

Consider hiring staff - To serve drinks or food on the day of the event, be sure to book staff in advance if you go that route.

Order special items - Call the bakery, caterer and flower shop of choice to place orders in advance.

1 Month Before

Send out invitations - Give guests about a month to save the special day on their calendar and make accommodations.

Share details with the groom - If the groom will be making a guest appearance at the shower, be sure to send him all the details separately.

Decide on activities - Staying within theme and budget, make a plan for interactive bridal shower themed games or activities. Incorporate music or even a photo booth if it fits!

Order food and drinks - For the catering or bartending service route, place your orders at least a month out.

Check in on committee - Ask the bridesmaids, friends or family members assisting on the committee to confirm their assigned items. Offer to help if they need it.

Decide on a take home favor - Pick a creative gift that guests can bring home. Whether it’s a succulent or wine tumbler, tie it into the theme and place the order for pick up in advance.

The Week Of

Confirm reservations - Make quick calls to all orders to confirm delivery times and details.

Purchase food or drinks - If you’re making food yourself, buy and begin preparations for any menu items that can be made in advance. Also, be sure to purchase spirits if you’re making cocktails.

Pick up decor - To avoid stressing on the day of the event, pick up decorations or flowers the week of.

Assemble take home favors - If your take home gifts require gift wrapping or assembly, put these together in a fun way!

Create floor plan - Put together a venue map to facilitate layout of equipment, tables, decorations and favors.

Touch base with committee - Ask whoever is available if they can come early to help set up on the day of the event.

The Day Of

Set up - Setup tables, chairs, activities, food and drink displays.

Decorate - Whether you use banners, balloons, streamers or a fun photo booth table, be sure to set up your decorations in a way that makes sense for the venue.

Designate gift opening area - Have a specific area that guests can gather around the bride as she opens. Assign someone to keep a list of who gifts the bride what for thank you notes later.

Have fun! - The most important part of the process is to enjoy it. Remember why a bridal shower is so special in the first place–to celebrate the beautiful couple!

Your bridal shower is the perfect chance to gather all the important women in your life, from early childhood friends to your dearest family members. However you decide to throw it, be sure to thank your host with a thoughtful thank you gift and message for organizing the party.