A bridal shower is a great way for the bride and her friends to come together and celebrate this exciting time in her life. She will be “showered” with love and gifts designed to help her start her new life with her husband. Historically, bridal showers were only thrown for women whose families did not approve of the marriage and did not want to pay the dowry—instead the friends would pull together to help the couple purchase what they needed to start their life together. These days, a bridal shower is just a way for those who love the bride to celebrate this exciting time in her life.
1. Who plans the shower?
Traditionally, the shower is thrown by the maid or matron of honor, unless she is closely related to the bride, as etiquette dictates that the bride’s family does not hold the shower. However, today, most people do not frown on a shower thrown by the sister or mother of the bride. Whoever is throwing the shower is usually responsible for all of the costs, as well as providing the location and decorating it.
2. Where can we have a bridal shower?
Many times, the maid of honor will host the shower in her home, but if it is too small or simply unsuitable for the number of guests attending, there are plenty of great places to hold the shower. For example, a sunny park, a gallery, a beach, or even a location like the zoo or aquarium are all great, unique places to hold a shower. A favorite restaurant may even be a great option, though the maid of honor should not feel responsible for picking up the check.
3. Who should come?
Unless you are throwing a surprise shower for the bride, the best way to find out who should attend is to ask her directly. It’s important not to invite someone who is not attending the wedding (unless missing the wedding is because of extenuating circumstances and not because someone was not invited). All of the female relatives, the bridal party, and close friends should be invited. While bridal showers are usually kept just to women, many brides have close male friends that they may also want to invite.
4. What activities should we have?
While some bridal showers may simply be sitting together for a meal and opening gifts, others may need a few more activities. Luckily, there are plenty of great games you can play to keep the party going. Games like “toilet paper wedding dress” or “two truths and a lie” are great ways to get everyone involved and do something interactive and creative.
5. What kind of decorations should we have?
Bridal Shower Decorations can be wild and crazy or demure and muted. Many maids of honor will try to match the decorations of the shower to the wedding colors, but anything in light pastels will definitely be appreciated. Flowers are always in for a wedding, so look for floral paper products along with your other party supplies.
6. When should we have the shower?
This will largely depend on the timeline of the bride’s engagement. Some couples opt for a long courtship and a short engagement, but other couples will be engaged for years. Six weeks before the wedding is a good rule of thumb. If the bride’s engagement doesn’t last six weeks, have it at least a few weeks before the wedding, so that she isn’t overwhelmed with the shower and planning the wedding.
7. What themes are appropriate for a bridal shower?
While many bridal showers go off without a hitch without a theme, if your bride fancies a particular sports team, animal, or activity, centering the bridal shower around that theme is a good way to give the party focus and direction. If you want a theme, take a look at the style of the wedding and draw inspiration.
8. How should I word the invitations?
While you can find pre-made shower invitations at just about any party supply store, you may want to personally create the invites, to make sure they have the right wording and hit all of the right points—especially if the shower is at a restaurant where the guests will be expected to go dutch on the meal. A friendly reminder to bring a gift (or not bring a gift, if the bride prefers, or to remember to bring money, in lieu of a gift, to pay for lunch or spa treatments, etc., is always appreciated.
9. How can I save money?
Planning a bridal shower can be expensive, and though you love the bride and are excited for her, you also don’t want to break the bank as you plan her shower. Holding it in your home is a great way to save on venue costs. Combining a few homemade decorations with party decorations from the store, along with cutlery, plates, and cups, is another good way to cut costs. Simple foods that are easy to prepare, store, and that everyone will love, will make preparation easier and less expensive in the long run.
10. Is there something we can do for guests that live too far away to attend the shower?
In this day and age, it’s very likely that there will be guests that cannot attend the bridal shower, especially if they are already flying in from far away for the wedding later in the year. You can send a bridal shower in a box, instead of an invitation. Send some cute, small decorations, a cupcake or cookie, and some confetti, so that the guest will feel as though she was there, even if she couldn’t attend in person.
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