Bridal showers are a custom dating back to the 1800s. If the woman did not have enough dowry or her father did not approve of her choice of husband, her friends and family would gather bringing gifts and money to ensure she would have enough of a dowry to marry. Bridal shower gifts for the bride – sweet!
Today, bridal showers honour and celebrate the bride-to-be and are often the only opportunity for all of the women in her life to get together and enjoy a pre-wedding party. Who plans the bridal shower it is a common question, and usually, it should be someone who is not in the bride’s immediate family.
1. Bridal Shower Party Location, Location…
The location is going to depend on the host, but having the shower at someone’s home is a lovely (and economical) way to celebrate. It can have a sentimental feel if it is held at a family member’s house or perhaps at a favourite restaurant of the bride. In essence, it is good to have the shower in a location that is poignant for the bride herself. Modern showers are also taking place in the evening as dinners, which suit many women with families or a busy work-life.
2. Figure out the Timing
The bridal shower should be around four to six weeks before the wedding: close enough to feel the anticipation of the big day, but far enough away to not cause the bride any stress.
3. Choose the Invitations
Wedding and bridal shower invitations can set the scene by mimicking the theme and colours of the bridal shower. Send the invites in advance, so attendees have time to schedule it in their calendars. Also, make it easy for invitees to let you know if they can make the party by including the proper accompinaments such as RSVP cards.
4. Make a List of Invitees
Bridal showers are usually women-only events. It is also considered good etiquette to ensure that everyone invited to the shower is also invited to the actual wedding. This will no doubt mean you need to do some coordination with the bride herself; the bride’s mother can also be a good point of contact in the planning.
The only man traditionally allowed to attend is the groom himself, who can arrive just before the presents are opened. This is optional, but is a nice touch to have the groom there – make it a surprise for the bride and it’ll be even more special!
5. Plan the Party Menu
You don’t need to have a sit down meal; a buffet or canapés will work equally well, especially for a daytime shower. Circulating drinks upon arrival and throughout the occasion will keep everyone happy and energy levels up. A cake isn’t traditional, but a cake or cupcakes add a sweet treat to proceedings and are always well received.
6. Plan a Few Games
Bridal shower games help to get the party started and are a fun way for everyone to get to know one another. Consider a good game of bridal bingo, a wedding themed scavenger hunt, a wedding quiz for prizes, or charades based on famous wedding films.
7. Decide Where People will Leave Their Shower Gifts
Showers are essentially an occasion for giving a gift to the bride, so everyone invited is expected to bring one. Make sure there is a place for the gifts to be left as people arrive. A large table in the entrance hall is a convenient location. Alternatively, consider setting up a gift table right where the bride will be opening them later.
8. Set up a Roomy Area for the Bride to Open Her Presents
There should be a centrally located, seated position for the bride to sit while she opens all of her gifts in front of everyone. Depending on numbers, this might need quite a lot of coordination and a lot of room!
If it’s summer you could have the gift opening outside, but do make sure you have a back-up plan just in case it rains. If the bride’s heart is set on an outdoor shower, a great option is to rent a large open tent – that way if it rains, the festivities won’t be ruined.
9. Remember to Enjoy Your Bridal Shower
Bridal showers can be exhausting and stressful to organize, just like the wedding. As long as you plan in advance and involve the bride to ensure it’s what she wants, you should stay ahead of the game.
Bonus Tip: Bridal Shower Favours!
Bridal shower favours should not be an afterthought. Yes, you’ll get plenty of gifts from your friends and family, but it is customary (and just right) to provide them a keepsake favour, or “shower bomboniere” as a token of your appreciation. Depending on budget, bridal shower favours can cost as low as a few dollars per guest. This reminder is not necessarily for the bride-to-be but for the bridal shower party planner.