A bridal shower is an occasion for a bride's close friends and family members to get together and "shower" the bride with gifts to help her set up her future home with her partner. First time hosting a bridal shower? There's no need to panic. Here's everything you need to know about bridal showers, along with some tips on planning.
Bridal shower etiquette and tips
1. Hosting and paying
Typically, the maid of honor, bridesmaids, or other close friends of the bride host the bridal shower. Traditionally, it was frowned upon for close relatives of the bride to host the event, as it was deemed unseemly to ask for gifts from a relative. But these days, it's perfectly acceptable for family members to host the bridal shower as well.
The host of the shower usually pays for the shower as well, though sometimes that is split with the bridal party. Do not ask other guests to chip in, as that is considered bad etiquette for a bridal shower.
2. Guest list
The bridal shower guest list typically consists of all the women in the wedding party, the bride's close friends, and female relatives of the happy couple.
Although bridal shower guests have traditional been all female, it is not unusual to have coed showers these days with both female and male guests. Regardless, the bride's partner often shows up at the end, usually with a bouquet of flowers or small gifts for the group.
Inviting people to the shower who aren't on the guest list for the wedding is a major faux pas. Ask the bride for a copy of the wedding guest list and have her double-check the final invite list. If the shower is a surprise, get the guest list from her mother or her fiancé. Plan to send out the invitations four to six weeks in advance to give everyone enough time to plan and to get a gift.
The bridal shower can be held anywhere from around a week to six months before the wedding, with the sweet spot in the one- to two-month range. Holding the shower too close to the wedding itself runs the risk of unnecessary added stress to an already hectic time. One exception, though, is if many of the attendees are coming from out of town, it may make sense to host the shower close to the wedding so they can attend as well.
4. Bridal shower venue
The most traditional location for a bridal shower is the host's home. However, that's not always possible or practical. Other options include hosting it at the home of a friend or relative close to the bride, a restaurant, or a banquet hall. The bridal shower venue could also relate to a planned activity for the shower, such as a wine tasting, cooking class, art class, or a pampering spa day.
5. Dress code
It's a good idea to let guests know how formal they should dress. Perhaps there's a theme or a certain color palette you want the guests to dress in for the photos. Let them know ahead of time, but don't expect anything outrageous or unreasonable style- or budget-wise.
6. Food and drink
Food and drinks are always provided at a bridal shower. The time of day may dictate food options, such as pancakes and mimosas for a bridal shower brunch. If the bride has certain favorites, be sure to include those on the menu, or even get some dishes catered from her favorite restaurant. Don't forget desserts to satisfy everyone's sweet tooth.
For drinks, you'll want to include something bubbly and alcoholic to celebrate. For a nice touch, consider creative a signature cocktail for the event. To go all out, get a professional bartender or mixologist to create and serve drinks. Don't forget to include plenty of non-alcoholic options as well.
7. Games and activities
Games are a great way to keep the guests entertained. Classic bridal shower games include guessing trivia about the bride, bridal bingo, and toilet paper wedding dress. Alternatively, include a crafty activity instead or, or in addition to, games. Cute ideas include having the guests make a floral crown, a flower arrangement, or their own lipstick.
Having the bride open gifts is a big part of the bridal shower. Traditionally, the guests sit around the bride as she opens all the gifts. Have a member of the bridal party keep a list of who gave what gift, so the bride can send out thank you cards after the shower.
The ribbons and bows from the presents can also be gathered and turned into a bouquet to be used at the wedding rehearsal in keeping with tradition. Note that is the bride is not comfortable opening gifts in front of guests, don't force her.
Create a playlist to have music in the background. Ask the bride for a list of her favorite songs to include. You can also ask the bride's partner for their input. Another great way is to create a playlist on a music streaming service and ask guests to add to the playlist before the shower.
Planning an unforgettable bridal shower
The tips above will guide you on how to plan a great bridal shower. As with anything else, it pays to start your planning early, including choosing the bridal shower venue. If you don't plan to host the bridal shower at your home or someone else's home, start looking around for bridal shower venues. There are plenty of options available, but start looking early before all the best options are booked.
*This is a sponsored post by Giggster.