A bridal shower is a fun way for the bride and her friends to commemorate her upcoming wedding. The maid of honor and bridesmaids typically host the event. Even though the mother of the bride usually doesn't host the shower, she plays an integral role in planning the shower. She can help decide the date, location, guest list, decorations, games and many other particulars.
Where and When
According to "Emily Post's Etiquette," the shower should typically take place anywhere from two months to two weeks before the wedding. When picking a date, consider people who have to travel. They may not be able to make the trip for the shower and come back again for the wedding if they are too close together. Consult with the bride to find a date that works with her schedule. As the wedding gets closer, she will be busier.
The location depends on the bride's preferences and the budget. Is she a conservative person, or does she like to be the center of attention? Does she like to go out and party, or does she prefer to hang out at home with a few close friends? Keep in mind the venue will need to be big enough for all the guests. Some brides prefer an informal coffee and snacks at someone's house, while others like a more formal gathering at a restaurant or public venue.
The Guest List
Traditionally, bridal showers included only women. However, co-ed bridal showers are more common in the 21st century. Consult with the bride to determine her wishes. If she prefers a small, intimate gathering, invite only close friends and family members. If she would like a larger party, it is okay to branch out a little. Keep a budget in mind when deciding the guest list. More people means more money. Generally, the guest list should include friends and family of the bride and members of the wedding party. Don't invite anyone who the bride is not inviting to the wedding.
The amount and type of decorations depends largely on where the shower will take place. If there is a theme to the shower, the decorations need to match accordingly. If the shower is at a public venue, there may be restrictions on the types and amounts of decorations. Ask ahead of time. At the very least, there should be a centerpiece on each table and a tastefully decorated table set aside for gifts.
Games are a good way to liven up the bridal shower and get guests to interact. The games may vary depending on the shower theme and formality of the occasion. Consider who will attend when selecting what games to play. (Younger crowds may prefer more risque games, but older guests might find this distasteful and may be uncomfortable.) It is appropriate to give the winner of each game a small prize.
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- "Emily Post's Etiquette"; Peggy Post; 1997
- The Knot: Bridal Showers: Invite Etiquette Q&A
- iVillage: What You Need to Know about Hosting a Bridal Shower
Cecilia McCormick has been freelance writing and editing since 2005. She has worked as a copywriter and editor for an advertising company and has edited books for a publishing company. Her articles focus on wedding planning, gift-giving and crafting articles. McCormick holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.