Bridal Shower 101: Tips for bridesmaids to throw a great celebration

Great you’re a bridesmaid! Get ready girl, because this is a journey of lifetime. From the time you receive your bridesmaid invitation to the wedding day, you’re going to be there supporting the bride and being with her every step of the way.

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Aubrey Joy Photography

But that means you’ve been tasked with throwing a bridal shower. If you’ve never done this before, be prepared. Is this an easy task? It can be, but remember – you have to coordinate this with the other bridesmaids (and probably the bride’s mother as well)! That makes the planning a little trickier to handle, since you’ve got about a zillion opinions on how to throw the shower. But it’s definitely one of the fun and traditional aspects of a bride’s journey to her wedding day, and as such, it’s important that it’s a memorable celebration for both you and the bride!

Now that I’ve royally stressed you out…relax. With just a few simple tips to remember, you can throw an amazing and enjoyable bridal shower sans Bridesmaids-movie like meltdown.

1. Discuss the bridal shower budget early on

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Natalie Moser Photography via On To Baby

Since it’s the job of the person(s) planning the bridal shower to foot the bill, make sure you and everyone else participating in planning the event is on the same page in terms of budget. It sucks to get slapped with a bill for something that’s more than you can afford, just because you weren’t aware of the expenses involved. If the bridal shower is become a little too costly for your wallet, take the MOH of mother of the bride quietly aside and explain your situation. Offer to help find an alternative option to a part of the shower that’s becoming costly – for example, offering to bake cookies instead of ordering cakepops from a bakery.

2. Know your timeline – and plan accordingly

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Wedding Paper Divas via Bridal Musings

A bridal shower isn’t something you can slap together overnight! Even if you’re not going for anything too upscale, you’ll still have to find a location, send invitations, and provide food/drinks for the event. Invites need to go out 4-6 weeks in advance of the shower, you’ll need to find the time to prepare decorations and games, and on top of that you’ll be communicating with the other bridesmaids and bridal shower guests about the entire celebration! Make sure you and the other plan-ees have a mutual and agreed-upon timeline for the bridal shower for maximum efficiency and minimum stress.

3. Delegate, delegate, delegate

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Diana Elizabeth and la Ricki via The Sweetest Occasion

Make sure that you break up the different tasks of the bridal shower among you and the other bridesmaids/relatives. You can’t find the food, location, send out invites, and make the decorations all by yourself (nor should you want to)! Like they say, many hands make light work. And saves you a big headache.

4. Make sure you pay attention to the bride’s opinions; but remind her it’s your event to plan

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Lane Dittoe Photography via Bridal Musings

It’s bad etiquette for a bride to plan her own bridal shower! That being said, you should certainly take input from her if she offers it – for example, if you were planning on having a shrimp cocktail at the shower and you find out the smell of shrimp makes her sick. Or if she’s very shy in front of crowds and doesn’t feel comfortable opening presents in front of everyone. Then you should definitely change your plans (asking guests to wrap gifts in cellophane is a great solution for the gift-shy bride!). But if she’s asking for a lot, gently remind her that is your event to plan for her – so she should feel comfortable sitting back and relaxing!

5. Know what etiquette is okay – and what isn’t

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Milou and Olin Photography via Engaged and Inspired

You should make sure you’re familiar with all the bridal shower do’s and don’ts before you plunge into planning! For example…

  • DON’T invite guests who haven’t been invited to the wedding, if it’s a large wedding
  • DO invite guests who haven’t been invited to the wedding if it’s a very small or destination wedding
  • DO make sure you greet guests and introduce yourself at the beginning of the shower
  • DON’T host your own shower (as mentioned above!)
  • DO be comfortable hosting a combo event (bridal shower + bachelorette party) – it’s ok, we promise!

6. Be creative and have fun!

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Elizabeth Kartchner

As with any awesome party, choosing a theme, decorating, and planning drinks/food are always kind of fun! Make a secret Pinterest board, collect your best ideas, discuss with other bridesmaids and relatives, and HAVE FUN!