If you are currently planning a bridal shower, I’m guessing that what may have seemed like fun and games at the beginning, may not feel quite the same now that you are into it. Coordinating dates, finding the perfect location, deciding on a menu and entertainment all while hoping it’s absolutely perfect for your very dear bride-to-be may feel more like work than play. While pretty much anyone can plan a great bridal shower, it does require some time and effort so being prepared from the time you begin planning will go a long way toward keeping things moving along smoothly. Whether you’re party planning on your own, or you have some extra hands, and minds to help, today I’m sharing my complete bridal shower planning checklist to help you start things off right!
My goal with this checklist is for it to be your go-to guide that walks you through the process complete with information for before, during and after the special event. If you missed my tips on planning a shower on a budget you should check that out too and if you are wondering about any etiquette that you may want to be aware of, I’ve got you covered there to. So now it’s time to get started.
Like I said before, anyone can plan a beautiful bridal shower to honor the deserving bride-to-be in your life. While it is more common today to see the Mother of the Bride involved, the Maid of Honor, Bridesmaids or any other close friend may want to speak up and take on the duties as a way to celebrate the bride.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
It’s actually pretty common for a bridal shower to be hosted by more than one person. Not only does this lighten the load of all the work, it also helps spread the costs for the party around too. A good way to decide on how many helpers to ask for is to consider the size of the guest list. In most cases, the more guests are invited, the more help you will need.
Make the Guest List
Speaking of guests, it’s time to make that final list. Be sure to talk with the bride-to-be to see who she wants to be invited. You will also want to coordinate with anyone planning other showers to make sure the guest lists do not overlap. Of course, where it makes sense, Bridesmaids, mother, mother-in-law and sisters could be invited to all showers though not expected to attend every one.
It’s also important to make sure all guests are taken from the actual wedding guest list. No one should be invited to a bridal shower that isn’t invited to the wedding. The exception to this would be something like an office party where co-workers want to celebrate the bride-to-be but may not be invited to the actual wedding.
Set the Budget and Expectations
If you are enlisting help with planning the shower, be sure to talk to everyone up front about overall shower expectations and financial obligations. According to marthastewardweddings.com, a good estimate for bridal shower costs would be $30/person but can honestly range lower or exponentially higher! Make sure everyone involved is both honest about their commitment in both time and money as well as all being mindful that the wedding is the main event.
Decide on a Theme for the Party
Don’t be thrown off by the idea of a theme. It could be as simple as deciding on planning a bridal brunch, an afternoon tea or evening cocktails. Are you planning a sit-down meal, doing a cooking class or planning an afternoon with light refreshments only. From there, an overall theme with colors, design, etc. will help tie everything together as well as help determine other elements such as the location, favors, entertainment, etc. If you feel a little lost, consider interests of the bride’s. Is she super into fashion or a major foodie? If you aren’t sure, it’s OK to ask the bride just be sure to leave at least some element of surprise for her.
Invite the Guests
While I admit to being a little biased, it is still considered proper by wedding professionals to send traditional, printed invitations via snail mail for a bridal shower. The invitations should be mailed out no later than 4 weeks / 1 month before the shower. If your guest list includes a lot of out-of-town people, it is OK to send out save the dates via email before the invitations go out.
One other thing to consider when thinking about invitations is the registry. While it is not considered proper to include registry details on a wedding invitation, it is actually a good idea to include it on the bridal shower invitation. Most invited guests to a bridal shower know it’s expected to bring a gift of some kind so whether it’s a registry to give them some ideas or a specific request centered around a party theme, most guests welcome this additional nugget of information.
Enjoy the Party
Most bridal showers last somewhere between 3 and 4 hours. That’s plenty of time for some kind of activity or games, open gifts, do a cooking class, etc. While favors are not required, if you do wish to provide them to your guests, don’t feel like that have to be fancy or expensive. Consider the theme of the party to help give you ideas.
Following the bridal shower, the bride will likely want to send out thank you notes to the guests for attending and for their gifts. Whether it’s you or someone you assign to the task, someone should be taking notes as the bride opens gifts to record who gave her what gift.
That’s it! Hopefully these steps guide you from pre-planning all the way through the final moments of the shower. From themes to budgets to guests, following these steps will help you plan the perfect shower for that special bride-to-be.
As an added bonus to the RC Tribe, I’ll also be sending out a fun printable checklist to go along with the post. If you are not already a member, you should be. In addition to added bonus content like this, Tribe members get exclusive access to members-only discounts, free stuff, early access to new products and so much more!
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