Planning & Hosting a Bridal Shower


by Rachel Harris

Bridal showers are a great way to celebrate with the bride-to-be. Her closest friends and family members “shower” her with attention. It’s also the perfect setting for introducing each side of the family to one another in a fun, loving atmosphere. We’ve got details on everything you’ll need to plan and host a successful bridal shower.

We’ll cover:

  • Planning the bridal shower (invitations, guests, style).
  • Hosting the bridal shower (décor and activities).
  • Managing your budget (costs and tips).

Who Should Host the Bridal Shower?

The host of the bridal shower should be someone close to the bride. Perfect options are her mom, sister or best friend. The maid-of-honor or someone in the bridal party is also a good place to look for the host. It’s also a good idea to ask the bride who she would like to host her bridal shower. 

The host is responsible for communicating with the bride, managing guests, coordinating with vendors, planning, organizing, and executing. Ideally, the host of the bridal shower is honored and excited to take on the responsibility.

Setting a Budget

Setting a budget when planning a bridal shower is a critical step in planning your bridal shower. Typically, the host is the one who pays for the event. However, the cost can be split or shared by co-hosts. Often, parents or grandparents are willing to “gift” a bridal shower. 

Whether you decide to pay for it yourself or with others, deciding how much money you can afford will determine how much time and effort you spend on other aspects of the party.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider having appetizers or brunch. Throwing an elaborate dinner party may require expensive decorations and food items (not to mention drinks). The host can save money by preparing the food on their own, but this route comes with a large time and energy commitment. You’ll want to be able to engage with guests and the bride, so be careful not to overcommit or spread yourself thin.

Set the Date

It’s a good idea to host a bridal shower about 4-6 weeks before the wedding. This is close to the wedding without being so close that it conflicts with the wedding day. Be sure to send the invitations out in enough time for guests to save the date; 6-8 weeks is safe.

In the invitation, ask for an RSVP and include all pertinent information (date, time, location). Consider other relevant details in the invitation as well: 

  • Are children welcome? 
  • Where can out of town guests find convenient lodging? 
  • Are gifts expected, if so, where is the bride registered? 

Select the Location

The host and date are set, now it’s time for the most important decision- the venue! The venue for the bridal shower will set the mood, impact the budget, influence decor decisions, & effect set-up and tear-down.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting a location:

  • Theme: What’s the theme of the bridal shower? Afternoon tea, rustic brunch, wine tasting, coffee shop? The shower should showcase the bride’s personality. Ask her what she’d like to do, then pick a location supportive of the theme.
  • Cost: If you’re on a budget, consider throwing the bridal shower at the home of the host or co-host. This setting is intimate and cozy. With a bigger budget, consider a venue who can supply decorations or provide catering. These perks mean you have less to DIY.
  • Parking: Don’t neglect parking considerations! Your guests don’t want to get dolled-up, then have to walk a long distance to the venue.

Guest List

First and foremost, ask the bride who she wants to be on the guest list. This is her party after all. The bridal shower is usually a great way for members of each side of the family to meet one another. The party atmosphere is uplifting and easygoing, which takes pressure off new introductions.

Don’t invite anyone to the bridal shower if they are not also invited to the wedding. The bridal shower is celebrating the up-coming wedding. It would be super awkward and inappropriate.

Find out if the bride wants children to attend and specify in the invitation. If the bride wants a kid-free event, be consistent and don’t allow exceptions. Allowing one child to the shower means you should allow all children. If kids are allowed, be sure to plan kid friendly games and food.

Plan the Menu

In order to plan the menu, you need to consider a few things:

  • Finger foods are a great option for a bridal shower. Not only is it easier for guests to eat, but it also makes cleanup easier (no utensils left behind!). This option is best for a more casual bridal shower.
  • For a formal, sit-down meal, select food consistent with the theme, consider dietary needs of guests, and plan seating ahead of time.
  • When hosting a bridal shower at your home, food should be easy to prepare and cook, as well as clean up afterwards. You want your hostess duties kept at a minimum here!
  • Healthy options are always appreciated so keep those in mind when selecting recipes or ordering catering services (if applicable).

Games & Activities

When planning a bridal shower consider having games. They are a great way to break the ice, get everyone talking and laughing, and help them bond with one another. Here are some of our favorite bridal shower games:

  • Ring Hunt: This is a fun, on-going game. Hide plastic rings around the room or event space. At the end of the shower, the person with the most rings wins.
  • Date Jar: Set out an on-theme jar, container, or box. Ask guests to write down ideas for date nights. At home, out on the town, unique, or classic. All suggestions are welcome! This is a sweet souvenir for the bride to take home and share with the groom.
  • Interactive Activities: If games aren’t consistent with the bride’s personality or the theme of the shower, try these activities instead:
    • Flower arranging
    • Painting
    • Wine tasting

Gifts or No Gifts

It’s up to the bride to decide if she wants gifts or not. If she does, give guests a link to her registry or wedding website. No gifts are acceptable as well, since the wedding is only a few weeks away.

Gift giving can be incorporated into the theme of the shower. For the bride who loves to cook, give cooking/ kitchen items. For the bride with a green thumb, gift flowers/ plants/ gardening tools. If the bride loves to decorate her space, gift art/ home decor.

Gifts can also be interactive. Gifts Around the Clock is an activity where guests bring a gift based on an assigned time of day. The host assigns each guest a specific time, then the guest brings an item used during that time of the day. For example, at 9am the bride may be drinking coffee, at noon eating lunch at her desk, or at 10pm sleeping on a satin pillowcase. 

Creating Favors for Guests

A bridal shower is a great opportunity to show your appreciation for your friends and family. It’s also important to give back to them. As you plan the event, consider creating small tokens of appreciation for guests that will help them remember the day.

Favors should be thoughtful and useful (they don’t have to be expensive). Make them unique and fit the theme of your bridal shower (edible if possible). Finally, make sure they match the bride’s personality.

Have Fun

You’re all set! You now have the checklist and inspiration necessary to plan and host a memorable bridal shower. Find even more information by visiting our vendors on the New Braunfels Wedding Guide. Discover venues, decorations, catering, and more!