The Bridesmaid’s Guide to Planning a Wedding Shower


Planning a wedding shower may seem complicated, but it's really just a get-together with you, the bride, the groom and their best friends and family.“Planning a wedding shower may seem complicated, but it’s really just a get-together with you, the bride, the groom and their best friends and family.Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Thinkstock

Big flower arrangements, stuffy dresses and boring conversation are all things that probably come to mind when you think about bridal showers. Luckily, you’re throwing a wedding shower, which means that you can invite the guys and make it a true event! With so many fun ideas floating around these days, you can easily create a wonderful experience for the bride, groom and anyone else who comes to the party. Surrounded by loved ones and getting showered with gifts and affection is a huge perk for the affianced couple, and you get to be the one to give it to them. Consider it an important job!

One of the very first things you need to do is solidify a big picture view of the shower. Determine a budget you’re comfortable with and frequently consult it as you plan to make sure you’re staying on track with your finances. If you’re throwing the shower with other bridesmaids and/or groomsmen, divide the costs so everyone pays an equal amount. Next, settle on a date, time and location. Most wedding showers are held up to two months before the wedding and no later than two weeks before.

Then you need to decide on a location. Some wedding showers are big events, with group outings to a faraway location like Las Vegas or Atlantic City, while others more closely resemble a traditional bridal shower and take place at a local spot, often the host’s home. You can also throw the party in a private room at a restaurant or at a sentimental location for the couple, such as the spot of the proposal.

You need to start planning your food options at this point as well. If you want a brunch-themed shower, plan on having it mid-morning rather than in the middle of the afternoon. Be sure to check the bride and groom’s schedule — you don’t want to plan a shower that the guest of honors can’t attend!

Finally, choose a theme. There are so many creative options for wedding showers, you can’t go wrong. Mexican fiesta, tea party, modern chic or picnic lunches are just a few ideas to consider. Think about creative decorations you can use to match the theme, whether it’s checkered tablecloths for a picnic shower or sombreros as centerpieces for a Mexican lunch. If you have the budget, you may even want to travel to a location that fits your theme — imagine a Mexican fiesta in Mexico!

It's All About the Details

In order to plan the perfect shower, you need to make sure the details are well thought out. Ask the bride and groom for a list of people they would like to attend and send out invitations at least four to six weeks in advance. Be sure to include the couple’s wedding registries on the invitation so guests know where to get the goods.

Most people groan at the thought of boring shower games, but they don’t have to be dull! If bridal bingo gives you hives, think outside the box! If the lovebirds are having a DIY wedding, have the guests help create some of the wedding décor. You can even intertwine a game of sorts while the happy couple opens their gifts. As the bride or groom unwraps each present, have the gift-giver explain how they know the couple and a favorite memory they share together. It will be a heartfelt moment that the bride will love infinitely more than bridal trivia, and if the guys are invited, you’re likely to hear about some embarrassing and comedic moments of friendship.

Once you’ve nailed down the details of the event, the execution comes easy! The main thing to think about is the flow of the shower. Most commonly, guests eat and mingle as they arrive, and once everyone is present, the bride and groom begin opening their gifts. There’s time for games during or after the gift-giving and then a bit of free time for mingling before the guests leave. To make things easier on yourself, plan to ask someone, maybe another member of the wedding party, to help with the set up and clean up of the event.

During the shower, keep some tricks up your sleeve to help make the day easier on the bride and groom. Assign someone to keep track of each present and who gave it to help with thank you notes. When the party starts wining down, offer to help the couple carry their gifts to the car. Hopefully, they stocked up on items that will help make their transition into married life a little easier. No matter what though, at least you can rest easy knowing that you threw them a bash to remember.

What’s the Difference between Bridal and Wedding Showers?

Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, but a bridal shower is generally considered to be just for the bride and is a female-only gathering, whereas a wedding shower can include the groom and other guys. Bridal showers are still more common, but wedding showers have been steadily gaining in popularity in recent years.

Lots More Information

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  • Knot, the. "Bridal Shower Ideas." (March 27, 2012)
  • Newton, Susan. "Ask the Shower Diva: Bridal Showers." The Shower Diva. 2009. (April 4, 2012)
  • Post, Emily. "Wedding Etiquette." (March 27, 2012)


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