A bridal shower is one of those pre-wedding events where friends and family from both sides get to meet each other and throw a bit of a party. It’s great fun, involving eating, drinking, gifts and games. Organising and hosting the bridal shower is usually the responsibility of the Maid of Honor assisted by close friends, bridal attendants or bridesmaids. What does this entail? Read on!
Don’t break the bank
The host traditionally pays for the bridal shower so you need to decide how much you are willing to spend. While your natural instinct will be to spoil the bride you don’t have to go overboard – she’ll be grateful for even a modest celebration.
Do give yourself enough time
The bridal shower should take place about two months before the big day. Give yourself about four months to plan it. Before you finalize the date of the bridal shower check with the bride to make sure it doesn’t clash with something else on her schedule and that all the main members of her family, and the groom’s, can attend.
Don’t do it all yourself
You might be the one taking the lead but be sure to involve all those who are helping you host. Instead of assigning duties get everyone together at the earliest opportunity and ask what each person is happy to do.
Don’t make this mistake with the invites
Get the bride to provide a list of must-invite people, with home addresses. Depending on where the party is going to take place the guest count should be between 30 and 50 people. Whatever you do make sure that anyone invited to the bridal shower is also invited to the wedding - check this with the bride!
Do I have to host it in my home?
The bridal shower is traditionally held at the host’s house. But if you have insufficient room consider the home of a relative who is close to the bride. If that’s not going to work you can hold the celebration at a restaurant, a private banquet room, or any venue that you think the bride would enjoy (if you’re not sure, ask her!). Also consider the practicalities – easy to get to, ample parking and enough space to accommodate everyone.
Do have a theme
The event will have more personality if there’s a theme running through the invitations, food options, décor and activities. It’s not obligatory, but advisable! You could have a brunch and bubbly theme, an afternoon tea party with cakes and sandwiches, a colour theme (fifty shades of pink?), shabby-chic rustic, Gatsby glamour with cocktails and flapper fashion – be as imaginative as you like! Activities could include a wine tasting session, a ring toss game or bride & groom trivia quiz. Choose a theme and activities that are appropriate to the bride, her personality and tastes.
Foodie dos and don’ts
It’s essential to feed people and your menu needs to be in keeping with your theme. Most bridal showers take place during the late morning or early afternoon so think brunch or luncheon. Does it have to be a full sit-down meal? No, something less expensive and formal will probably work better. Do choose foods that your bride will like, that fit with the time of day and that are easily served – ideally buffet style. Depending on your budget, you can have the meal professionally catered, cook the food yourself (get the bridesmaids to help!) or ask some guests to bring a potluck dish. Don’t forget the drinks – as well as non-alcoholic beverages provide a mimosa or sangria bar so guests can create their own refreshments.
Dos and don’ts of giving
It’s obligatory for guests to bring gifts to a bridal shower so make sure you share the couple's registry information. Do set time aside during the event where everyone sits down with the bride as she opens the presents. Also have an area where guests can place their gift as they arrive. As the bride opens each gift don’t forget to keep a record of who gave what so she can easily write thank-you notes. Do suggest to guests that, given the range of people attending, raunchy gifts are best saved for the bachelorette party!
Do have an itinerary
You don’t have to follow it too strictly but do have a general idea of what’s going to happen at the beginning, middle and end of the bridal shower.
Last but not least
If this list of dos and don’ts seems a bit daunting just remember that you have a team to help you – so use them. Do that and it’ll all go brilliantly. Final do? Have fun!