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Step-by-Step Guide to Throwing a Bridal Shower

Pop the bubbly — it's time to celebrate love as we gear up for one of the most significant events before the big day: the bridal shower!

It’s not every day you get to orchestrate such a special occasion, and that’s exactly why you’re here — to gather the best tips and insights for planning the perfect wedding shower for the bride-to-be in your life.

A bridal shower is not just a chance to shower the future bride with gifts and good wishes; it’s an opportunity to throw an exceptional party. Typically organized by the maid-of-honor, mother of the bride, or other close members of the bridal party, the planning can seem daunting without the right guide.

But fear not, from selecting the right date to crafting a thoughtful guest list and setting a realistic budget — we’ve got all your bridal shower planning needs covered right here.

Planning the Perfect Party

To kick off the planning process, you need to narrow down these three things first: the date, the guest list, and the budget.

The Date to Celebrate

The first step in planning is choosing the right date. For us ladies who just can’t wait to celebrate, you might think it’s best to set the bridal shower sooner rather than later. Although we applaud your punctuality and enthusiasm, the key to picking the perfect date is ensuring it isn’t too close or far from the wedding day.

The perfect date should sit from around two months to two weeks before the wedding. It might seem more fun to plan the shower closer to the wedding, but if you are the maid-of-honor or a part of the bridal squad, this might be too much stress and planning to tackle at once.

Be mindful that wedding showers usually fall during the day, so pick a time that will work for most invitees. We suggest planning this bridal shower to sit in the afternoon on the weekend so that most guests can attend.

The Guest List

Now that you have chosen the perfect date for your bridal shower, it’s time to think about who you will invite to your vibrant party.

If the bride has already decided on their wedding invite list, this is the perfect place to start. Nonetheless, if the lovely lady in your life is having a wedding party of over 300, then it’s probably time for a process of elimination — because the sweet spot is to aim for a guest list between 30-40 people. A good rule of thumb is to abide by the following guidelines:

— Bridesmaids or groomsmen

— Close friends

— Relatives and family friends

If your bride has a good relationship with her groom’s family, traditional bridal shower etiquette usually dictates that an invite is extended to their relatives, too.

When in doubt, you can always consult the bride-to-be to make sure she gives her stamp of approval before you start sending out invites.

The Dollars and Cents

Budget planning for the bridal party can be one of the most complicated parts of the whole process, but it’s important to get it right (before you start spending!) After all, you want to plan a picture-perfect shower that is both memorable and manageable.

Generally, you will be looking at $15-$40 per person for your bridal shower — with these figures varying depending on whether you plan to rent a luxurious venue or opt for a more intimate setting. This means you could look at a smaller budget with a few close friends that fall under a few hundred dollars, while a larger party with professional catering could cost upwards of $3,000 or more.

These are the four key factors that will impact cost the most:

  1. Venue

This sets the tone for the event, so choose a location that fits the bride's style and your budget. If the bride prefers a more private setting, you can go for less traditional spaces like someone’s home or a community center, which can significantly reduce costs compared to a popular event space or restaurant. Always ask about what's included in the venue fee, such as chairs and tables, as this could save you additional rental fees.

  1. Catering

Keeping your guests well-fed and hydrated (especially with drinks they all love) is crucial for any gathering. Buffet-style or finger foods often cost less than a full sit-down meal and allow for a more relaxed atmosphere. Also, make sure you take the time of day into consideration - brunch or afternoon tea might be lighter on the wallet compared to an evening event.

  1. Decorations

Depending on the bride’s preference and style, you can either splurge a little (think fresh floral arrangements and customized table settings), or save big and get creative with DIY decor and borrow items like tablecloths and centerpieces from friends who have recently hosted similar events. Seasonal flowers or those bought from local markets can also be more affordable and just as beautiful.

  1. Entertainment

This is an area where costs can really fluctuate depending on the type of entertainment required. Options on the more costly side can include live music, a professional photo booth, and even performers (like magicians or dancers), whereas games, activities, and DIY photo booths are more affordable alternatives.

Setting up the Stage — It’s Time for a Theme

Now that you have nailed down the date, the guest list, and the budget, it’s time to choose a theme that will make the day just that much more memorable!

Choosing a suitable theme is essential because it will influence everything from the food to the decorations you pick.

Although it might be hard to make the final choice, try to think of the theme as a filter to create a picture-perfect experience for everyone who attends. If you don’t know where to start, take a second to think about these key factors:

The Bride’s Style

Is she an old soul who adores vintage vibes? Or a free spirit who dreams of a boho get-together on the beach? Tailoring the theme to her personality will add a special touch to make her and her preferences feel seen.

Seasonal Inspiration

Embrace the season! For our warmer seasons, spring calls for floral themes and pastel colors, while summer would make for a garden party under the sun. When we are heading into the colder seasons, a winter wonderland theme with cozy blankets and robes or a book-themed get-together vibe are great choices to embrace.

Wedding Theme Harmony

If the wedding has a particular theme, it might be worth incorporating elements into the shower for continuity. For example, if the wedding is going abroad for a celebration on the Amalfi coast, an Italian-themed bridal shower with antipasto platters could be the option you’re looking for.

Overall, don’t be afraid to get a little bit creative. Some fun ideas to explore might be a Parisian romantic afternoon tea, a fun Boho Beach Bonanza, or a classic black-tie affair: endless possibilities exist.

The Power of the Shower — What Games and Activities?

Now that the scene has a stunning theme, let's start this party with some games and activities. You should aim for fun and engaging activities for the guests to create long-lasting memories and friendships. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

DIY Activities

Incorporating a DIY element into the bridal shower allows guests to create something beautiful and personalized to bring home. ‘Make a bouquet’ is a fun way to involve guests in the bridal fun. For this activity, you need to lay out different flowers so your guests can make their own bouquets to bring home. This activity will have all guests reveling in the nuptial vibes, but other DIY activities like paint and sip offer a fun alternative.

Classic Games with a Modern Twist

Don’t leave out some of the tried and true favorites! If the groom attends the shower, "He Said, She Said" is a classic game that can be altered to suit your party's needs. Add a photogenic twist with oversized speech bubbles with the bride and groom’s names for a lovely pop of color in your photos.

This mentality can be applied to almost all of our classic wedding and bridal shower games, you just need to get a little creative.

Remember, the key is picking engaging games that encourage interaction between all the guests, even if they don’t know one another. By doing this, you promote laughter and break the ice — creating photo-worthy memories that will elevate your shower to a new level of fun.

Delightful Dishes

Now that we’ve prepared the games and photo opportunities, let’s turn our attention to the show's second-biggest star after the bride-to-be: the food! When it comes to feeding your guests, there are a few options to explore; let's break them down together:

The Catered Feast

Considering a catered option might be the best way to go if you want a stress-free approach.

If you have a theme you are trying to adhere to — a caterer can curate a menu that perfectly aligns with the theme, emphasizing beautiful presentation. For example, a caterer might be best if you’re thinking of a tea party filled with lovely little cakes and the like, but you aren’t confident with your cake-building skills.

It’s worth noting that catering the event will increase costs, so make sure you know who is footing the bill (if it isn’t you), and what they are happy to pay.

Premium Potluck

If the bill looks heavy for the bridal shower menu, you can easily save money with the potluck approach. While it means asking the guest to bring their favorite shared dish, don’t be afraid to ask for their help — if the crowd of guests are close friends and other family members, they will be happy to lend a helping hand to put a smile on the face of the bride-to-be.

Regardless of your route, some thought toward the presentation will go a long way. Get creative with serving platters and tiered cakes to add a nice dimension to your shower — and with a little effort, your guests will have a tasteful experience (literally).

Perfect Presents for the Bride (or the Guests!)

Now that you’ve planned the perfect day, everyone will ask you the age-old question: what should they get the bride-to-be who? Finding perfect bridal shower gift ideas and party favors can feel like navigating a minefield (like the bridal registry). We all want to give something thoughtful and useful, but gift shopping can get tough in the age of #giftideas and #unboxing videos.

Don't fret, we've got some inspiration to spark your creativity and help you and the guests give a gift that the bride will fawn over.

Think Beyond the Registry

If the bride and groom have set up a registry, you don’t have to feel confined. While it's a great starting point, ensure everyone considers the bride's personality and hobbies. For example, suggest getting her a limited edition print of her favorite book if she's a big reader. Or, for an extra special touch, go for personalization. A personalized blanket, glassware set or luggage bag (for their honeymoon) will surely bring a smile.

If you have a gift idea you think she will love, chances are she will!

However, make sure everyone doesn’t feel pressured to give her a physical gift. Sometimes the most cherished gifts are experiences. A weekend getaway for her and her soon-to-be husband might be the perfect present if she loves a good adventure.

But no matter what, choosing a gift from the heart is the most important thing for you and the guests to consider.

Don't Forget about Party Favors

With the bride's present sorted, let's consider the party favors for the guests. If the budget is a significant consideration, consider giving the guests small gifts like bath salts, some tea, or a nice candle.

Bridal shower gifts for the guests aren't essential but are an excellent 'thank you for coming' if there is a budget to spare.

A Picture-Perfect Ending Worth Sharing

As our guide to planning the perfect bridal shower draws to a close, we hope you feel equipped and inspired to create a day that’s as unique and special as the bride-to-be. Remember, the success of the day lies not just in the decorations or the dishes served but in the warmth and joy shared among friends and family. We’d love to hear about your own experiences and tips for throwing a memorable bridal shower. Share your stories on social media to help others in their planning journey. Together, let’s make every bridal shower a heartwarming celebration to cherish.