The Step By Step Guide to Planning the Perfect Bridal Shower
Article By | Hannah Holbrook
So your bestie just got engaged. Once the celebratory confetti settles, you’ll realize that you’ve gone from best friend to event planner overnight. If that sends pangs of fear and excitement through your nervous system, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve created this step-by-step guide to help you plan and execute a killer bridal shower, no experience necessary.
Decide on a BUDGET.
We know you want to celebrate your bestie in a BIG way, but before you start picking out décor or a theme, you need to create a spending plan to ensure that your bridal bash doesn’t break the bank. Going into debt, or putting yourself in a financial bind, is not the way to celebrate the bride in your life. So, if you’re hosting a bridal shower, take a realistic look at your finances and come to a conclusion on what you’re willing to spend and why. If you’re feeling the strain of a tighter budget, you can always ask for different members of the bridal party to chip in or contribute by bringing supplies or food. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Pick a DATE & TIME.
It’s not a party until it has a date! We recommend setting a date and starting the planning process about four months out. The bridal shower should take place about two months before the wedding. Most bridal showers take place on the weekends, either in the late morning (around brunch time) or in the mid-late afternoon. You’ll want to consult the bride before you finalize the date to ensure that it works for her schedule and also accommodates her family members.
Decide on the GUEST LIST.
After you’ve settled on the when, the next step while planning a bridal shower is the who. Ask the bride for a list of must-invite people, as well as the home addresses of each guest. The final guest count can be anywhere from 10 to 100, it really depends on the bride, the budget, and the location. Just remember: anyone who is invited to the bridal shower should also be invited to the wedding. Be sure to clear every guest with the bride before adding them to the list.
Select a LOCATION.
Now that you’ve got a date and a head count, it’s time to choose where the shower festivities will take place. Traditionally the host will host! If your home happens to be large enough for the guest list, using your home is a great free and relaxed option for bridal shower fun. However, if your home is not available, or if space is limited, you can consider asking a relative who is close to the bride to host. Want to go a different route altogether? Bridal showers can be hosted at restaurants, parks, spas, private event spaces, or any venue that speaks to the bride’s interests. Feel free to get creative, and don’t feel pressured to figure it all out on your own! Brainstorm with the bride, and if she doesn’t have a preference, ask the bridal party for input. Make sure the location is easy to get to, has ample parking, and has enough space to accommodate all of your guests.
Choose a THEME.
Once you’ve determined the final guest list and you have all the addresses in tow, it’s time to choose a bridal shower theme. Themes aren’t essential, but they’ll add a heck of a lot of fun and personality to your gathering. From the invitations to the food and the décor, a theme is a perfect way to make any party more sophisticated and cohesive. Popular themes include a brunch and bubbly theme, a tea party theme, a rustic theme, a wine tasting theme, a bohemian theme, or even a flower arranging party. Ultimately, whatever you choose should make sense for the bride’s personality and interests.
Next step: invite the people to the party! You’ll want to finalize the guest list, purchase the invitations, and mail them out about six to eight weeks prior to the bridal shower date. This gives guests time to clear their schedules, purchase their gifts, and RSVP.
Plan the MENU.
Once RSVPs start rolling in, you can begin working on the menu for the party. Stick to foods that you know the bride will like, and choose foods that are easily served. If you’re hosting a brunch-themed bridal shower, opt for easy breakfast foods like mini waffles or avocado toast, create a make-your-own-mimosa station, and add a coffee bar option! For a boho-themed shower, a build-your-own-taco station with guacamole and margaritas would be a fun option. Depending on your budget, you can have the meal professionally catered, you can cook the food yourself (hopefully with the help of the bridesmaids!), or you can ask the guests you’re close with if they’d be willing to bring a potluck dish.
Buy the DÉCOR.
Once you’ve figured out the food, it’s time to develop the MOOD. Get ready to shop for décor! You don’t have to go all out unless you want to – things can be as simple or as extravagant as you and the bride want! If money is a concern, there are lots of fun DIY projects that can help you achieve the theme and look you want without spending a fortune. If you want to elevate and personalize the space, look for items such as mylar letter balloons, customized posters, tassel garlands, and photo backdrops. Fresh flowers and candles are great options, too! Amazon has TONS of fun bridal shower décor for a variety of styles and themes – and they’ll ship it right to your doorstep. If you don’t want to wait for shipping, or if you just like to shop in person, craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s have plenty of ready-made bridal shower décor available.
Choose the GAMES.
While you’re shopping for décor, it’s a good idea to also look into bridal shower games to entertain guests at the party. Some of the classic bridal shower games include bridal bingo, wedding mad libs, and trivia about the bride. Games are a good way to help your guests break the ice, especially if many of them have never met before. Plan the games for when there’s a natural lull in the party, such as after everyone has finished eating and before the bride opens her gifts.
Create the PLAYLIST.
One often forgotten detail that requires a bit of forethought is a killer playlist. While music isn’t the main focus of the day, it’s nice to have something playing in the background as guests are arriving, talking, and eating. You can pick fun mood-boosting songs, throwback songs from the bride’s childhood, relaxing jazz, or easy-going acoustic music. Make sure you have a speaker system that works for your space on the day of the shower!