So you just got engaged. Or your best friend just got engaged. In preparation for the big day, one big event to look forward to is the bridal shower. Some couples even have an engagement shower before the bridal shower. While the engagement shower is geared towards the couple, the bridal shower spotlights on the bride. Now, as a future bride I’m sure you’re wondering when you can start planning your bridal shower. Only problem is it is not for you to plan! This gives guests the wrong impression that you are asking for gifts. Instead, this is the responsibility of your family, maid of honor, close friend, or bridesmaid to plan. And as a maid of honor, bridesmaid, or close family member wouldn’t you love the opportunity to throw your girl a shower of love? If you are a bride reading this, pass this on to anyone interested in throwing a shower for you!
As you most likely have many family members and friends, some living in different areas, you can have more than one! It is very common today for a future bride to have one planned with her family and one with friends, and maybe even another with coworkers. The only catch is you can’t invite anyone to the shower(s) who is not going to be included in your wedding invitation list. The only exceptions to this are if you are having a super small wedding and everyone knows only a handful are invited OR if your coworkers decide to throw you a party, knowing you can’t invite everyone from work. While we are talking shower etiquette, there are a few other rules to mention. DO NOT use the theme/colors/decor from your wedding. You want it to be a surprise for your guests so they look forward to your big day and the exciting reveals that come with it! Please please please do NOT under any circumstances send an email invitation. The physical or paper invitation is the classy and polite way to invite your bride’s loved ones to her shower. While sending these invites, do NOT put the registry(ies) on the invite. Instead, add an insert with them to include registries or you can add her wedding website that has links to her registries. While you as a bride may have more than one shower. hosted by several different people, some guests may also be invited to more than one of your showers. Do NOT expect them to show up with a gift to every shower. According to proper etiquette, they are only required to bring a gift to the first shower they attend. So manage your expectations now. Last but by no means least, do NOT forget to send thank you’s to everyone who came! Add a personal note and thank them for their specific gift. If you need help keeping track of who got you what, ask a bridesmaid attending to keep a running list for you. This could also be a great job for your maid of honor if she attends all the showers with you. The best way is to write on the back of the card that comes with the gift what they gave you. That way it is very easy to reconcile. Now that we’ve looked into etiquette, let’s go over a timeline.
First, you will want to set a date for the shower you are planning. It would probably be smart to coordinate with the bride and find out who else may be planning a shower so you don’t plan it for the same day. Make sure the bride can attend the day you select! Second, get a guest list from the bride. She may want certain people to go to the shower you’re planning and others to go to other showers. So just make sure and get a guest list for your shower from her. Third, come up with a fun theme. I’ll throw out some fun theme ideas a little later. Fourth, and very importantly, find other hosts to help you plan, pay, and execute. Next you will want to discuss a budget with the other hosts and determine how much everyone is willing to chip in. You should also delegate certain tasks to each host and make sure they know what they are responsible for. Make sure you check in with everyone periodically to make sure they are keeping up with the theme and to make sure all the elements blend together. A little more than a month out, you should email out of town guests that were invited to give them time to purchase airfare and a hotel. If you are ordering any decorations or other items online this is also the time to order. You want to make sure there is plenty of time for production as well as shipping. Six weeks out, it is time to mail invitations to give people an adequate amount of time to rsvp. Next, come up with the floral and decor for your shower. If you need any help or ideas, Donnie Brown Weddings and Events can create beautiful centerpieces and arrangements to make for a stunning display. This is also the time to come up with game ideas and purchase materials for games. Read below for some fun game ideas. One week out, follow up with guests invited via phone or email and find out if they will attend or not, in order to get an adequate head count and have an adequate amount of food and drinks. By this point, if you haven’t done favors yet, get these ordered and set up. If you are ordering favors online, order them a month before to allow enough time for them to get to you. A couple of days before the shower, make any food items that you can refrigerate to cut down on what all you have to do the day before and day of. On the day before the shower, clean the house or place you are hosting, prepare anything that needs to be set up in advance, and make sure everything is easy to set up the next day. Then all you have to do the day of is decorate, set up food/drinks and games, etc. Then have fun!!
Now that we’ve discussed protocol as well as a timeline, let’s get into the fun stuff! Let’s start with some perfect themes. The theme is what directs the rest of the proponents to the event, so make sure you choose a perfect theme that the bride will love! Here are some of our favorites: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Coffee Shop, Slumber Party, Time Era (20’s, 30’s, 80’s, etc.), Garden or Tea Party, Beach/Sea/ Nautical, Marie Antionnette (Let Them Eat Cake), Rustic Vintage, Mod Florals, Soda Pop Shop, LBD (Little Black Dress), Neon Circus, Day Siesta, Candy Shop, Mermaids, Chevron & Denim, Mad Hatter, Sweet & Spicy, Fire & Ice, Movie Theme (Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Disney, etc.), Hollywood, Southern Belle, Kentucky Derby, English Fascinator, Kate Spade, Burlap & Lace, Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue (could be three different showers!), & Before She Says I Do Let’s Have A Drink Or Two! Have fun looking through these themes and coming up with your own creative ideas!
Now that you picked a theme, games are a big priority to the success of the shower! Here are some of our favorites: Pin the Mustache on the Groom, Who has the Groom?, What’s in your purse?, Toilet Paper Bridal Gown, Bridal Bingo, Match the Famous Couples, MadLibs, & Staches & Tiaras (His or Hers). There are many other ideas for activities your guests can complete during the party. Pinterest is a good resource to find more ideas. There are also print out games you can purchase. Whichever games you choose to include, just make sure they will be a hit!
Remember the rules/etiquette for planning bridal showers and stick closely to that timeline. You don’t want to be too late ordering anything or sending out invitations. Most of all have fun! If you and the guests have a blast, it’s a guaranteed success for your bride! Shower her with some love and hopefully she’ll do the same for you when it’s time for your big day!