The Complete Guide To Planning a Bridal Shower

January 18, 2023

The wedding planning season is packed with events that shower the soon-to-be couple with love, from engagement parties to bachelorette and bachelor parties to a guest's favourite- the bridal shower. So many different functions will take place while planning a wedding, and if you want to make them unforgettable, you need a plan of action.

If you’re the chosen one that gets to plan and host the bridal shower, we’re here to help. This complete guide has everything you need to know.

This pre-wedding party usually happens two to three months before the wedding and gets everyone pumped up for the big day. So, let’s get to it. Here’s your handy guide to planning an epic bridal shower that’ she’ll love. 

The Logistics (Date, Time, Theme, Venue)

The first step in planning a wedding shower is to select the date, time, theme, and venue. Unless you are the bride and planning your own bridal shower, it’s always important to coordinate these details with the couple. 

During the wedding planning stages, the couple will have many tasks to tackle, so you’ll want to ensure that the date and time you select don’t conflict with other things they may be doing. You’ll also want to ensure that the theme is acceptable and not just fun but memorable. 

Who Throws The Bridal Shower?

In the past, the bride's parents typically hosted the bridal shower. But in today’s modern times, these traditions may not be as important to follow. So instead, a friend, a family member, and even the bridesmaids can all be in charge of planning and hosting the wedding shower. But the bride or the couple can also be the hosts. 

Employers may also host wedding showers. Anything is fine today!

Set A Budget

As with any party, the first thing you should do is decide on a budget. Next, you'll need to determine how much you can “afford” and what you “want” to spend it on. The best way to do this is by setting a limit for each aspect of the shower: how much money will be spent on food, how much money will be spent on decorations, and so forth. Setting these limits will help you stay within your budget throughout the planning process.

Is A Bridal Shower A Ladies Only Event?

A wedding shower is a celebration of the bride-to-be, so it's only natural that the party should be all about her. In ancient times, bridal showers were exclusively for women—the bride's mother threw one for her daughter to welcome her into adulthood and prepare her for married life. 

However, these days couples may host bridal showers with their chosen guests from either gender without worrying about offending anyone.

Bridal Shower with brides and her bridesmaids smiling happily

Make The Guest List

Always an essential part of any party, making the guest list can be challenging, and when it comes to organizing bridal showers, you’ll want to consult the couple. This event is generally more intimate and reserved for the couple's closest family and friends but may extend to a few others, like employees that they’re close with or neighbours. 

Always allow the couple to have the final say on who is invited and who isn’t. And always double and triple-check it to ensure you don’t forget someone important. 

Send Out Invitations And Track Responses.

Invitations are a great way to get the party started. Invitations can be sent digitally or via traditional mail services, depending on your preference. You must have a list of all guests attending so that you can create your guest list in advance and keep track of RSVPs as they come in.

If you're looking for a digital option, consider using Evite or Paperless Post. Of course, you can also use traditional paper invitations by sending them through the postal service with stamps or hand-delivering them to your friends and family ahead of time! Just make sure to choose invitations that match your selected theme. 

Choose Food And Drinks For Your Tablescape.

One of the most fun parts of planning a bridal shower is choosing the food and drinks. Of course, it’s a great time to celebrate the cuisine that the bride loves, but you can also mix things up and have fun with the menu. Generally speaking, small bites and hand-held food are typically best at showers as they are short and intimate events.

If you have chosen a specific theme, you should mirror the culinary delights with the theme. And we recommend that you avoid a dessert-only menu. Sure! You’ll want to include some sweets, but you should also offer some tangible food items especially if you’re serving alcohol.

And make sure to get creative and elevate the culinary experience; it will make it more memorable. A taco bar, for example, doesn’t have to be just ground beef or chicken. Instead, you can have a selection of different flavours, such as Korean bbq beef or Spicy Shrimp.

You can also get creative with how you serve the food. Of course, passed plates of appetizers are always a great idea, but you can also have different food stations that encourage socializing and moving throughout the venue. 

Food Ideas For Bridal Showers

  • Caprese skewers (mozzarella, tomato, and basil)
  • Crudité platter with dip
  • Cheese and cracker platter
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Antipasti platter (cured meats, olives, roasted vegetables, etc.)
  • Bruschetta
  • Spinach and artichoke dip with pita chips
  • Baked brie with crostini
  • Mini sandwiches (such as sliders or tea sandwiches)
  • Fruit platter
  • Vegetable platter with dip
  • Stuffed mushrooms: Filled with breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs
  • Mini meatballs: Made with ground beef and pork, served in a marinara sauce
  • Arancini: Fried rice balls stuffed with cheese and meat
  • Focaccia: An Italian flatbread topped with herbs and olive oil

Bridal Shower Dessert Ideas

  • Chocolate-covered strawberries
  • Macarons
  • Gelato
  • Cannoli
  • Tiramisu

Next up: pick drinks! Another great idea that will help make this celebration epic is to create a signature drink that everyone will remember.

Again—this should tie into whatever theme you've chosen for the party; if it's a beach -themed shindig, fresh fruit juices are always excellent alternatives when considering alcoholic beverages (plus they're lower in calories!). 

Bridal Shower Dessert Ideas
Credits: Casey Chae

What about the wedding cake? Check out these tasty wedding cake suggestions!

Here are a few ideas for signature bridal shower drinks:

Signature Drinks:

  • "Love Potion": a fruity cocktail made with vodka, raspberry liqueur, and cranberry juice
  • "Blushing Bride": a mocktail made with cranberry juice, lemonade, and a splash of grenadine
  • "Something Blue": a cocktail made with blue curaçao, vodka, and lemonade

Other ideas include champagne cocktails such as mimosas or bellinis made using fresh fruit juices and champagne instead of just orange juice alone; these would also work great alongside appetizers and small bites. 

Bridal Shower Fashion For The Bride 

Finding the ideal wedding dress is, of course, the most important item on a bride's wedding checklist regarding style. However, when that's over, the real fun can start, and you can focus on every other outfit you have to wear, including bride dresses for bridal showers. 

A bridal shower outfit should feel comfortable, look fabulous in pictures, and suit the theme of your wedding. And if you’re wondering if you have to wear a white bridal shower outfit, we’re here to tell you, nope! Your shower outfit can be anything you want. 

Are you having a disco-themed event? Choose a sparkly sequin outfit, a garden soiree? A beautiful floral print dress would look fantastic. It’s a day to celebrate “you,” so you should wear a bridal shower dress that makes you feel confident and pretty. 

So, if you want to wear a black bridal shower dress, do it! Pink, sure thing! And if you don’t want to wear a dress at all, that’s ok too! Pantsuits are a perfect shower outfit. 

Decide On Entertainment (Games, Music Etc)

Now that you've decided on the location and theme, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty of planning. But first, one central element of a bridal shower is entertainment.

To keep your guests entertained throughout the event, you can plan a few games or activities—some old favourites are:

  • In the "he said/she said" game, guests try to guess who said a series of quotes about love and relationships.
  • In the "how well do you know the bride" game, guests answer questions about the bride to see how well they know her.
  • The "advice for the bride" game, where guests write down their best pieces of marriage advice for the bride.
  • The "don't say wedding" game, where guests try to go the entire shower without saying the word "wedding."

Bridal Shower Favor Ideas

Bridal shower favors are a fantastic way to show your appreciation for the guests who attended your bridal shower. Here are some fantastic bridal shower favor ideas that everyone will love. 

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Heart-shaped measuring spoons
  • Wildflower seed favors
  • “Bride to Bee” jar of honey
  • Bridal shower soap favors

How Long Does A Bridal Shower Last?

How long a bridal shower lasts depends on the number of guests, the venue, and the time of year. A bridal shower is typically between 2 and 4 hours long. If you have an outdoor party in summer, you can expect it to be shorter than if you were hosting an indoor event in winter.

If your goal is to keep things as short as possible, consider starting at 11 am for an afternoon brunch so guests won’t feel rushed to leave before dark.

Bridal Shower Gifts (How much to spend, gift ideas, etc.)

Knowing how much money you should spend on a bridal shower gift is essential. While it can vary for each guest, $50 - $75 is a good rule of thumb for most people. And, of course, you can go higher if you want something more expensive or special.

What kind of gift should I get? The bride will likely appreciate anything personal as long as it isn't too intimate (like lingerie). Intimate gifts are better suited for a lingerie party or the bachelorette party, as grandmothers and other guests won’t be there. 

A great place to shop for a bridal shower gift is on the couple's registry. Many attendees will choose smaller items from the registry and more significant gifts for the wedding present. For example, picture frames, coffee mugs, wine glasses, and other kitchen items make great shower gifts. 

Gifts at a wedding shower are not always required, so if you’re the host, indicate on the invitation if gifts are requested. 

These bridal shower ideas should help you navigate the process of planning an epic event. One that everyone will enjoy and remember. And with the best theme, some awesome decor, and tantalizing culinary delights, it’ll be an unforgettable day. 

And the wedding gift? Come and take a look at our luxury wedding gift ideas!

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