Bridal Shower Checklist
Wednesday, October 19th, 2016 Wedding IDEAS, INSPIRATION AND INSIDER TIPS
Throwing a bridal shower for a close friend or relative is an immense honor, but it can definitely be stressful if you're not sure where to start. Here's how to tackle the planning process and throw an unforgettable party for the bride-to-be.
Who Throws the Bridal Shower?
The bridal shower is typically thrown for the bride-to-be by the maid of honor, bridesmaids, close friends, family or a combination of these individuals. If you’re a friend in the wedding and the bride’s mother, future mother-in-law, sisters, future sisters-in-law, or close family member wants to throw the bride the shower, then be sure to follow their lead. You can always take more of a role of assisting family, and be sure to let them know that you and the bridal party are there to help with it.
Let’s say you’re the maid-of-honor and you have the privilege of hosting the bridal shower. You can find out what you else you are responsible for in our guide to being the Ultimate Maid of Honor.
When to Throw a Bridal Shower
The bridal shower is usually held two or three months before the big day. Talk to the bride and get her schedule first. Ask her these important questions:
- Is it alright to schedule the shower on a weekend or is she booked? Maybe a weeknight will work best with her schedule.
- What are a few dates that definitely work for her?
- Are there any out of town guests that may be invited to the bridal shower?
- Who are the people that MUST attend? You will be working around a lot of people’s schedules, so prioritize which people are the most important to include on the invite.
Once you find all of these answers, you should have a better idea of when to throw the bridal shower.
Questions to Ask when Planning a Bridal Shower
There are a few things you will want to get the bride’s opinion on when planning the shower. If you are trying to make the shower more of a surprise that you know the bride will like, skip the questions that will give away the surprise.
- Where does she want to have this event? Pick a location that best fits the couple.
- Would she prefer an afternoon or night time event? Ideas include an afternoon tea party or Saturday night occasion.
- Should the shower be all women or coed? Coed bridal showers make the grooms feel more included and are becoming more and more popular.
- Any particular bridal shower themes in mind? Bring even more excitement to the shower by adding a theme. (Examples of themes include an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party, Parisian, favorite sports teams, etc.)
- Are there any family members wanting to help? Even if you are the main party planner, make the bride’s and/or groom’s family feel involved by including them in the planning process. Many mothers want to be a part of their daughter’s bridal shower as well as her big day. It’s always a good idea to make them feel included.
How to Plan a Bridal Shower
After you gather all the preliminary information, the fun part begins. It’s time to plan the bridal shower!
Set a budget. The bridal shower is paid for by the host. In this case, it’s you, the MOH or if you have the bridesmaids helping you host, the budget will be divided among everyone. Make sure you discuss with the bride to let her know what you or the group is comfortable with. This eliminates any disappointments the bride may have if she’s expecting the shower to be big and grand. Make sure she knows that the bridal shower shouldn’t outshine the wedding day. Remember, her wedding day should be the biggest, most memorable night of her life!
Brainstorm session. Meet with the bridesmaids, mother of the bride, mother-in-law, sisters, aunts, and anyone else who wants to help with the bridal shower. Go through decisions such as themes, decorations, linens, silverware/utensils, flowers, party favors, room set-up, food, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and games/activities during the shower, etc.
Create a guest list for this event. The bridal shower is an intimate event. Invite people who are close family and friends to the bride and groom. Make sure everyone on this list is also invited to the wedding. The only time this rule doesn’t apply is when the bridal shower is thrown by coworkers, as not every bride and groom can afford inviting all of their coworkers. Coworkers can throw the bride a shower separate from the one you’re planning. Also, be careful of inviting the same people to multiple events. Some people do not have the funds to attend all the activities before the wedding.
Make reservations. Whether you and the bride both agree on having this at a restaurant, bowling alley, country club or a park, make sure to make the appropriate reservations before sending out the invitations. Note: Make sure that the location can accommodate the number of guests. It won’t be a very fun event when there is no room to move around or there are not enough seats. A memorable place for the couple will make a great bridal shower spot.
Spread the word. Invitations should be sent out three to four weeks before the bridal shower date. Usually, the bridal shower invitations are sent out by snail-mail because it adds a more personal touch. However, with today’s ever-growing dependency on technology, digital invitations are becoming more common and acceptable. However, beware when sending things digitally, as they can get lost in spam folders or get sent to the wrong email address. So be prepared to make some follow-up phone calls to confirm your guests have received their invites and make sure you are receiving confirmations in a timely manner.
Confirmations. Confirmations should be made one week before the bridal shower date. Confirm reservations for the location. Confirm food and drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) orders and flower orders. Make sure the delivery time and location is correct. The last thing you need is for the orders to get delivered at the wrong time or to the wrong location.
Set up. Check with your venue location to see if you are able to set up the room and any equipment needed the day before the shower. Decorations, flowers, favors, and games can also be set up the day before. While you’re at it, any food prep work also can be done the day before to lessen the stress on the day of the shower. Gather the troops! Sit down with the checklist and go over every single item to make sure it is taken care of and checked off. For items that must be done on the day of the shower, make sure it is assigned to someone. Ask everyone to arrive early to help with last minute setup and organization.
Bridal shower day. All the planning, stressing, and hard work is about to pay off! Have everyone on the planning committee show up early to help. Make sure everything is delivered and correct. Go through the checklist one more time to make sure everything is in its place. The last thing to do is wait for the guest of honor, the bride, to arrive! And let the party begin!
Once again, you have done it! You made it through the planning and stress. Now, it’s time to enjoy the bridal shower with the bride and guests!
For more help with maid of honor responsibilities, check out our maid of honor checklist.