Ideas from Real Simple, Wedding Wire, and The Knot.

  • What is a bridal shower? A bridal shower is a gift-giving party held for a bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding. The history of the custom is rooted not necessarily for the provision of goods for the upcoming matrimonial home (as it has become now), but to provide goods and financial assistance to ensure the wedding may take place.
  • Who hosts a bridal shower? The bridal shower is usually hosted by the bridesmaids, the bride or groom’s mother, or other close female relatives. (And sometimes there is more than one that occurs!)

Early Party Prep

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  • Decide on a budget. Before picking a menu or choosing a theme, you’ll need to figure out the logistics of the shower—the most important part of figuring out how to plan a bridal shower. This means deciding on a budget, and making sure you stick to it. We suggest choosing an amount that you can easily afford and that doesn’t break the bank.
  • Pick a date. Showers should be held anywhere from two weeks to two months before the wedding. Earlier is better, since it’s one less thing for the bride to stress about in the weeks leading up to the big day.
  • Compile a guest list. As the host, you should select the number of guests you’re comfortable inviting. If the shower isn’t a surprise, consult with the bride about exactly whom to include.
  • Choose a theme. This step is optional, however a theme helps to inform the décor, menu, and gifts.
  • Determine the location. Once you’ve finalized the date and have an estimated guest count you should then decide where you want the shower to take place. Sometimes a bridal shower is held at the hostess’ house, but if that’s not an option, you can also hold the party at a nearby venue, such as a local restaurant. Just make sure your location is easy to get to, has ample parking, and, of course, can accommodate all of your guests. Assume that everyone will attend to ensure that you’ll find a venue with an appropriate capacity.
  • Create the invitations. Order invitations online, send e-vites, or take the DIY approach with your paper goods. Include pertinent information like the date, venue, and where the bride is registered. Is the shower a surprise for the bride-to-be? Be sure to clearly state that.

Four to Six Weeks Before the Shower

  • Send invitations. Keep in mind that everyone you invite to the shower must also receive an invitation to the wedding. No exceptions.
  • Decide on decorations. First, confer with the other hosts on your collective budget and DIY skills. You can get crafty or hire local wedding pros as needed (think florists, bakers, and calligraphers).
  • Plan a menu. After you’ve sent out the invitations and the RSVPs start rolling in, you can work on the menu for the party. Our two big pieces of advice for planning the menu is to stick to foods that you know the bride will like, and foods that can be easily served.
  • If it’s a brunch shower, opt for a mimosa bar and serve breakfast foods like mini chicken and waffles. If you are wanting to throw a fiesta bridal shower, then maybe a build-your-own-taco station will be the best option. Just remember that you’ll want a menu that pairs well with the style of your party.
  • Prepare games and activities. After you’ve picked out the necessary bridal shower decor, you’ll need to find some silly, yet highly entertaining, bridal shower games to play at the party. Some of our favorites include Bridal Shower Bingo, scratch-off cards, Mad Libs and more! Bridal shower games are also a great way to break the ice for people who may have never met before. Just plan a time during the shower, possibly after everyone has finished eating, to sit down and play!

The Week Before the Shower

  • Confirm all RSVPs. Call the venue to double-check that your reservation is still in place, and follow up with any guests who have yet to RSVP.

The Week of the Shower

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  • Shop for and prepare food, if necessary. Now is a good time to check in with party guests and confirm who is bringing what.

The Day of the Shower

  • Designate a gift-opening area. Unlike engagement parties, guests are usually required to bring a gift to a bridal shower. There is a set time where everyone will sit down with the bride as she opens the presents. In order to make sure no gift goes misplaced, create an area where guests can place their gift as they arrive, such as on a table or in a traditional “wishing well.” You can easily set up a picnic table and drape some linen or fabric on top if you need to create your own gift station, too! Just make sure as the bride is opening each gift, you record which gift is from who, so she can easily write her thank-you notes!
  • Prepare a toast to the bride. You’ll need to say just a few words during the bridal shower party to thank guests for coming. This also is the perfect time to officially congratulate the bride-to-be. The toast doesn’t have to have to be too formal or too long, just something short and sweet where you introduce yourself and also say some encouraging words.
  • Pass out favors to the bridal shower guests. Lastly, it is always a good idea to give out some kind of favor as another way to say thanks. Bridal shower favors can range from something edible like a frosted cookie, to something wearable like personalized sunglasses. There are a lot of options that can work for any shower theme and guests will love being able to take home the gift too!

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