How to Plan a Bridal Shower: Helpful Bridal Shower Planning Checklist
This bridal shower planning checklist will ensure you don't miss a step as you make your party preparations.
By: Kathryn Abrams, Editor, AllFreeDIYWeddings.com
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Planning a bridal shower may seem like an overwhelming task, but we break it down step by step in order to make the process as easy as possible. Learn how to throw a bridal shower in a short amount of time and pull off a fabulous party both the bride and attendees will never forget.
The bridal shower checklist you see below is a great outline for understanding the steps involved in planning a beautiful soiree from start to finish.
Since each task is broken down based on a specific timeline, you’ll know what to do when. Plus, if you’re not the only one planning the bridal shower, you can distribute this information to your fellow hostesses to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Before you know it, you will have a fabulous bridal shower theme prepped and ready to go for the beautiful bride and her loved ones. Check out the bridal shower checklist below to learn the ins and outs of planning a truly special party.
Approximately Three Months Before
Talk to the bride and see what ideas she has for her shower. Does she want it to be women only? Coed? Does she envision a fabulous tea party at an upscale restaurant or something more laidback? Does she want a specific bridal shower theme or a particular color scheme? Be sure to get the bride’s input before you start the planning process in order to know you’re both on the same page.
You also want to set the date well in advance in order to make sure your preferred venue is not already booked. Most bridal showers take place about a month or two before the wedding. If certain out of town family members or friends can’t get together until a few days before the wedding, hold off until then.
Once you have the venue nailed down, you need to start putting together a guest list. Once again, be sure to ask the bride’s input in order to avoid leaving anyone important off the list. Keep in mind: anyone you invited to the shower must also be invited to the wedding.
Claudia Lutman, event planner and owner of Claudia Lutman Events, states in an article for diynetwork.com,
“Showers are usually very intimate affairs. Typically, the guest list includes family, close friends and attendants of the bride; the flower girl and her mother; any sisters of the bride or groom; and the bride’s and groom’s grandmothers.”
Although bridal showers are traditionally women-only, so-called Jack-and-Jill (coed) showers are becoming much more common. Coed showers allow the groom and his circle of friends and relatives to get in on the fun and these types of parties lend themselves to some interesting bridal shower themes. When you initially talk to the bride about her vision, be sure to ask whether she pictures a women-only soiree or something coed.
Two Months Before
Do your best to avoid any scheduling conflicts by sending a save the date or calling important guests to make sure they’re available on the chosen date. In addition, it’s courteous to call any guests who will have to travel some distance to attend.
At this point in the bridal shower planning process, it’s a smart idea to meet with the bridesmaids or the other hostesses in order to discuss your ideas for the event, as well as establish a budget. Topics discussed should include menu, decorations, favors, music, activities, flowers, etc. While you’re all together, it’s also a good idea to make a detailed to-do list and assign tasks to each hostess.
At two months before the event, it’s time to purchase bridal shower invitations or materials to make them. You will also need to compile addresses for the guest list. If you need to order special food items through a bakery or caterer or rent certain items from a rental company, make sure those tasks are on your to-do list.
Learn everything you need to know about being the maid of honor, by checking out this article explaining Maid of Honor Duties
One Month Before
At the one month mark, you should be working on assembling and addressing the bridal shower invitations. The invitations should include information about the couple’s registries, but keep in mind some people opt to include this information on a separate insert sent with the shower invitation and not on the invitation itself.
Also, if the party has a specific theme or color scheme your guests should know about, include the appropriate details on the invitation. Once the invitations are ready to go, drop them in the mail.
At this point you should also be shopping for decorations, paper goods, and any other materials you will need for the party. Don’t forget to purchase favors to distribute to each guest at the end of the shower. Also, if guests have offered to bring desserts or appetizers, call each person to confirm what they plan to bring. You would hate to end up with five different variations of chocolate chip cookies and nothing else (or, depending on your perspective, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing)!
About Two Weeks Before
It’s time to place your flower order if you plan on having fresh blooms fill the event space. This is also when you should buy your shower gift for the bride.
In order to make sure you have everything covered, it’s a smart idea to make a shopping list for the food and drinks you will need to buy. If there’s anything hard-to-find on your list, be sure to buy those ahead of time. You will also need to buy spirits and mixers if you plan on having cocktails.
Additionally, pick up items you’re borrowing from friends or neighbors such as baskets, cake stands, audio equipment, or anything else along those lines.
One Week Before
You’re in the home stretch of the bridal shower checklist! At a week out, you should be confirming, confirming, confirming. Make sure everything is set with your reservations, touch base with any orders and finalize delivery times, and make sure all guests have sent in their RSVP.
It’s also time to assemble and gift wrap favors if you plan to pass them out at the end of the shower. Be sure to grab your shopping list and head to the grocery store to buy the necessary food and drinks. Also, create a mental floor plan of the event space in order to make decorating and set-up a breeze on the day of the bridal shower.
Lastly, you’ll want to organize any shower games and activities and make sure you have the proper supplies such as pens, paper, etc.
If you’re trying to plan a bridal shower on a budget and want some fun, yet inexpensive bridal shower games, consider the following:
* Enjoy a version of “The Newlywed Game” by preparing a list of questions regarding the groom (What’s his shoe size? What’s his favorite vacation destination?). Ask the bride these questions and see how many she gets right.
* Stock up on cheap toilet paper. Divide the guests into teams and have each team create the best toilet paper “wedding dress.” When time’s up, ask each team to model their creation for the rest of the group.
* Plan a Mad Libs-inspired game and playfully gather both the names of attendees and their marital advice. Have each guest fill in a blank (such as, “You know you’re in love when…” or “Once upon a time…”) and write her name on the back of her card. Read the sentences aloud and have everyone guess from whom the words of wisdom came.
* To break the ice between attendees, consider asking each guest to introduce herself and describe three experiences she’s had with the bride – one of which isn’t true. The person who correctly picks out the lie gets a point. Oftentimes, the truths often turn out to be wackier than the lies!
For even more bridal shower games that don’t require a lot of prep time or materials, take a look at New Bridal Bingo: Free Bridal Shower Games.
Pass this free eBook along to the bride and help her plan the wedding of her dreams from start to finish - The Ultimate Wedding Guide: Wedding Planning Timeline, Wedding Etiquette and Advice, Maid of Honor Duties, and More
One Day Before
If you’re hosting the bridal shower at a location other than a restaurant and will be responsible for preparing the food, make sure you do as much as possible the day before. If it’s not possible to fully prepare some menu items it will be helpful to at least do the necessary prep work.
In addition, if you have access to the event space ahead of time, save yourself some time by assembling decorations and favors, setting tables, and receiving and setting up any equipment the day before.
With only a few hours to go before the ultimate bridal shower, it’s wise to touch base with the bridesmaids and other hostesses in order to confirm who’s bringing what. You can also take this opportunity to ask them to arrive early to the party to make sure everything is in place.
Run any last-minute errands on the day of the bridal shower and then head to the venue to have a good time!
Remember to set up a gift-opening area in some area of the event space. Come prepared with scissors, large trash bags, and a notebook and pen to record gifts and their givers. Keeping a gift log will make it much easier for the bride to write thank you notes.
At this point, you should know everything there is to know about how to throw a truly memorable bridal shower. Now, you can marvel at all your hard work over the last several months. It will all be worth it when you see a look of delight and gratitude spread across the bride’s face.
The bridal shower is one of the most special and important events leading up to the big day. With the help of this bridal shower checklist template, you will be able to plan a fun and inviting affair everyone will enjoy. Don’t get hung up on making sure every little detail is precisely in place. Instead, take a breath and take it all in.
As the name suggests, the point of a bridal shower is to shower the bride-to-be with love and well wishes as she embarks on one of the most exciting journeys of her life. So don’t worry about making everything picture perfect – your love and support will undoubtedly be enough.
Do you have any tried and true tips when it comes to knowing how to plan a bridal shower?
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