Going to host a wedding shower for your friend??? Well, congratulations… you’re going to enjoy it completely!! However, planning a wedding shower is much like planning any other party. But it is an involved assignment, which requires proper planning.
Whether you’re planning to host a wedding shower all by yourself or partnering with bride’s other friends or family members to organize the bridal shower of her dreams, whatever…… you’ll need to know how to host a perfect wedding shower of her dream. If you’re also set to host a bridal shower but need a little guidance before that, then this post is for you. I am sharing with you the step-by-step planning timeline to help you figure out what all you need to do, and in what order, to pull off a great party.
This handy guide has it all to help you a wonderful bridal shower. It has everything you need to consider, prepare for, manage and attain before and during the bridal shower. From gathering the squad (of course you will surely need people to help you!) and setting a budget to choosing a date and finalizing the theme for the shower, inviting the guests to finalizing the activities and food and wine, and making arrangements, everything is covered in the post that should be on your to-do list.
Use this guide as a tool to host a great bridal shower. The bride will surely thank you and your team for making a special extra effort to make her bridal shower extra special and unique.
BEFORE THE WEDDING SHOWER
1. Who is hosting a wedding shower?
First things first, know who is throwing the wedding shower. However, anyone can throw a shower in honor of the VIP, and there’s no rule as such reserving the “first right to host” for the mother of the bride, or female family members, or bridesmaids. In fact, a bridal shower can be thrown by a group so that the price can be shared equally by all the group members. Well, to take the lead, all you need to do is raise your hand.
2. Know what the bride wants
Before you start your planning for her bridal shower, make sure you talk to the bride about what kind of shower she wants. Does she want to play games? Open gifts? Is there any particular theme that she has in her mind for the shower, such as wine, cooking, or pampering/wellness?
3. Would you need a professional?
Well, to hire a planner very much depends on the size and style of the party that you have in mind. If it is going to be a huge celebration then hiring a planner may be helpful. Having a professional to help you with the planning, logistics, food, and décor simply ensures a good time is had by all. Also, a professional can help you with timelines, tracking RSVPs, etc.
4. Set the date for the shower
While setting a date for the wedding shower, you’ll need to consider too many factors, such as the weather, time of day, time of year, availability of bride & groom etc. All these factors should be considered before you finalize a date for the wedding shower. However, it is advised to consult with the bride and/or groom to help you with a date that works for everyone’s schedules.
However, an ideal wedding shower dates are a few months before the big day, more often than not, no closer than one month from the wedding date. The idea is to pick a date that works for almost all the guests, especially for the bride and the VIPs that includes the family members and the bridal party.
5. Select the venue
The best part about wedding shower is – you can throw them even someone’s home. For instance, bridal party is throwing a bridal shower, in that case they can even pick someone’s home that’s empty for a while. No place is off limits for a bridal shower! It will help you save money that you would spend on renting a venue otherwise. You can utilize this money on the décor and food at the party. However, if you are planning to host the party at some other location other than home, make sure you choose a place that reflects the style, which you have in mind for the wedding shower. So that you can save on décor at least.
6. Determine the wedding shower budget
Budgeting is crucial, having a budget for the party in mind helps inform the rest of your decisions and keep everyone’s expectations in line. Also, if budget is a constraint, you can always get family members involved in the task. For instance, you can ask the bride’s aunt to bring her to make a cheesecake, or her mom to bring her breakfast casserole. It not only involves people, but also help you save money.
7. Decide the time and duration of the event
It is also crucial to decide the time and duration of the event beforehand. More often than not, these events last three to four hours, which is enough for an activity, like wine tasting, or a get-to-know game, opening gifts, and for eating. You can throw a wedding shower either in the day or at night, howsoever the bride and VIPs are comfortable.
8. Make a wedding shower guest list
While consulting with the bride about when to celebrate, make sure you also discuss the guests for the wedding shower. Have the bride give you a list of people she’d want to invite, including their names, phone numbers, emails, and mailing addresses.
Besides, bride’s mom, mother-in-law to-be, sisters, sisters-in-law, and attendants, take down all the other names. While preparing a guest list make sure that you consider the master wedding guest list to pick guests from there. Also, remind her that the guest lists should be different for each shower if by chance she’s having more than one.
9. Send E-vites or order paper invitations
Although you can send paper invitations, but today most of the people are on digital platforms, which makes it easy for one and all to receive invites and send RSVPs. Also, get your custom invitations ready at least six weeks before the wedding shower date. Doing this will give you plenty of time to receive them and send them to the shower guests.
10. Create the menu and order catering
For a brunch style shower a brunch buffet or a multiple food stations will work out better, and for a nighttime party you can plan a sit-down meal for your wedding shower guests. You can have more food options at the wedding shower, as women at showers tend to take small plates and heavy tidbits.
Based on how extravagant your shower menu will be, you will need to hire a local caterer as well. So make sure you do a nice research and get a price quote from two to three caterers, and hire the one which suits your requirements best.
But, if the host or hosts are handling the food themselves, plan out a timeline for when to shop for ingredients and supplies, when to prepare, when to cook, and when to plate and serve the food.
11. Send out invitations to shower guests
Make sure you send out your shower invites through the post or via email at least three weeks from the shower date. Have a way incorporated for the shower guests to RSVP to the shower, either via phone, email, or online (for digital invitations), as well as an RSVP deadline.
12. Plan the desserts or cake for the party
While deciding food items for the party make sure you plan out the desserts or cake as well. If you’re planning to order a cake from a bakery, make sure you get your bride’s favorite cake. Also, don’t miss to request a pick-up time (or delivery) either the day before or may be early on the morning of the shower.
While cakes are a wedding staple, so it is suggested to save the big treat for the big day and serve smaller desserts at wedding shower. So, you can opt for a dessert bar or multiple small dessert bites at the wedding shower.
13. Choose a list of beverages for the wedding shower
Whether you are planning to have beverages at the party or specialty drinks, choose them beforehand. You can also DIY wine tasting at the bridal shower, or you can research and choose a fun specialty cocktail that will reflect the tastes of the bride.
Make sure you buy bottles of liquor, wine, beer, mixers, sparkling water, mineral water, and juice from the bulk retailers. As, many store owners offer a discount for large purchases. Also, do buy bar accessories like cocktail napkins, festive straws, bottle openers, and cut lemons and limes beforehand.
14. Choose a Theme
It’s absolutely up to the host or hostesses to decide whether the event will be a high tea, brunch, cocktails, or a group activity, like a cooking class. Picking a theme well in advance helps host or hosts choosing the location, styling the décor, and picking the favors.
15. Decide shower decor
Before you select the shower décor, the first thing you need to ask yourself is – how much you’re willing to spend on decoration of your shower location. If budget is a constraint, you can always pick a location or venue that already fits your theme. But, if you do decide to decorate, make sure it’s impactful and goes well with your theme.
For making your party more fun, give your event an extra pompous. Don’t go simple, try to do something special, something extraordinary to have that feel and ambience. You can create a fun bar or bar cart to make it more interesting. For that you can deck your tables out with flowers, bouquets, balloons, candles, paper garlands, banners, or tossed confetti, or you can incorporate fun signage and table cards to make your venue look really great. You can also DIY your food placement.
Make sure you buy all the décor supply beforehand. Also, don’t forget to add music to fit the theme and add to the ambiance!
16. Shower games and activities
When it comes to keeping wedding shower guests entertained, it is crucial to be more creative and have some activities or games included. You can have photo backdrops, DIY cocktail bars, lounge seating, and or hire a professional photographer for the event. Make sure you decide on shower games and activities well in advance and shop for any needed supplies.
17. Decide and purchase shower favors
When it comes to shower favors, it is recommended to pick something that your guests will not leave on the table and would love to use. Some wedding shower favor ideas include; succulents or small potted plants, hand lotion, nail polish, lip balm, handmade soaps, handmade candles, a kitchen tool or gadget, a mini bottle of wine or champagne, stemless wine glass, cookies, macaroons, chocolates, donuts, or something that relates to the shower theme.
18. Establish a dress code (if need be)
Establishing a dress code is absolutely at the host or hosts discretion. You may establish a dress code based on the theme of the wedding shower. For instance, if cooking class is the theme then having personalized aprons and chef’s hats will just add to the fun element at the event. Likewise you can decide on a dress code for the wedding shower.
19. Stock up on party ware essentials
It is crucial that you stock up all the party ware essentials such as, disposable plates, cups, and utensils, napkins and table linens, trash bags, paper towels and stain remover, in case of spills, ice and an ice cooler, well in advance to avoid last minute chaos.
ONE DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING SHOWER
20. Set up the venue
Make sure you set up the venue as much as possible, including, décor, the bar table/area, the gifts table/area, games and/or activities, favors, food tables just a day before the wedding shower, so that you don’t need to rush on the day of shower.
Also, make sure you wrap your gift, if you’re giving one.
ON THE DAY OF THE SHOWER
21. Prepare all the final details
Get dressed, and get to the shower location a few hours early in order to finish setting everything up. Do make sure that everything is in line. Check if the cake has arrived, professional photographer (if any) has also arrived,
22. Give a toast
If you’re hosting the bridal shower, you might want to give a toast when everyone gathers around for the meal. Make sure the speeches, from people who want to say a few words such as the maid of honor, the mother of the bride, the bride herself, and the mother of the groom are kept short and heartfelt.
23. Enjoy a terrific bridal shower!
Make sure you and all your wedding shower guests enjoy the party to the fullest. Everyone needs to enjoy the wedding shower! Wedding shower party is not just a small occasion. in fact, this is the time when you and your guests will create beautiful memories that will be cherished all your life.
24. Gift opening
Shower gifts are a welcome aspect of any wedding shower. It is better to save the gift opening until all your wedding shower guests have left. Gift opening should be done either with a smaller group of close friends and family or with just the couple. Also, make sure you keep track of who gave what. It will help you send thank you notes.
AFTER THE WEDDING SHOWER
25. Send thank-you notes
It is indispensable to send thank-you notes. Sending thank you notes help your guests know that their gift was received and that you’re grateful for it. Make sure you send thank you notes for bridal shower before the wedding. Send them out no later than two weeks after the wedding shower. You don’t have to do it in a day of course, do a few every day. Also, make a spreadsheet or digital note with the names of your guests, along with who gave you what gift, it will help you stay organized.
To pan out……
Remember, like your wedding your wedding shower is also important, leave no stone unturned to make the event terrific and wonderful. Wedding showers are meant to be a fun day for all, including your family, friends, and guests. This is the day to share your joy as a bride to be. Make sure you make your wedding shower the most memorable for everyone!!