Need to plan a bridal shower, but not sure where to begin? Here's a step-by-step guide for putting together an unforgettable celebration the bride is sure to remember for years to come.
Set a Budget
Image via Flickr by Belvedere Events and Banquets
Create a budget before you do anything else. Some things to plan for include food, drinks, venue, decor, videography, and photography, but keep in mind you may not need to plan for all these items. For instance, if it's in your budget, hire a photographer. If not, save money by providing disposable cameras and asking guests to snap some fun, casual photos. Bridal shower costs vary widely, ranging anywhere from $10 to $150 per person. Don't worry if you can't afford to throw a lavish affair. Just decide on an amount you can afford and plan accordingly. The bride is sure to appreciate anything you do to help her celebrate her big day.
Create a Guest List
Ask the bride for her must-invite guests and their home addresses. Then, if your budget allows, work with her to add others. Keep in mind that anyone, including children, invited to the shower should also receive a wedding invitation, so clear every guest with the bride and have her double-check the final list before sending out the invitations.
Pick a Date
Choose a date based on the bride's schedule and the wedding timeline. We recommend that the bridal shower take place about two months before the wedding, if possible. Don't forget to take into account other events, like the bachelor and bachelorette parties, which are sometimes planned for the evening of the bridal shower day.
Select a Theme
It isn't necessary, but choosing a theme can make planning the shower a little easier and add some personality to the decor, invitations, and food options. Some popular choices include themes based around champagne brunches, tea parties, travel destinations, and spa days. If you're having a hard time deciding, think about the bride. For example, if she's a wine connoisseur, a wine-tasting event might be a perfect choice. Let her know your decision before committing to it and make sure she's on board.
Decide on a Location
Once you have a date and a guest count, it's time to choose a location. While the most traditional option is for the host to hold the shower in their home, this isn't always feasible, and it's perfectly acceptable to hold it at a restaurant or banquet room instead. If in doubt, ask the bride. She may suggest a place you haven't thought about, such as a local spa or an art gallery. In NYC, your venue options are seemingly endless, making it relatively easy to find a place that can accommodate the number of invited guests.
Think About Dress Code
Since bridal showers can be formal or casual affairs, your guests will appreciate some hints about what to wear. If it's a formal celebration, you could mention cocktail or festive attire on the invitation, and if it's more relaxed, you could simply state casual dress is appropriate. People feel more comfortable when they've dressed appropriately for an occasion, so providing a little guidance in the invitation is helpful.
Send the Invitations
Send your invitations about four to six weeks before the shower. This should give most people enough time to clear their schedules and purchase gifts. Include the location, date, time, bride's name, a way to RSVP, and the names of the host or hosts. It's also a good idea to ask about dietary restrictions so you can plan the menu accordingly.
Plan the Menu
After you send the invitations and the RSVPs start arriving, it's time to plan the menu. This can feel overwhelming at times, but there's no reason to overcomplicate it. Stick to foods you know the bride likes, are easy to serve, and are appropriate for the time of day and shower theme. If you're hosting a brunch, consider a coffee bar, mimosas, and breakfast foods like mini waffles and fresh fruit. For late afternoon showers, appetizers work well. Think about serving finger sandwiches, fruit salad, deviled eggs, and assorted sweet bites. Depending on your budget, you can opt to prepare the food yourself, ask the bridesmaids to bring a potluck dish, or have it professionally catered. Whatever you serve, make sure the bride likes it and have items available for people with dietary restrictions.
Choose the Shower Decor
Now comes the fun part: planning the decor. While having a theme usually makes choosing the decor a little easier, it's not a difficult task if you don't have one. Think about the bride and what types of personal touches you can include for her. Balloon and floral displays work well for almost any type of bridal shower, and including a fun photo backdrop is always a good idea. If you're short on ideas, browse Pinterest for inspiration.
Decide on Games and Activities
Shower games are a fun way to break the ice, especially if guests aren't well acquainted with each other. Time the games for when there's a natural lull in activity, such as right after everyone eats. You may not need to buy anything if you plan on playing more traditional bridal shower games, but if you'd like to mix it up and purchase some fun, unique activities, check out Etsy and Pinterest. You'll find ideas for inspiration as well as game kits for purchase.
Create a Playlist
While creating a playlist is entirely optional, it's a fun way to add a personal touch to the shower. Ask the bride for some of her favorite songs and mix in a few classic romantic hits to play for background music. This will help set the tone and keep the mood upbeat.
We hope this guide helps you plan the perfect shower for the bride-to-be. If you have anything you think we should add to this list, please contact us at Martin Busch Jewelers. We would love to hear from you!