Bridal Shower Tips

Yay! Your best friend is finally getting hitched. It’s time to step up to the plate and usher her out of the single life with a bang. You know bridal shower planning is difficult and stressful, but you take your responsibility seriously so there is no way you’re going to slap something thoughtless together. You intend to invest your heart and soul into planning a party the bride will gush about for years.

Before you roll up your sleeves and dive into planning, it’s important to understand basic bridal shower etiquette.

  • As the date of the nuptials get closer, the bride will be up to her ears in things to do. So for practical reasons, plan the shower at least four to six weeks before the wedding.
  • A bridal shower is for the bride and her closest comrades, so keep the guest list small so everyone can spend time with her. Between 10 and 20 guests is a good rule of thumb.
  • Don’t mention gifts on the invitations. Most people will bring them anyway. However, you don’t want to make the guests feel like the gathering is just a way to solicit gifts. If you set up a registry for the bride, stick with gifts that are modestly priced.
  • If the person isn’t invited to the wedding, don’t invite her to an intimate bridal shower. This will keep the bride from feeling uncomfortable and help avoid feelings of hurt, embarrassment and resentment on the part of the uninvited wedding guest.
  • Tell attendees ahead of time about the attire. This way, no one shows up in a bikini if the event is formal and vice versa. If you base the shower on a theme, letting guests know in advance will also give them time to pull their outfits together.
  • If the bride is hands-on let her have a say in the details of the shower. If you’re planning a surprise shower, enlist the help of her mom, sister or another close relative or friend to help you work out the details.

While the rules of etiquette aren’t carved in stone, using them as a guideline will keep you from overwhelming the bride and reduce the likelihood of humiliating guests.

The Perfect Spot

Table set for an event party or wedding reception, spring theme

Where you hold the bridal shower will depend on your budget and how many guests you need to accommodate. Many traditionalists opt to hold this affair at someone’s home as a way to maintain an intimate feel. While having the party at a friend or relative’s abode is certainly easier on the budget, it’s is not the only option.

You could also host the party in a private room of the bride’s favorite restaurant. If you plan to purchase a certain amount of food, the restaurant will likely let you use the room for free. Hosting the event at a restaurant will whittle down the responsibility of decorating. The only decorations you will need to bring are centerpieces for the table.

If you have a larger budget to work with, consider renting out a modest event venue. Depending on where you are and what type of venue you rent, a small space could cost you anywhere from $300 to $3000. If you rent during nonpeak times, management may reduce the price because there is no demand for the space.

The Theme Sets the Tone

Dessert table for a party

Instead of a hum-drum event, add a little spice by revolving the party around a theme. You can opt for a destination or color-inspired theme. You can also go with an offbeat idea such as a biker-chick theme. Whatever you choose, make sure it incorporates the bride’s favorite places, colors, or interests.

Choose the theme carefully as all the decorations, food and games will revolve around it. Some ideas to consider include:

  • Fashionista
  • Hawaiian luau
  • Paris in the spring
  • Vintage
  • Tuscany
  • Pretty in pink
  • Wild in the Wild West
  • Backyard picnic
  • Spa day
  • Beach bum

The ideas are limitless, so get those creative juices flowing to come up with one that will wow the bride. Search online to find ideas for combining decorations with particular food and cakes to bring the theme to life. If you go with a Hawaiian luau, set up the backyard and deck it out with a spread of such traditional dishes and cocktails as chicken teriyaki, baked Mahi, lava flows and blue Hawaiians.

Paying the Cost

Unless you’re rolling in dough, keeping the cost of the shower manageable will be one of your biggest issues. Naturally, you want to impress the bride, but don’t get so caught up in the heat of planning that you have to take out a second mortgage to cover the cost.

  • Instead of buying and mailing invitations, send evites. If you use this method, keep in mind that not everyone uses the Internet, so be prepared to mail out invitations to these people.
  • Skip the caterer. When you come up with a menu, ask each of the attendees to prepare one of the dishes and bring it to the party. If you’re concerned about others’ cooking skills, simply arm them with recipes of the dishes they are charged with preparing.
  • Choose one type to alcoholic beverage and use it to prepare drinks.
  • Opt for a free venue instead of shelling out money for one.
  • Borrow dishes from friends and family instead of buying disposable ones.
  • Ask attendees to look through their belongings to find things that may fit the theme. After you get the items, sort through them to see what you can use.

Even if you don’t spend a bunch of money, the bride will appreciate the time and effort you put into planning her individualized bridal shower.

Because you love your best friend and want to give her one last hurrah before she struts down the aisle, there is no way you’re going to throw her a shabby bridal shower. With careful planning, you can achieve your goal of making the party one she will remember for a lifetime.