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How To Host A Bridal Shower: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide

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Throwing a bridal shower can feel overwhelming. Here is our comprehensive checklist for how to host the perfect bridal shower.


A bridal shower is a time to celebrate the bride-to-be leading up to her big day. It’s also a chance for her close friends and family members to come together and help her prepare for married life. If you’re thinking about hosting a bridal shower, use this guide to ensure everything goes smoothly. If you’re ready to learn how to host a bridal shower, let’s dive in!

What is the purpose of a bridal shower?

A bridal shower is a traditional pre-wedding ritual that celebrates the bride and her upcoming marriage. It’s typically held a few weeks to a month before the wedding, and it often involves gifts for the bride-to-be as she begins her new life with her husband.

The gifts may include kitchen items, lingerie, honeymoon essentials, or fun items like personalized mugs or t-shirts. Shower guests usually bring cards and gifts, which makes the bridal shower a great way to show your support for the bride-to-be.

Bridal Shower vs Bachelorette Party

One thing that people often confuse a bridal shower with is a bachelorette party. A bridal shower is a pre-wedding event with friends and family members in attendance. Bridal showers are lowkey and classy, an event everyone can enjoy themselves at. While a bachelorette party is a celebration of the transition of the bride’s last night of “single life” into married life with her female friends. A bachelorette party could be a weekend vacation or a night out as the bride prepares to become a wife, celebrating with her closest friends.

Bridal Shower vs Wedding Shower

One more thing to note, a wedding shower is for both the bride and groom, while a bridal shower is just for the bride. As you learn how to host a bridal shower, keep these differences in mind moving onward in the planning process!

Who Hosts The Bridal Shower?

You may be wondering who should host a bridal shower– and the truth is anyone can learn how! Traditionally, the maid of honor is the one to throw the bridal party, but in recent years, anyone can be in charge of organizing a bridal shower, such as a family member, best friend, all the wedding party, or close friend(s) of the bride. It’s also okay to be the one to plan your own shower! Whoever it is, this person should know the bride-to-be’s tastes and interests before deciding on a theme or wedding guest list, so that it’s tailored specifically to her.

Where should the bridal shower be held?

The location of the bridal shower usually depends on how many people are attending, how much space is available, and what type of theme the bridal shower has. Most people choose to use a private home as a bridal shower venue. Other options are to host the bridal shower at a local restaurant, or even in a special event space. 

How To Host A Bridal Shower: A Step by Step Bridal Shower Checklist 

Hosting a bridal shower should be fun and exciting for everyone involved. Planning your event efficiently will help ensure that the shower event goes off without a hitch. While there is no real “formula” to follow, taking the proper steps in preparing to throw a bridal shower can guarantee success. 

Use this guide as a bridal shower checklist to help you organize and throw a bridal shower that your friend will never forget!

Know bridal shower etiquette.

It’s important to be familiar with the proper etiquette and best practices for how to host a bridal shower. This includes understanding how to write bridal shower invitations and thank you notes, as well as how to plan games and activities that are fun yet appropriate for all guests.

It’s not mandatory to follow etiquette to a T, but know the flow and what’s expected when learning how to throw a bridal party.

Decide on a budget

The first step in the process of planning an unforgettable bridal shower is to determine a bridal shower budget. This will be the foundation and guide for all the decisions that follow, as it will help ensure everything stays within your means.

The budget can help you figure out how many people to invite, what kind of food to serve, how you want to decorate, and more! Setting a budget before you plan ensures that you can make smart decisions throughout the process and have a wonderful event without breaking the bank.

Who pays for the bridal shower? Does the mother of the bride pay for the bridal shower?

The standard etiquette to the dreadful question of who pays is typically the friend or family member hosting the shower. Multiple people can help chip in for the bridal shower, making it cost effective while still being a fun event! From the food to the decorations, the costs can be split up. If the mother of the bride is hosting the shower or decides to help with costs by chipping in, then she can put her money and time into the shower, although there is no obligation. 

Set a date and time

Choose a date and time for the bridal shower that works for the bride-to-be, her guests, and yourself. It is important to ensure that everyone has enough time to plan for the event and to rearrange their schedules if necessary.

Scheduling this event well in advance is essential to guarantee an enjoyable and stress-free experience for all involved. And it will help ensure that everyone can attend, whether they are out of town or busy with other engagements.

Try to pick a date that is around four weeks before the wedding so guests have enough notice, but the event is still close enough to the actual wedding day that people won’t forget about it. You’ll also want to consider the time of day. Will it be a daytime event or an evening event? It’s a good idea to think about this part, so you can plan things that complement that time.

Choose a bridal shower theme.

Pick a bridal shower theme that reflects the bride’s personality and interests. This will help you decide on decorations, food, drinks, activities, etc. It can also add an extra personal touch to the bridal shower.

For example, if the bride loves to cook, you might consider a cooking-themed shower with recipes, food samples, and cooking contests. If the bride loves fashion, a lingerie-themed shower might be the perfect fit. Or if she’s more of a homebody, consider a relaxing at-home spa day themed shower instead.

There are endless possibilities for bridal shower themes, so feel free to get creative! Once you decide on a theme, it should drive the mood for the rest of the planning process!

Choose the place to have the bridal shower.

Consider where the right place to host this bridal shower will be. Carefully choose your venue or someone’s home so that it fits with the bridal shower theme and provides enough space for all the guests. The sweet spot is a place that your bride-to-be will love, it’s in your budget, has plenty of room for guests and bridal shower gifts, and allows food (and possibly alcohol).

If you decide to host the event at someone’s house, keep in mind that there may be limited seating, affecting how many people can come. On the other hand, if you choose a restaurant or special venue to host the bridal shower, you’ll need to ensure it can accommodate your budget and theme.

Before deciding on a location, take into consideration how many people will be attending, what amenities are available, and the overall atmosphere of the venue.

Create a guest list.

Create a list of the people you want to invite to the bridal shower. Who do you invite to a bridal shower? Generally, this includes close family and friends of the bride-to-be, but it could also be the entire bridal party as well along with people from both sides of the families.

Consider how many people can fit in your chosen venue or host’s home and make adjustments as needed. It is also important to keep in mind that the bride-to-be might have some people in mind that she wants to invite as well.

Once you have your guest list settled, it’s time to move on to the next step –– sending out invites!

Does the groom go to the bridal shower?

Typically it is a girls only party unless stated otherwise. Couples may have a joint wedding shower, inviting guests from hers and his side of family and friends. The couple will receive the gifts and play games together, providing an inexpensive way to celebrate the soon to be newlyweds!

Send out invitations.

When crafting and sending your invitation, make sure to include all of the necessary information: date, time, place, theme (if there is one), dress code, and how to RSVP. You’ll also want to be sure to include any additional details or requests that the bride-to-be may have. Don’t forget to include your contact information if anyone has questions or needs more information.

The mother of the bride will likely be there and if so, for extra bonus points, invite the mother of the groom too!

When to send out bridal shower invites 

Once you have chosen the date, time, and place for the bridal shower, it’s time to send out invitations! Send out the invites at least four to two weeks before the bridal shower so that everyone has enough time to RSVP and plan accordingly.

Shop for decorations.

Now that you’ve chosen a theme and have your invitations out, it’s time to start shopping for bridal shower decorations! Think of items and supplies to help bring your bridal shower theme to life. You can easily find amazing decorations on sites like Amazon, Etsy, and the like.

You’ll want to get things like streamers, balloons, tablecloths, centerpieces, confetti, banners, and more. You can also consider purchasing special items like napkins and plates that match the theme.

Don’t forget to hang up pictures of the bride-to-be so everyone can get in the spirit of celebrating her! And don’t be afraid to get creative, too—cutting out paper hearts and writing messages on them is a fun (and inexpensive) way to decorate.

Include bridal shower games & activities.

What do you do at a bridal shower? Well, you’ll want your guests to have something fun to do in addition to watching the bride open gifts. In that case, plan and prepare bridal shower activities!

Make sure there are plenty of fun activities for guests to enjoy during the bridal shower. Some popular options include:

  • trivia games
  • scavenger hunts
  • bingo
  • karaoke

You can also plan creative activities like a “kissing booth” or a “photo booth” where guests can take pictures with fun props. Make sure everyone who participates gets something special as a reward—like an edible treat or a small prize.

Plan the food and beverages.

Of course, no bridal shower would be complete without delicious food and drinks! When it comes to food, you can either ask your guests to bring their favorite dish or hire a caterer to provide the meal—it all depends on your budget.

If you decide to go with a caterer, make sure you order enough food for everyone. Consider the number of guests attending and the types of dishes they will be providing.

Regarding drinks, it is important to provide options that fit your bridal shower theme. This could include specialty cocktails, mocktails, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages. If you are serving alcohol, be sure to have ample amounts of food as well, since drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea.

Regardless of what type of food and drinks you decide to serve, ensure that there is something for everyone! As you learn how to host a bridal shower, be sure to include vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free options.

Try to avoid anything that requires last-minute preparations – nothing can ruin a party like stress over food!

Designate a photographer or hire a pro.

A bridal shower is an event that should be remembered for years to come! To make sure that happens, you’ll want to designate someone to take photos of the event for the bride to remember. If the budget allows, consider hiring a professional photographer to document the special day.

A photographer can help capture all of the fun and special moments that occur throughout the bridal shower. Plus, having high-quality photos will help tell the story of your bridal shower in the future.

Make sure to do your research and hire the right photographer for you. Look at their portfolio, read reviews from past clients, and ask them questions before making a decision.

Plan for gifts.

Gifts are an integral part of a bridal shower, so ensure you have enough space to store them as they come in. You can also provide small gifts or party favors or personalized cards for your guests to give to the bride-to-be.

Gifts can range from practical items like kitchenware to fun presents like jewelry and gift cards. You or the bride-to-be can register online at different places, and then you, as the host, can provide this registry information to the guests.

Also as the host, you’ll want to ensure there is enough space for everyone to put their wedding gift down, so they don’t get lost or damaged. You’ll also need to have a set to open gifts to keep things streamlined.

Once all of the gifts are opened, it’s your job as the host to make sure they get transported to the bride-to-be’s house. Be sure to write down who the gifts are from so you can send thank you cards afterward!

Bridal shower timeline

  1. Guests arrive 
  2. Food and drinks are served 
  3. Games and activities are played and participated in
  4. Bride opens gifts 
  5. Guests leave
  6. Clean up starts! 

Clean up and wrap up.

Once the bridal shower festivities have ended, it is time for the cleanup. Make sure to get all of the decorations, food, and drinks put away, as well as any items that were brought in for the activities.

Don’t forget to thank all of your guests for coming! Consider sending out a group thank-you message or even personalized cards with sentiments from the bride-to-be. A fun way to end the party is with party favor bags as a memento! And a nice touch and a good idea would be to add a reminder card of the wedding date, time, and location!

Cost-Saving Tips for Bridal Showers

Not only is this a season of budget-savvy wedding planning, it’s also a season for budget-savvy wedding-going! Whether you’re the bride-to-be or the hostess with the mostest, check out these money-saving tips for throwing a budget-savvy bridal shower.

1. Center your menu around an inexpensive food option.  

Consider inexpensive food ideas to serve for the bridal shower. A great way to save on costs is to host a brunch! You can serve affordable breakfast foods such as egg casseroles and pastries. At an evening shower, people may expect a heavier meal so showers are often a daytime thing. Also, how delicious does this champagne punch sound?

2. Host with friends.  

One person doesn’t have to bear the entire burden or cost of planning a bridal shower. Perhaps a group of the bride’s friends or family will all pitch in financially and with the planning.  Not only is it a great way to share the costs, but it also allows the hosts to get to know one another better, especially in the case of a group of bridesmaids from different parts of the bride’s life. An important note: If co-hosting a shower with more than 2 people, have a single person in charge to make the decisions. This facilitates drama-free preparations!

3. Get creative for the decorative details.  

There are so many creative ways to decorate for a shower. Whether you choose to buy affordable decorations online, make decorations yourself, or find thrifted items to use, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to throw a beautiful party. If you don’t want to craft 1000 tissue paper flowers, you could also rent and return some beautiful arrangements from Something Borrowed Blooms for savvy shower centerpieces!

4. The meaning is what matters.  

Although any shower thrown in your honor will be beautiful and memorable, do you know what brides remember most?  The meaningful moments and words of wisdom shared by the people who matter most to them. The women who have shaped you as a woman sharing memories and heartfelt messages of love and support as you enter into your marriage. No matter your budget, these are elements that can be incorporated into any shower and make it truly beautiful.

Post Party Tasks

Even though the bridal shower has come and gone, that’s not where your hostess responsibilities end.

Make sure the gifts got to the bride’s house.

Double-check that all of the gifts made it to the bride-to-be’s house safely. This will include transporting them from your home, or wherever they were opened, to her home.

Send out thank you cards.

A bridal shower wouldn’t be complete without sending out thank you cards after the event! This is a great idea to show your appreciation for your guests and their thoughtful gifts.

Make sure to send out the thank you cards within two weeks of the bridal shower. You can also include a group photo from the event or use personalized stationery to make them even more special!

Follow up with the bride-to-be.

This is your chance to make sure that all of the gifts were accounted for and ensure that the bridal shower was a success!

Ask the bride-to-be how she enjoyed her day and if there is anything else you can do to help out. This could be helping her organize all the gifts or helping her with writing thank you cards.

These final tasks are essential to ensuring that everyone had a great time and that the bride-to-be was well taken care of throughout the process. 

By following these steps, you can be sure that your bridal shower will be one to remember!

The Complete Step-By-Step Guide On How To Host A Bridal Shower

Now that you know how to throw a bridal shower, it’s time to get planning! Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the process and not feel rushed. And don’t forget to ask your bride-to-be for her input on what she would like – after all, it is her party! If you follow these steps, you’ll have an amazing bridal shower everyone will remember and appreciate for years to come!
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