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Step-By-Step Guide to Planning a Bridal Shower

As anyone who has ever been in a wedding or gotten married can tell you, there is a lot of planning that goes into that big day. The bride has a huge amount of things to plan and get in order. This includes the big things, like finding a dress and reception hall, but also little things we wouldn’t otherwise think of. Apparently you have a huge selection of bride and groom glasses for the champagne toast, you have to find the perfect place settings, and figure out who Aunt Mary will sit next to since she no longer speaks to Cousin Jim. Unfortunately, it isn’t all tasting cakes and trying on pretty dresses.

For this reason it’s up to the bridal party to do their best to help relieve the stress. One important aspect of this is planning the bridal shower. Here is a step-by-step guide on planning the bridal shower in a way that is exciting, but not stressful for the bride-to-be.

Initial Planning

The bridal shower is the event that really starts the ball rolling for the wedding. It gets everyone excited about the bachelor and bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinner, and the wedding itself. As the first big event, you want it to go well. First you need to find a date about two months before the wedding. Make sure you pick a day that works for the bride’s closest family members and friends. Trying to work around everyone’s schedules isn’t always possible, but you want to include as many of the important people as possible.

After choosing a date, start looking at venues. You can always have the shower in someone’s home or backyard. However, if you don’t feel your home is big enough, or you like the idea of getting out for the day, take a look at restaurants. You’ll want to choose a place in a central location to most of the guests so they don’t have to drive too far. Some wedding venues include space for bridal shower in the wedding package. If that is the case, make sure you get the name of a contact person from the bride or groom. If not, try to find a restaurant that the bride particularly likes, and you know has good food. No one wants to leave a shower hungry because they couldn’t eat anything being served.

The venue will likely want to know how many people are attending about two weeks before the event. For this reason, you should send invitations out six to eight weeks beforehand. This ensures that even far away guests will have plenty of time to get them in the mail, check their calendars, and give you their response. You can buy invitations at stores like Michaels or Target. You can also order them online at websites such as Shutterfly. Get a copy of the guest list from the couple so you don’t leave any of the women out.

Decorations

The type and amount of decorations you chose to use is completely up to you and the bride. Having the shower in a restaurant generally means you will use less of your own decorations, but you can always contact someone from the venue and ask if decorating is okay! If you want to use a lot of decorations, consider having a themed bridal shower. Choose a theme that represents the bride’s personality and interests- the sky is the limit! Some fun ideas include having a mimosa bar or ice cream social, or choosing a color theme like black-and-white or neon. Again, make sure you check with the venue before bring in food and drink or decorations.   

Games

Another way to make bridal showers interesting is by having games for the guests to play. This helps break the ice if there are a lot of people who don’t know each other, and keeps them interested while waiting to eat or watch the bride open her presents. One fan favorite game is “What’s In Your Purse?” This game asks guests to check off how many items they have in their purse, from everyday items to completely obscure knickknacks. You can include any articles you want, and look at the game sheet below for inspiration.

Other fun games include “How Well do You Know the Bride?” which is a way to see who knows the most random knowledge about the bride! Ask your guests to write down answers to question such as “where did the bride attend elementary school”, “where was the bride and groom’s first date”, and “where did the bride find her wedding dress.” The person who gets the most answers right wins a prize. You can also quiz the guests’ movie knowledge by asking them to match quotes about love and romance to the correct movie. Play “Match that Movie Quote” using the bride’s favorite romance or romantic comedy films for a personal touch.

You’ll probably only have enough prizes for one guest per game, so you may have to use tie breakers. An easy tie breaker is to choose the winner with the birthday closest to the wedding date, or closest to the bride’s birthday. If both guests are married you can do the same thing with their anniversary dates.

Opening Gifts

Throughout the shower, hand out notecards to all of the guests. Have them write down their favorite memory of the bride/ couple on one side, and their name on the other. When the bride sits down to open her gifts, have her read aloud all of the memories and try to guess who wrote each one. This is a fun way to commemorate the good times, and also can be a keepsake for the bride. You should also have a notebook prepared to write down what gifts the bride receives and who they come from. This notebook can be passed out to the guests beforehand so they can write a message to the couple. Have the person writing down the gifts also write down the bride’s reactions to each present- they can be surprisingly funny to look back at! Consider keeping the guests interested by setting a timer for 10 or 15 minutes when the bride starts opening gifts. Whoever’s gift she’s opening when the timer goes off gets a prize!

Good luck with the planning, and enjoy!

Make sure you also check out our Maid of Honor’s guide to planning a bachelorette party.

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