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Planning a Bridal Shower

Filed under: For Women, Weddings

A bridal shower is an intimate party—a chance for the bride to get together with her closest friends and family to celebrate her upcoming marriage. And of course, to shower her with gifts!

Planning a bridal shower can be pretty overwhelming. And it should be a memorable event for the bride-to-be. There are many ways you can throw a bridal shower and nothing is set in stone about how you should do it. However, there are certain key components for every bridal shower and here are some guidelines to help you get started. Be creative and have fun!

Compile a guest list

Coordinate the list with the bride if the shower is not meant to be a surprise. If it is a surprise, coordinate with the groom, family members, close friends, and even co-workers, to make sure you get a complete list of all those the bride-to-be would want there. It is not appropriate to invite people whom you do not plan on including in the wedding, unless of course, the wedding is a small, private event in which only close family and friends are invited.

Set a date

The date of the shower should be anywhere within 2 months of the wedding as long as it is convenient for the bride and hostess. Gather some dates that the bride-to-be will be free. Coordinate with the invited guests what dates they are available. If this is done early, the date can be easier to set. Or you plan to do something with the bride-to-be and that way you can ensure she cannot make other plans that day.

Choose a theme

Setting a theme makes planning easier and allows you to be more creative with decorations, cuisine, invitations, gifts, favors, and activities. They can all revolve around that theme. There are some popular themes for bridal showers like “Around the Clock” and there are ones you can make up catered to the bride-to-be’s likes or needs.

Send out invitations

Once you have a date set, send out invitations with an RSVP date. Include the theme of the shower. If you wanted to do a memory book or something in that regards to give to the bride-to-be, you can have guests be prepared to bring in a photo, or some other sharing depending on what you want to do.

It might be helpful to include information for where the couple is registered. Usually these gifts should be reserved for the wedding (some folks choose to buy shower gifts off the registry) but it’s a good and polite way to get the word out on where they are registered without the couple having to do it themselves. Be sure to follow up on guests you haven’t heard from yet as it gets closer to the RSVP date.

Planning Details

Once you’ve gotten the invitations out, you can start the details of the shower.


Presentation is everything – from the food to the favors. It will help in creating the right ambience according to your theme.


Depending on the time of day the shower is held and your theme, you would need to prepare light foods (like finger foods) or a meal. Hors d’oeuvres and dessert add a nice touch to any menu. Again, the menu can be prepared according to the theme.


It’s a good idea to plan a few simple ice breakers so the guests can find out a little more about each other. For example, how they came to know the bride (or groom). Other activites can be focused more on the bride-to-be.

Gift Opening

Opening gifts should be done in the presence of all guests at a shower. Have someone be responsible for recording each gift that is brought and who brought it. It will make it easier for the bride-to-be to send Thank You cards. Bridal shower gifts generally are wrapped and adorned with ribbons and other extras. Designate the most creative person there to make a bouquet, bonnet or dress out of all the wrappings and trimmings on all the gifts.


It’s nice to give a little token that each guest can remember the occasion by. Something simple, perhaps related to the theme would be a good idea. It is very similar to wedding favors but don’t need to be as elaborate.

This entry was posted on February 11, 2012 at 9:15 am.