How To Throw a Bridal Shower

So, your best friend is getting married and just asked you to throw the bridal shower. A daunting task, right? It is no secret that there are many details that go into how to throw a bridal shower. The host of the shower is in charge many tasks. Some of these jobs include picking decorations and ordering the perfect invitations. The host is also expected to organize a venue and choose what food to serve. Giving the bride-to-be a perfect shower can feel nerve-wracking. Lucky for you, there are a few tips and checklists that can help ease your mind if you are in charge of this important task. So, take a deep breathe, tell your best friend you would LOVE to plan it, and keep reading on.

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Bridal party smiling

What is a Bridal Shower?

If you are asked to plan a bridal shower, it would be a good idea to know what the definition of a bridal shower it is. Confusing it with a bachelorette party could be embarrassing, so let’s set the record straight. A bridal shower is an event where those invited bring gifts for the upcoming bride. These gifts are typically meant to help her transition into the married life. A bridal shower is different from a bachelorette party. It is a little more traditional and different gifts are given. Many people choose to travel for their bachelorette party and give fun gifts like lingerie to the bride-to-be. A bridal shower is a single-day event that can take place in a hotel, restaurant, or backyard. The gifts given at a bridal shower can range from cookware to vases to jewelry.

A bridal shower can be given up to two months before the wedding. However, there is a lot of planning between the time you meet with the bride and the actual shower itself. Because planning can be a time-consuming process, it is important to talk to the bride-to-be before planning.  Talk to her about the theme, date, and guestlist for the shower as soon as possible. This will help make the experience much less stressful in the long-run. For a monthly checklist of when each bridal shower task should be done, see our bridal shower checklist.

How Much Does a Bridal Shower Cost?

With all of this planning, you must be thinking about how much everything is going to cost. Contrary to popular belief, bridal showers do not have to be as costly as some people make them out to be. Doing a lunch or a having the party at a mid-range priced restaurant can result in $15 to $40 per person.  If you want to rent out a an expensive venue or have elaborate decorations, the price can range from $40 to $150 per person. Some people choose to hold bridal showers at hotels or country clubs and provide manicures for all. With such a range in pricing, establishing a budget is one of the most important parts of planning. Once that budget is agreed upon, the next step is to talk to the bridal party about splitting the cost. Remember: bridal showers don’t have to be costly! It’s all about being smart with your purchases and looking out for simple and easy DIY projects.

Bridal Shower Item Checklist

Making checklists and organizing your schedule is a big part of planning, but so is teamwork. You are not alone in this, so don’t take on this job without the help of others! Allocating jobs to people that are willing to help will make all of the tasks easier. Buying invitations early and getting creative with food and decorations will prove to be life-saving for the bridal shower, and for your bank account.

Bridal shower pictures hanging up

Picking the Perfect Bridal Shower Invitations

Before sending out invitations, confirm the date with family members to ensure that they will be able to come. You can do this by sending a confirmation email right after the date is picked by the bride. Once you are given the green light on the date, send out invitations  two months before the planned bridal shower. This will help to avoid scheduling conflicts.

When should invitations be purchased? As soon as you have confirmed the date with the bride and family! Invitations can cost as little as $1 and as much as $15 depending on the style you decide to go with. If your bride has a specific theme in mind you can try to match the card to that theme. If not, you can get cards with foil, glitter, floral patterns, or even pictures of the couple on them. These personalized invitations should contain all of the necessary information about the bridal shower. Reference our guide on how to word a bridal shower invitation for more details on what to include.

Bridal Shower Decoration Ideas for Themed and Simple Showers

With the rise of technology and social media, it has been made clear that aesthetic is everything. What better way to create an “insta-worthy” setting than with flowers and balloons! If the bride decides to have a themed bridal shower, then the decorations should correspond with that theme. Some popular themes include beach or tea themed bridal showers. Having vases full of seashells or lace-covered tables is sure to be the perfect backdrop for this special day.

If she has no preference on theme, or wants a simple shower, then there are many decorations you can choose from. Creating a color scheme with colors such as white, light pink, and gold are common. These can be presented with colored balloons and a bridal shower banner for a table or wall. To brighten up the tables, have colorful flowers as table centerpieces. Add a photo wall with compiled pictures of the bride with her family and friends to make the event more personal.

Tasty but Affordable Bridal Shower Menu

What’s one of the best parts of going to any event? Food of course! Tasty food does not have to be expensive, in fact there are many simple recipes to make at home. Bridal showers  tend to include light bites, such as, tea sandwiches, crostini, olives, and cheese with crackers. Instead of slaving away in the kitchen alone the day before the event, split up the tasks with others. Small sandwiches can be prepared the night before. Asking people to arrive early and create a cheese and cracker assortment will save some time before the shower.

In terms of drinks, a mimosa bar with chilled champagne and varying juices is bound to be a hit. For those that don’t drink alcohol you can always make a fizzy punch the morning of. Mixing canned frozen juice with a lemon-lime soda and adding frozen fruit should do the trick! This is something simple that can be thrown in a glass pitcher right before guests arrive.

At the end of the shower it is also typical to have some sort of dessert. You can have a display of cupcakes, decorated cookies, or lemon bars. You can also have the future bride’s favorite cake or another creative shower cake on display throughout the shower.

Bridal shower appetizers

DIY Bridal Shower Games

No bridal shower is complete without games or some sort of activity for guests to participate in. Whether you are having a spa-themed shower and want to make DIY sugar scrub, or you want to play bridal shower bingo, it is important to have an activity for guests. Test how well the guests know the happy couple with bride and groom trivia! For a more sentimental activity have a “My favorite memory” jar. Place a jar with paper on a table near the entrance of the shower. Have all of the guests that enter fill out a slip of paper with their favorite memory of them and the bride.

This is a time for celebration and the more laughs, or even happy cries, the better! Don’t be afraid to get silly with the games, like having people guess famous quotes from romance movies. This is a time to remember! There is no better way to make memories than by laughing from games, or by reminiscing on fond memories.

Do Hosts Have to Give a Bridal Shower Gift?

Throwing the bride a bridal shower should be a gift in itself, right? Yes! Hosts are not expected to give a gift. However, if you don’t want to arrive empty-handed, you can bring a card or small gift such as a candle. The bride may want guests to bring something from her and her future-husband’s registry. Be sure to check with her on whether she wants gifts from the registry, or if she would like to receive other bridal shower gifts. Communicate whatever the bride wants with those on the guestlist so that they know what to look out for while shopping.

What to Leave the Guests: Bridal Shower Favors

It is true that the bridal shower is all about the bride. However, common bridal shower etiquette claims that those who attend the shower should receive a favor before they leave. If there is a theme, try to match the favor to that theme. For example, guests can receive bath bombs if it is spa-themed. If there is no theme, guests can be given a rose shaped bottle opener or cork, a little box of champagne gummy bears, or even a small bottle of champagne.

Bridal showers can feel very hectic, but a lot of it has to do with how organized you are. Remember to please the bride and meet with her before you start planning to see what she wants. Leading up to the bridal shower make it a point to be constantly confirming with either the venue, or others helping you with the shower. You can never be too prepared!

Lastly, don’t forget to breathe! As planner of the bridal shower you may feel tons of pressure. Just remember how much the bride appreciates your help and don’t be afraid to ask for help from others in the process.