At Kristine King Events we love planning bridal showers and have some great tips for planning the perfect day! From the delicious food, lovely decor, games, to the traditional bridal shower elements we’ve provided all the essentials to planning a flawless shower!
1. Start the planning discussion
Whether you're the bride-to-be or a family member its great to start the conversation early on your upcoming shower! Typically, the mother of the bride or sisters plan the shower but the bride-to-be can take part in the planning and decision-making -- including picking the date, guests and the menu.
When the location is selected that is meaningful to the bride, a personal feel is inherent. Whether it's the bride's childhood home, her grandmother's home, or that of a close friend, this location makes for a most intimate shower. It is also really special to celebrate in spots where the bride or groom’s parents got married or some other personally historic event took place. A few ideas are renting out a favorite restaurant, one where they know the owners or have gone to for many years. Outdoor showers, in a garden or backyard, for example, are an especially beautiful option. Evening showers are also becoming increasingly common. A sophisticated dinner with girlfriends can serve as a shower and bachelorette party in one. Between busy schedules and expenses, combination events are a huge trend right now.
3. Pick a date
When deciding on the date for the bridal shower we suggest asking the bride-to-be’s close family and friends what date also suits their schedules so you can pick a date when most, if not everyone, can attend. Depending on where guests live they may have to make travel plans so the sooner you nail down a date the better.
4. Theme & decor
When planning the style & theme of the shower you will want to reflect the bride-to-be’s passions and personal style. You could choose the bride's favorite color and build your shower theme around it. As with weddings, deciding on a color palette is one of the easiest ways to bring a shower to life. The bride's favorite colors make for a beautiful and personal palette; blush pink, white, and gold whisper romance, and metallics are very trendy right now -- an entire room filled with splashes of silver and gold is very striking.
A popular theme is planning a mid-day soiree full of mimosas and the bride to be’s favorite morning treats from scones, omelets to waffles. For a special touch, you could invest in a heart-shaped waffle iron to whip up gingerbread waffles at the shower and as a favor send each lady home with a waffle mix of their own.
5. Guest list & invitations
When deciding on the guest list we suggest asking the bride-to-be for a list of guests she’d like in attendance. A rule of thumb is to not invite anyone who isn’t invited to the wedding to the shower. If you're having a tiny destination wedding, you can include people who aren't invited to the main event as guests to the shower but you shouldn't do that if you're having a larger wedding.
Shower stationery trends can range from sweet and simple to high-end. The options right now are truly endless. When deciding on invitations you can go a variety of routes from sending email invites from Paperless Post or to creating invitations on Wedding Paper Divas. We see a lot of brides to be go with WPD as you can choose from a variety of design styles and themes at any price point! If you’d prefer outsourcing to a invitation and stationary team we suggest Designs By Renee. Her team works with you to create stunning custom invitations.
When it’s time to mail the invitations, we suggest sending them out a month to six weeks in advance this way it gives your out of town guests time to book their flights.
6. Food & drinks
Let the theme continue to inspire your planning – even with the cuisine. You will want to decide if you're planning a sit down meal or having appetizers. Keep in mind the bride-to-be’s favorite bites. Always plan for a bit more food than you think you’ll need. We also suggest considering catering if you're throwing a large party, but you could even make some of the main dishes and then supplement with catering additions, or have other guests contribute as a potluck. Just let guests know on the invite so they're prepared. We also stress the importance of place cards if the party includes a sit-down meal.
In terms of beverages, it's nice to have a few options. We suggest serving some fun drinks from signature cocktails to colorful purple cosmos or red sangria. Also, consider the seasons: In the winter, serve hot apple cider; in the summer, fresh strawberry lemonade." In addition to the usual wine and Champagne, offer alcohol-free "mocktails" for pregnant women and nondrinkers. And as coed showers become increasingly popular "it's a nice touch to offer a full bar with lots of options."
The tradition of the groom coming to the shower with flowers just before his fiancee opens the gifts or at the tail end of the shower is a sure hit and a tradition that will never go out of style. Guests who haven't met the lucky guy before often look forward to this part of the shower for that very reason -- it's the perfect opportunity for a pre-wedding introduction.
Rituals that have been passed down from older generations are still common. A popular one: making a bouquet out of the shower gifts' ribbons and bows and using it as a stand-in for the real one at the wedding rehearsal. Other old-school traditions, such as having something old, new, borrowed, and blue on hand, are still favorites of today's brides as well.
Creating a new tradition can add a layer of sentiment. Some ideas include passing around photos from the shower of the mother of the bride, or taking a snapshot with multiple generations of women.
8. Let the party flow
We suggest having a plan or schedule mapped out for the day from when the guests will be served lunch, to the gift opening portion, to the games. Keeping the momentum rolling by having a general idea of what you'll do at the beginning, middle and end of the shower is key. You will want to enlist the help of some other hosts for the gift-giving portion as you'll need at least two people -- one to bring each gift to the bride and another to write down who gave what.
Honoring the bride-to-be is at the center of the bridal shower but when the games are planned with care, all guests will have a genuinely enjoyable time. We’ve provided a few fun games that will surely be a hit!
- Bridal Shower Trivia: Type up multiple-choice quizzes with trivia about the bride and groom. (Ask relatives for anecdotes from their childhood and teen years.) For example, “What is Andrew’s favorite sports team” or “Which famously bad hairdo did Kristine sport at age 5?” Give each guest a quiz and a pencil. Reading the questions and answers aloud makes the game more entertaining. Whoever gets the most answers right wins.
- Finish-that-thought-guest-book: This Mad Libs-inspired bridal shower game is a playful way to gather both the names of attendees and their marital advice. Have each lady fill in a blank and write her name on the back of her card. Read the sentences—ranging from silly to serious—aloud and have the bride (or everyone!) guess from whom the words of wisdom came.
- Bridal shower gift bingo: For this version of bridal shower bingo, write the names of gifts the bride may receive, and have guests mark the appropriate spots as she opens her presents. This is a great way to keep your guests entertained as the bride to be opens her gifts.
It's a nice touch for the bride to open her gifts in the presence of her guests and is often the most memorable part of the event. That said, some brides are painfully shy and just can't handle all the attention. If that's the case the hosts can ask guests in advance to wrap their gifts in cellophane, and put them on display at the shower for everyone to see.
In terms of gift-giving, gift-giving options are endless. If you'd like to play with a less traditional theme you can ask attendees to gift anything from lingerie to kitchen to a personal interest of the bride. A fun suggestion is a "Round the Clock" shower where everyone is assigned a specific time of day, and the gift should relate to it. Midnight, for instance, could be Champagne; three in the morning could be a 'Do Not Disturb' sign. When creating the bridal shower invitation we suggest noting any gift giving themes here.
When deciding on favors for your guests there are a variety of thoughtful and clever gifts you can give. A fun suggestion is giving umbrellas as a witty nod to the "shower." Favors can also serve as double duty - placecards & the favor. You could have the seating cards be notepads printed with the person's name, accompanied by colored pencils. Giving homemade pastries or jam from your hometown is also special. If you have a garden themed shower giving a lavender or daisy plant is a also lovely idea.
As everyone snaps photos of the beautiful shower we suggest creating a pre-wedding hashtag so guests can start sharing and posting pictures. You could create one for the shower, bachelorette and wedding or tweak it a bit and use it just for the bride’s shower and bachelorette!
We hope you found these tips helpful! Happy Bridal Shower Planning!