Keeping up with our new Seven on Saturday move, I want to share 7 tips for successfully planning a bridal shower. Remember, these tips are not about how to be a good bridesmaid – although I’ll share those soon. These are specifically focused on how to plan a memorable shower for the bride-to-be – or groom-to-be depending on the wedding!
Being a Bridesmaid is certainly a unique experience and can vary significantly from one wedding to another. And in some cases can be really fun and in others a giant ball of stress.
Depending on the dynamic, you might need to really pull your weight in planning a shower, but you also may need to only offer to help and just show up smiling if the MOH and maybe family member takes charge. If you’re being asked to help shape the day here are some quick tips for how to plan the perfect shower.
- Talk to the bride – this should absolutely be the first step. Now, the bride may not be a bride and it could be a happy couple or it could be brides. Whoever you’re throwing the shower for, have a quick conversation. Ask if they have a vision, any special requests. Do they have a theme in mind? Do they have a venue they’d love? Do they have a special date? Do they like games? Hate games? How do they see their shower making them feel? Showers really vary these days – a shower can go a more traditional route of a brunch/lunch/tea for ladies, or it can be a Thursday night for cocktails and presents with everyone! Find out what your bride wants – and then figure out who else might have an opinion that matters (read: the parents of the bride or groom).
- Resolve who wants to – and can – contribute – financially and in support. Family dynamics can be hard to balance, especially when money is involved. It’s up to whoever is in charge to figure out who is willing and able to financially contribute. This research might fall to the bride’s parents, the Maid of Honor, or a helpful bridesmaid. Depending on your personal position and your income, I’ve seen bridesmaids contribute anywhere from maybe a plate, some decorations, coordinate games and prizes, or up to $200. It could definitely be a lot higher, depending on your lifestyle/the bride’s life, but make sure you’re comfortable and make sure you have a budget before you start planning.
- Do your research – unless the bride has their heart set on a specific place, shop around. Price out venues and play with the idea of hosting the event in a home if you need to keep costs down. Having a shower – or any event – outside can be risky since it’s hard to anticipate what the weather will be. If you’re pricing out a venue, make sure you ask all of your questions – we’ll get in to this later.
- Pick a clear theme – even if your bride isn’t really a “theme” kind of girl. It’s important to have consistency across decorations. Themes can even help influence the food, games, and invitation. You might consider leaning in to any themes that will be at the wedding, or something unique about the couple. This is also key to helping keep everyone on the same page. You might end up planning a shower that involves the bridesmaids, bride’s mom, groom’s mom, and eager aunts. Having one theme you can tie everything back to will help make look the event consistent and thoughtful.
- Delegate – everything. If you’re the Maid of Honor, it’s important that you not take this on all on your own. Worse still, if you’re a bridesmaid who is just stepping up because the MOH has no experience in doing this, you’ll have support. Family members and other friends can help with things as well. If you’re having a shower in a home and an aunt offers to bring a plate – let them! Think through jobs – games, decorations, playlists, packing the essentials – and let people sign up for them. It becomes managing the tasks rather than completing the tasks.
- Send invitations early – it’s better to give guests notice than to send around information last minute. Whether you’re ordering formal invitations or sharing an evite, make sure you give your guests anywhere between six and ten weeks notice. Include a RSVP by date on your invitation to be sure you have a clear guest count. If you’ve never extended formal invitations before, make sure you spell check and double-check key details. You’ll also want to keep a clear list of who you invited, and track all responses in an organized way! I’ll share tips in upcoming posts on how to stay organized through a wedding.
- Keep tabs on everyone’s emotions – as we all know, weddings are a very emotional process. Your bride might feel anxious about the shower, or there might be other dynamics going on. A common issue is the role of the groom’s mom. It’s easy for her to feel excluded from the shower planning process. See if the bride’s mom would be comfortable including the groom’s mom in some special way. On the other side of this, you might find that the groom’s mom has a long guest list, but no interest in helping! Just be sure you’re keeping everything even for your bride. I’ll share tips on how to do this in the coming weeks!