What is a bridal shower? The bridal shower is a rare chance to get all the bride’s close friends and family in one place for a special, intimate, pre-wedding celebration. Showers can be as fancy or relaxed as you want, but should be tailored to the bride’s requests, style, likes and personality. No matter how the bridal shower is planned or who plans the shower, it’s important to remember that this is a time to celebrate the bride’s engagement and soon-to-be wedding, so have fun with it!
Before we get to a checklist of important things to remember when planning a bridal shower, we need to cover the basics, which will hopefully answer some of your more pressing questions.
Hosting the Shower
As you may have guessed, the maid of honor usually hosts the bridal shower. However, sometimes the bridesmaids, a family friend, a relative of the bride, or any combination of those may host individually or as a team. Remember, though, that hosting a shower is a choice and not an obligation. The freedom to volunteer to host, decline to host or want to be a part of a hosting team is not at all out of the question.
No matter who hosts the shower, the party should appeal to the bride’s tastes and interests—regardless of how involved she is in the planning.
Inviting Guests to the Shower
We’ve gathered a few guidelines that are pretty typical to bridal shower etiquette and should help you get an idea for how to handle invitations. Just like for the wedding, the engaged couple goes through lists of people and decides who will make the cut based on the wedding budget and the couple’s wants; you will be doing the same for the shower, but with the help of the bride.
The bride should provide the host(s) with a guest list and the hosts should follow that list for sending bridal shower invitations. The budget you set also needs to coincide with how many people the bride wants to invite—eliminating guests on her list for the sake of saving money is a big no-no. The host should sacrifice a different part of the shower to make sure all of the bride’s guests are invited.
The attendees will be a select group of friends and relatives; not every woman attending the wedding will be invited to the shower, and that’s okay. On a similar note, only ladies (or men, if hosting a couples wedding shower) who are invited to the wedding should be invited to the shower. The only exception is a work shower, which allows co-workers to celebrate the engagement without the couple necessarily having to invite them to the wedding festivities.
Most shower attendees are invited with a printed bridal shower invitation. It’s a nice keepsake for attendees to hold on to and doesn’t have to be a huge expense, especially if the party is intimate. A digital invitation (a.k.a. an e-card) is also an option, but it’s a less personal message and may not have as significant an impact.
Paying for the Shower
The host is responsible for paying for the shower. If bridesmaids or others are cohosting, they will split the cost of the shower. Remember, though, that bridesmaids are not hosts by default.
Bridal Shower Roles
The basic breakdown of those who will attend the bridal shower include the bride, bridesmaids and other attendees. The bride is there to celebrate her engagement and soon-to-be wedding; she can be as involved as she wants, but usually provides a guest list to the host(s) and a few wants/requests
The bridesmaids, along with other attendees, are there to celebrate with the bride! Even if they’re not hosting, they should help with preparations, any DIY projects assigned to them and cleanup. There may be multiple showers for the bride, and the bridesmaids may be invited to more than one. They should attend as many showers as they can but should not feel obligated to buy the bride more than one shower gift.
As for other attendees, their presence is most important. They should receive information about the theme, location, attire and whether to bring gifts on the bridal shower invitations.
Fun Shower Ideas
Games aren’t for everyone, although there are plenty of ideas out there. Check out Aisle Perfect blog for 10 Pretty Perfect Bridal Shower Games. In addition to or instead of games, activities like a cooking class, craft session, winery party or spa day are just as fun!
Bridal Shower Checklist
We’ve covered a lot of planning details today, so here’s a quick and easy checklist to help you keep track of all your bridal shower to-dos!