Are you a Maid/Matron of honor or a bridesmaid planning a bridal shower and don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re a bride wanting to pass along the information to help your girls out? Either way, we’ll be diving into everything you need to know on how to plan a bridal shower, so grab your favorite beverage and enjoy the read!
A bridal shower is the perfect way to officially celebrate the bride-to-be, as it’s one of the first celebrations to kick off the wedding festivities. Surrounded by close friends and family, guests usually enjoy hors d’oeuvres and drinks. They often play games and “shower” the guest of honor with gifts and well wishes.
Discuss payment & a budget
First and foremost, you’ll want to create a budget that you, or the group, is willing to abide by. If all of the bridesmaids are hosting, then choosing a budget and splitting the costs equally is typically the way to go. Be sure to discuss expectations of when to collect money so everyone has a fair amount of time in budget planning.
Set a date, location and time
Be sure to collect any and all dates the bride-to-be has available first. You’ll then want to consider any location or venue options that fit your approximate guest list and vision for the event. From there, discuss with the other bridesmaids to set a date and time. Booking venues in advance is something we more than highly recommend.
This can coincide with the step above. Collect a guest list from the bride-to-be along with their address (or emails) for invitations. You’ll then need to decide on virtual or paper invitations. If you are in a time crunch, virtual invites might be the way to go!
While having a theme for a bridal shower is not at all essential, you may find it to be helpful and can be the perfect way to add some personality to the decor, food, playlist, invitations and more. Choosing a theme of the bridal shower can be as simple as a color scheme, or as substantial as disco, tropical, vintage, seasonal, holiday, boho, movie, or tea party themed etc! This is a fun way to make the event even more personal to the bride-to-be.
Sending out invitations
Once you have the details on who will be invited, where and when it will be hosted, and the theme of the party, the next step is to send out your invitations to the guest list provided! To give the guests a fair amount of time to plan ahead, and purchase a gift, these invitations should ideally be sent six to eight weeks prior to the event. Be sure to add a contact for RSVP’s as this will be helpful when ordering food and beverages, as well as the guest count for the venue.
Planning the menu & bar
This can be one of the bigger expenses and it’s important to look at your options. From a fully catered brunch, to heavy appetizers, many caterers have amazing menus for this type of event. If you’re on a budget maybe you look at more of a “potluck” type party. The same can go with beverages. Some great options are mimosas, a coffee bar, or fun seasonal or wedding themed drinks. (Think “The Blushing Bride”)
Choosing and purchasing decor
Since you’ve already decided on a theme, and your menu is set, you will now know how much you have left in your budget to account for decor. This can be a lot of fun! There’s no need to go all out, unless you want to of course, so looking for items like a balloon garland/arch, or a backdrop for photos, personalized banners or bar napkins, fresh flowers and even candles make for the perfect way to tie in the decor with any theme.
Choose bridal shower games
Games are such a great way to sort of “break the ice” between guests, especially if they’re meeting each other for the first time. This will get people interacting and getting to know each other over their knowledge and love for the couple! You’ll want to plan the games strategically within the timeline where there is natural “down time” such as towards the end of everyone eating and right before opening gifts. If you anticipate the bride having many gifts to open, throwing a game halfway through so she and the guests can have a small break is also a great idea. You can even start the event by playing a game to really get things rolling – and that way the guests interact with each other right off the bat!
Create a ribbon bouquet
Grab a paper or plastic plate, and cut an “X” in the middle! Every bow or ribbon the bride unwraps from a gift, you’ll tie together on the plate to create a bouquet! Be sure to hold onto this bouquet as you will then give it to the bride to walk down the aisle with during rehearsal. So cute!
Create a music playlist
This doesn’t have to be time consuming. You can ask the bride for her favorite playlists and shuffle those songs throughout the event. If there’s a few songs you know are her favs, be sure they get played!
Favor are not essential when it comes to “how to plan a bridal shower”, but can be another way to make your event pop with personality! You can place these at guests’ seats, by the guest book, or by the door on the way in/out whichever you choose that fits right with the favor and design of the event!
10:00am: Bridesmaids arrive at the venue to start setting up the decor, and food/beverage stations.
1:00pm: Guests start arriving and mingling with one another.
1:30pm: Host can announce that the food and beverage stations are available.
2:30pm: Once people have their plates and are almost finished, pass out the first game to start playing.
3:00pm: After the game, the bride will start opening her gifts.
3:15pm: If you do decide to play another quick game halfway through, do so now and then have the bride finish opening her gifts.
3:30pm: Make a toast to the bride and thank everyone for coming and showing their love and support!
4:00pm: The event is now over and the guests start to depart. Bridesmaids/hosts start cleaning up and helping the bride with her gifts.
If you haven’t already read our post on “How To Create the Perfect DIY Wedding Day Timeline” you’re in for a treat! We also highly suggest you grab our FREE Wedding Day Checklist to help you stay organized for your special day! (scroll halfway down this page!!)
At The Wedding Duo, we’re known for providing virtual wedding planning services and we’d love for you to check out our recent blog post on “What to Expect When Hiring a Virtual Wedding Planner” or simply browse our virtual wedding planning website page for more information!
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