Hosting a bridal shower is a time-honored tradition that celebrates the bride-to-be and brings friends and family together before the big day. From deciding who should host and where to hold the event, to selecting a theme and sending out invites, there’s a lot to consider when planning this special occasion. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the etiquette, tips, and everything else you need to know about hosting a memorable bridal shower.
The Basics of Hosting a Bridal Shower
What is a Bridal Shower?
A bridal shower is a pre-wedding celebration thrown in honor of the bride-to-be. The purpose of this event is to shower the bride with love, well wishes, and gifts to help her set up her new home. It’s a chance for the bride’s close friends and family members to spend time together before the wedding day, and it often includes fun games, delicious food, and, of course, the opening of presents.
Who Hosts the Bridal Shower?
Traditionally, the bridal shower is hosted by the maid of honor or the bridesmaids. However, these days, anyone close to the bride – be it a family member, a close friend, or even the groom’s family – can host the shower. It’s essential to discuss this with the bride and other key parties to avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings.
When and Where Should You Host the Bridal Shower?
The bridal shower is usually held three months to three weeks before the wedding. The location can vary greatly depending on the size of the guest list, the budget, and the bride’s preferences. It could be at someone’s home, a favorite local restaurant, a cozy inn, a wine tasting room, or even an outdoor park.
Bridal Shower Etiquette and Tips
Who Should Be Invited?
The guest list should include close female friends and relatives of the bride, as well as of the groom. Remember, everyone who is invited to the shower should also be invited to the wedding. A co-ed shower, or “couple’s shower,” is also an option where both women and men are invited.
What about Invitations?
Invitations should be sent out four to six weeks before the shower, and they should match the theme of the event. Make sure to include all the necessary details like date, time, location, and where the bride is registered.
Choosing a Theme
Selecting a theme is a fun part of the planning process. The theme should reflect the bride’s interests and taste. It could be anything from a high tea party, tropical luau, or a rustic garden party, to a cooking class or a spa day. The options are endless!
Food and Drinks
The menu largely depends on the time of day the shower is being held. For an afternoon shower, light refreshments or a buffet would work well. For a late afternoon or evening shower, a more formal sit-down meal may be appropriate. Don’t forget to consider the bride’s favorite foods and drinks when planning the menu.
Games and Activities
Games and activities are a staple at bridal showers to keep guests entertained. These could include classics like ‘Bridal Bingo’ or ‘Guess the Age,’ or something more unique like a DIY flower arranging station or a cooking demonstration.
The highlight of any bridal shower is the opening of gifts. This is usually done towards the end of the event. The bride should show appreciation for each gift and it’s often a good idea for someone to write down who gave what to make writing thank you notes easier.
Though not mandatory, it’s a sweet gesture to give guests a small thank you gift or party favor as they leave the bridal shower. This token of appreciation can range from personalized mini champagne bottles, handcrafted soaps, or even a cute succulent plant. Remember, these don’t have to be extravagant; the goal is to make your guests feel appreciated and to give them a memento of the fun time they had at the event.
The Bridal Shower Budget
Hosting a bridal shower can range from a simple, intimate gathering at home to an extravagant event at a high-end venue. The budget will dictate many of your decisions, so it’s crucial to establish this at the beginning of your planning process. Generally, the host covers the cost of the shower, but it’s not uncommon for the bridal party or close family members to share the expenses. Be sure to discuss this openly with everyone involved to avoid any misunderstandings.
How Much to Spend on a Bridal Shower
The cost of a bridal shower can vary greatly based on the location, number of guests, and type of food and drink served. As a rule of thumb, expect to spend anywhere from $15 to $40 per guest for a basic shower at home or a local restaurant. If you’re planning something more extravagant, costs can easily rise to $100 per guest or more.
Money-Saving Tips for Hosting a Bridal Shower
While hosting a bridal shower can be costly, there are plenty of ways to save money without sacrificing the quality of the event. Here are a few tips:
- Host at Home: Hosting the shower at your home or the home of a friend or relative can significantly cut costs. It also adds a personal and intimate touch to the event.
- DIY Decorations: Homemade decorations not only save money but also allow you to personalize the event to the bride’s taste.
- Potluck Style: Instead of catering, consider a potluck style shower where each guest brings a dish to share. This can save a lot of money on food and gives everyone a chance to contribute.
Hosting a bridal shower is a significant task, but with careful planning, you can create a memorable event that honors the bride-to-be and brings everyone closer together before the big day. Remember, the most important thing is that everyone—including the host—has a good time. With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to throwing a fantastic bridal shower that the bride and guests will remember for years to come.