Celebration – Planning a Bridal Shower

Celebrating a bride and her upcoming wedding is a perfect opportunity to plan a party.  Generally, the maid or matron of honor will host a bridal shower.  Sometimes a family member will wish to honor the bride with a family bridal shower for the bride and groom’s family members.  If a co-worker who is especially close to bride, they might want to host an office bridal shower at the bride’s workplace and invite her co-workers.  If a bridal couple has a special group of friends that they socialize with on weekends, maybe a couple shower would be a great way to include the groom-to-be and have him join in on the fun.  Coordinate with the bride and her mother to see if anyone else is hosting other showers to avoid problems with conflicting dates.

The first step to planning a bridal shower is sit down with the bride and find out what type of party she would like.  This is a very important step because you don’t want to plan an elaborate party when she just wanted a small gathering or vice-versa.  She might want to help make some of the important decisions and could have some definite opinions on the details.

One of the first decisions is to determine the date of the party and always check to confirm that there are no problems with conflicting dates.  Normally the bridal shower is held a month or two before the wedding.  After the date is set, the next step is to decide on the number of guests and check with the bride for a list of names and addresses for the invitations.  A general rule of etiquette is do not invite guests to the bridal shower that are not invited to the wedding, this could possibly create and awkward situation for the bridal couple.  The one exception to this rule is an office bridal shower which usually is scheduled during office hours; this would be a great way to include friends that would not be invited to the wedding which is located out of state.  Another etiquette note is that the bridesmaids are not required to attend multiple showers but they are expected to attend at least one.

In regards to invitations, there are numerous styles and price ranges that are available from a variety of stores or online at various websites.  Another option is to create the invitations with a home and a scrapbook store is a great source for paper and other supplies.  When purchasing the invitations, keep in mind the theme of the bridal shower because this could determine the style of the invitation.  When sending out the invitation it is acceptable to add the bridal couple registry information but the important thing to remember is to send out the invitations early, at least 4-6 weeks before the shower date.

Budget is another important decision and setting a firm budget will help to keep the costs with reasonable amount.  Expenses can quickly get out of hand, so be sure to have a plan and stick to the budget.  This is the time to determine if the party location will be at your home, restaurant or another venue.  The location costs can greatly affect the party’s budget so this is an important decision.  Party items to include in the party budget: invitations, thank you cards (be sure to add postage costs), party decorations including flowers, food and beverages (be sure to include if there are party rental supplies and service staff, caterer or restaurant costs) If you are the host of the shower, it is acceptable to ask for assistance and if you are co-hosting with the other bridesmaids or family members it is also sensible to ask for sharing the expenses involved with the bridal shower.

The party theme is the next decision and this can be the fun part of planning a bridal shower.  A theme should reflect the bride’s personality, her style or color preferences or maybe a favorite activity.  Some ideas and suggestions are listed below:

Tea party – This is always a popular choice for a bridal shower, it can be held in a private home or at a local restaurant and is usually a more formal event.  Small sandwiches and pastries can be served on cake stands or silver platters and of course several pots of different kinds of tea.  Ask the guests to wear their best dress and even a beautiful hat!

Kitchen shower – This is a wonderful way to stock the bridal couple’s kitchen with pots, pans, mixers, crockpots, toaster, etc.  This can be a good opportunity to refer the guests to the bridal couple’s registry.  Guests can also be asked to bring their favorite or perhaps a family favorite recipe.

Linen shower –  This is another way to stock the bridal couple’s home with luxurious sheets and monogrammed pillowcases and fluffy pillow for the bedroom or bath towels, bathrobes and lovely soaps and lotions.  Be sure to check with the bride for her color preferences and include their bridal registry information with the invitations.

Travel shower – This is a great theme for a bridal couple that are about to embark on an exotic honeymoon or maybe they are world travelers for business or pleasure.  Gift suggestions can include luggage, camera equipment, guidebooks, etc.

Lingerie shower – This is a fun shower idea but it can get a little embarrassing for the bride.  Gifts suggestions can include beautiful or sexy lingerie, such as silk nightgowns and bathrobes.   Risqué items are best left to a bachelorette party, we don’t want shock grandma!

Destination shower – This is a great opportunity to travel to a nearby city and it could be a great weekend to bond with close girlfriends.  Suggested destinations could be a fun beach house, a ski trip to the local lodge, a small cabin by the lake, or a luxurious hotel.  A calming weekend at the spa is another suggestion for the bride and her close friends to get pampered with massages, facial, manicures and pedicures.

 Bridal Shower tips and suggestions

  1. Shower invitation idea – Use one of the bridal couple’s engagement photos,   attach to the front of the invitation and print the shower information such as date, time, location, etc. on the inside of the invitation.
  2. Shower game idea – Before the date of the shower, videotape the groom being asked a series of fun questions, then during the shower hand out the list of the questions for the guests to fill in their possible answers.  Play the video of the groom being asked the questions but pause the tape before his answers, ask the bride her answer to the question and then continue the video to find out the groom’s answer.  (this game is like a version of the old television game show of the Newlywed Game but everybody gets involved!)
  3. Shower gift idea – This idea will take a little extra work, but it is worth it in the end!  Ask each guest to bring a photo of themselves with the bride or groom; the photos can be old or new, funny or sentimental.  Set out strips of paper for the guests to write funny captions of sayings, place the photos into an album with the captions, and then pass the album around for the bride and her guests to enjoy at the shower.
  4. Preparing for the thank you notes – When the bride is opening her shower gifts, designate someone to sit beside her to write down the gift and the gift giver’s name so that proper thank you notes can be written after the shower.  This is also a good opportunity for the tradition of creating the rehearsal bouquet with the ribbon and trim from the shower gifts.