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What Should I Know About Planning a Bridal Shower?

By Katie Mohr
Updated May 17, 2024
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Planning a bridal shower for someone you love is a fun and gratifying experience. However, the many aspects of a bridal shower render it a sizable feat, and it should not be tackled alone. One of the first stages of bridal shower planning is determining who will be involved. Often the bridesmaids will coordinate the event together, dividing the tasks as well as the cost. For a thoughtful touch, invite the bride’s mother to help. She’ll greatly appreciate the gesture and be happy to have a role in her daughter’s bridal shower.

Planning a bridal shower really takes off when you have a goal to work towards. With the other party planners, choose a date for the shower. Generally, bridal showers occur eight weeks to four weeks before the wedding. Next, draw up a guest list. Proper etiquette states that only people who have been invited to the wedding should be asked to attend the shower.

The next step in planning a bridal shower is deciding what kind of party you will throw. Although it’s certainly not necessary, a bridal shower theme opens up exciting outlets for creativity while imposing helpful boundaries. Certain themes, such as kitchen and around the clock showers, dictate the type of gifts guests will bring. You can, however, infuse these bridal shower themes into your decorations, menu, and favors, too. Other themes, such as fairy tale and beach themed showers, unite the many bridal shower elements, often with the exception of the gifts.

In these initial stages of planning a bridal shower, let the bride’s interests and personality serve as the measuring rod for all party decisions. After all, a modest bride may not be comfortable at a lingerie bridal shower. Some women may enjoy a champagne brunch while others would love a traditional tea party. A bridal shower is your gift to the bride, so aim to please her above all.

There are three important factors to consider when choosing the bridal shower location. The number of expected guests, your budget, and the amount of available parking will inform your final decision about where to have the shower. Usual locations include someone’s home, a local community hall, or even a private room at a restaurant. Keep in mind that the hostesses pay for all costs.

Send out bridal shower invitations no less than five weeks before the party. You’ll need sufficient time to receive guest responses and order supplies dependent upon the number of attendees, such as favors and cake. When initially planning a bridal shower, select an RSVP date as well as the hostess to whom guests will respond. Include registry information in the invitation if the bride has created an account.

Bridal shower decorations such as balloons and paper lanterns add flair to the festivities. If guests will be seated at tables, you can purchase or make simple centerpieces. Bridal shower food can range from hors d’oeuvres and drinks to an elaborate meal, depending on the time of day and your budget. Cake is a given at bridal showers, although creative options such as personal cupcakes and decadent desserts are a viable alternative to standard sheet cake.

Drafting a party schedule keeps bridal shower events organized and prevents awkward gaps from creeping up between activities. Bridal shower games are a great way to keep guests entertained, not to mention that they make excellent icebreakers among people meeting for the first time. If you need ideas for bridal shower games, consider bridal trivia, bingo, or the classic “dress the bride” game. Distribute small prizes to the game winners.

Favors have quickly become a staple at bridal showers. Guests welcome edible treats such as candy or homemade cookies as well as candles, soaps, or a variety of themed bridal shower favors. Planning a bridal shower is an exciting experience, so be sure to have fun with the many elements involved.

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Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Jul 31, 2014

When I gave my friend a shower, I did hand-written invitations, kept it small and kept the refreshments simple. We had a cake, nuts, pimento cheese finger sandwiches and fresh fruit with dip. I held it in the parlor at my church and it was perfect.

If someone wants to plan a huge shower, hire a planner. Otherwise, keep it small and simple, and that's easier on everyone's budget, which will make everybody happy. You can still have a theme, but keep everything else simple. The point is to show friendship to the bride, and to give gifts to help her start a new home, not to plan the social event of the season. Or that's not how I think about showers, anyway.

By Scrbblchick — On Jul 30, 2014

I went to a bridal shower recently, and there were no games or icebreakers. We all just introduced ourselves and talked about how we met the bride. It was very informal and friendly. None of us had any interest in playing silly games, but the bride is over 30, and we're all just a little old for that kind of thing.

The shower was at the bride's aunt's home and everything was lovely. The refreshments were simple, but tasty, and while it was clearly well-planned, there was nothing elaborate about it. It was a lovely afternoon. We had a nice time.

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