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Bridal Shower

5 Steps to Bridal Shower Planning & Etiquette

Planning a bridal shower? Learn about the ins and outs of throwing the best bridal shower for your best friend. From who to invite, where to host, and games.

What You Need to Know About Bridal Shower Etiquette

Bridal showers are an important and exciting part of the wedding planning process. This is a chance for friends and family to gather, celebrate, and shower the bride-to-be with gifts before her big day. Planning a bridal shower can be overwhelming, but with a little organization and etiquette know-how, anyone can plan a beautiful and memorable shower that the bride-to-be will cherish forever.

Here’s our 5-step guide to bridal shower etiquette for guests and planning the big day:

  1. Determine the guest list and budget
  2. Choose a venue and theme
  3. Send invitations
  4. Plan the menu and activities
  5. Choose and manage the gift registry

Determine the Guest List and Budget

The first step in planning a bridal shower is to determine the guest list and budget. Be sure to include all close friends and family members, and then double check with the bride no one is missing from the list.

person writing in notebook
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Once the guest list is decided, creating a budget is next on the to do list. This helps with selecting a venue, food, and decorations that are affordable and everyone will be sure to love. A budget is also helpful in determining which aspects of the bridal shower to spend more or less on over others.

To ensure only one bridal shower is planned, our tip is to make sure it is communicated who is throwing it! A bridal shower is traditionally hosted by the maid of honor, but it is not uncommon for the bridesmaids, bridal attendants, or family members to facilitate the planning process or throw one themselves.

Choose a Venue and Theme

Once the guest list and budgets are finalized, deciding on a venue and theme is next! Bridal shower venues can range from backyards to ballrooms, so selecting one that aligns with the bride’s personality and preferences is key.

tree with decor hanging
Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash

The venue also sets the tone for the theme, so make sure the venue will align with whatever theme you are going for. Upon selecting a theme, keep the bride’s hobbies and interests in mind, to ensure she will have a great time.

For example, if the bride enjoys gardening, this could be the perfect theme for her bridal shower. Venues for this theme could include a:

  • Botanical garden
  • Local park
  • Backyard

The Venue Report is a great place to look for the hottest venues across the country, and they’ve even started the research by sharing 20 Unique Bridal Shower Venues for your BFF in the USA.

Send Invitations

Sending out invitations is the next step after the venue and theme selection.

Delivering paper invitations remains the traditional way to let guests know about the occasion, but if you want to go down the sustainable route, electronic invitations sent through a website like Celebration Wishes or email are a great alternative!

Photo by Elizabeth Wahab on Unsplash

Designing invites to match the theme is a pro tip of ours. Using our garden theme example, adding floral stickers to a paper invite, or picking a floral template for e-vites, helps guests get excited about what to expect!

Ensure invitations get sent out at least four to six weeks before the event so guests have enough time to RSVP and prepare. Busy schedules and lost mail are common, so we recommend following up with guests who have not confirmed attendance a week or two before the shower, to get an accurate headcount for planning purposes.

Make sure invites include the date, time, location, RSVP information, and any other important details like registry and gift information. Celebration Wishes is a great place to host the bride-to-be’s registry and manage event details.

Plan the Menu and Activities

Be sure to pick delicious food and drink options to refresh guests while celebrating the bride-to-be.

cheese and cracker plate with drinks along the side
Photo by Evelyn Semenyuk on Unsplash

Deciding whether to serve a full meal or light snacks may depend on the time of day the bridal shower is hosted. It is an etiquette reminder to consider any dietary restrictions of the guests when planning the menu.

Food ideas for our garden example could range from:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Finger sandwiches
  • Cake with edible flowers
  • Cupcakes with floral icing decorations

Nothing gets an individual more hungry than using their mind and body, so plan some fun activities for the guests to work up their appetites! Some traditional activities include quizzes and games, but thinking of things to do along with the theme or revolving around the bride is a great way to make the bridal shower even more special for the bride.

For our garden-loving bride-to-be, a terrarium-building station could be fun for each guest to take home a miniature garden or a floral-arranging workshop for guests to learn how to build beautiful bouquets.

Incorporating activities such as these can help cut the cost of buying party favors to take home, so we recommend planning activities that involve creating or building something to help do just that!

Choose and Manage the Gift Registry

As a registry host, we know the gift registry is an important part of every bridal shower. Choose a registry the bride-to-be will love that includes a variety of price points for guests to choose from. Once the registry is live, make sure someone is in charge of managing the registry by keeping track of what gifts have been purchased and by whom.

sign on a tree that says eat drink and be married
Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash

Follow Etiquette Guidelines

It is important to follow etiquette guidelines when planning and hosting a bridal shower. Here are a few traditional guidelines to keep in mind:

  • It’s not recommended for the bride's family to host the bridal shower (it can be interpreted as a gift grab)
  • The bridal shower is typically hosted by the bridesmaids, friends, or family members outside of the bride's immediate family
  • The bridal shower should be held at least two weeks before the wedding to give the bride time to send thank-you notes and enjoy her gifts
  • Only invite guests who are also invited to the wedding, it can be considered tacky or insensitive to invite someone to the bridal shower but not the wedding
  • The bride should not be involved in planning or hosting the bridal shower, it’s important for her to be surprised and feel like the guest of honor
  • Thank-you notes should be sent to all guests who attend the shower and to those who send gifts, even if they did not attend

Planning and hosting a bridal shower can be a lot of work, but with a little organization and etiquette reminders, it can also be very fun and rewarding for everyone involved. Celebration Wishes is here to help event and registry management run smoothly, so that you can focus on creating a beautiful and memorable bridal shower for the special bride-to-be.

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