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Bridal Shower Planning --- Where Do You Begin?

Aug 17, 2007
So your best friend is getting married! You, good friend that you are, will be hosting her wedding shower. Let's see -- cake, gifts, games. Sounds easy but hold on -- today's showers aren't just about filling the bridal kitchen anymore. Today's showers are festive events that reflect the bride's personality, from bachlorette style soirees to casual coed barbeques and everything in-between. The bridal shower is an opportunity for close family and friends to spend time honoring the bride (and sometimes groom!) in a relaxed and fun setting. You want the shower to be as unique as she is. So let's get started!

Determine a budget. This should be your first step. Decide how much you can and are willing to spend. Will the expenses be shared (say among bridesmaids)? Determining a budget will help guide the many decisions you'll face during the planning stages.

Create the guest list. Obviously this should include anyone the bride would want there. Be aware, however, that bridal shower guests should also be on the wedding guest list. Ask bridesmaids, family and friends to ensure you are including those that should attend. This is also the time to ask for contact information. Be mindful of your budget and limit the list accordingly. Best steps toward creating the guest list:
1. Create a list of all the people you think the bride wants at the shower, such as bride-to-be's friends, co-workers, and her or her fiance's relatives.
2. Run that list by two-three close friends/family members of the bride and get their input.
3. Show that list to the bride, absent any surprise guests you plan to invite.
Choose a theme. This is where the planning gets fun! There are a plethora of bridal shower themes from which to choose. Some unique, some traditional, all fun. Just remember, the theme should match the bride's personality but should also be appropriate for all the bridal shower guests. Will Great Aunt Gertrude really enjoy a lingerie gifting party? Probably not.

Choose a day and time. Three things to note here:
1. Timing the invitations is important. Invitations should be sent four to six weeks before the event. This needs to be factored-in when choosing the day.
2. Timing the bride's schedule. It's best to get a list of the bride's available days and times - won't be much fun without her.
3. Also, think about your schedule. Make sure you give yourself time to complete and execute the shower plans without the unnecessary stress of time constraints.

Choose a venue. There are no hard rules to bridal shower venues. Anywhere from your living room to the local bowling alley is appropriate. In some cases your theme will guide this decision. The shower venue is a decision where the budget comes into play. Your living room is going to cost nothing while the swanky hotel downtown is going set you back some pretty pennies.

Determine the menu. Again, the theme and your budget will guide this one. There are options such as catering, potluck or making the food yourself. Unless you are having a formal sit-down affair, the food should not be elaborate. Finger food, hors d'Oeuvres, or just desserts and coffee are all appropriate. Usually cake is served at all showers.

Plan the fun! Above all else, your bridal shower should be fun! Planned activities and games will break-the-ice and get the party going. A variety of group and individual games will ensure a good time for everyone. Play music to set the mood. Just loud enough to hear but not drown out conversation. Make sure your bride is the center-of-attention in all activities.

Organize helpers. There are many stages of the party where help will be needed. Areas to concentrate on are food prep/serving, taking photos, conducting games, organizing and recording the gift-opening sequence, packing/transporting gifts and party clean-up.

Party favors. This is not always necessary but it is nice to give each guest some small token of thanks for their attendance. This can be as simple as a slice of cake to-go to a beautifully wrapped party favor gift. Again the watch cry is--budget!

There you have it, plans for the perfect bridal shower! Have fun and remember, no matter what the budget, theme or venue; your bride will appreciate the care and time you put into her special day. Whether you spend $100 or $1000, it's your care and effort the bride will remember and appreciate. Keep it fun and you can't go wrong!
About the Author
Terri Hunziker founded GamesAndLetters.com. Games and Letters provides hundreds of print-and-play games -- bridal shower games , baby shower games, Christmas party games and more! For immediate access to a plethora of fun down-loadable games and ideas for your next party, visit, gamesandletters.com.
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